Bonaire 2016 Pictures: Thursday

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This gallery contains 24 photos.

Thursday started with a pair of boat dives. For me, the first one was kind of embarrassing, as I burned through my air and was the first one back on the boat. The second one was actually pretty productive, as … Continue reading

Bonaire 2016 Pictures: Wednesday Afternoon

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This gallery contains 23 photos.

Wednesday was a full day. In the morning we did a shore dive at Weber’s Joy, and got banged around quite a bit coming out of the water. Instead of a second dive, Paul took us on a tour of … Continue reading

Bonaire 2016 Pictures: Sunday

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This gallery contains 9 photos.

Sunday was the first day of diving for us, as we got in too late on Saturday to pick up our weights. Our first dive was off the dock at Buddy Dive. Generally, we’ve headed northwards here, as the current … Continue reading

Color Correcting

I’ve been spending a large chunk of my off time this past week color correcting my Bonaire pictures. I shot just over 1000 pictures over the six days of diving so it’s a lot of work, and I’ve really been struggling with some of them.

When I was shooting with the red filter, I was really excited about it, because what I was seeing in the viewfinder indicated that it was correcting the colors well, and it was giving me a very realistic feel because I was using natural light, at least at depth. In practice, some of these pictures have been very hard to color correct, because they don’t have a single overall cast – parts tend to be very yellow green, other parts kind of blueish. Other pictures are not so hard to correct, and do, in fact, give a good sense of what it’s like to actually be there.

I’m also having trouble with a lot of my strobe pictures, and today, I think I figured out why. I spent a lot of time this trip relatively shallow, around 30 – 40 feet, shallow enough that at the sync shutter speed of 1/60th second, and minimum aperture of f/8, I’m still getting a significant amount of exposure from the red deficient ambient light. This is leading to pictures that need to have a lot of red correction thrown at them, not to mention some with visible motion blur.

In addition, I was having trouble aiming the strobe sometimes, so I’m seeing a lot of pictures where one side is lit by strobe, and the other side lit by ambient light.

So what would I do differently next time? For one thing, go deeper. From a composition standpoint, working along the reef wall works better than the reef shelf anyway, and it reduces the amount of ambient light. The darker ambient light also makes it easier to see the strobe’s modeling light. The aperture can’t be set any smaller than f/8 *, but the camera does have a neutral density filter I could try.

For very shallow work – say, under 20 feet, I found the camera’s underwater white balance setting in program mode works decently.

Right now, I’ve gotten about two and a half days worth of pictures processed. I just replaced the sea horse picture from the first day of boat diving with a better adjusted version. Once I finish getting the pictures looking the way I want them, I’ll start figuring out what I was shooting, and get them online.

* The Canon G12 is a fairly advanced point ‘n’ shoot camera, but the lens focal length at the short end is only 6mm. Apertures smaller than f/8 would be small enough to introduce significant diffraction.  

Last Dives

I did the last couple of dives of the trip today. I fly out tomorrow at 3; this means I had to be out of the water by 3 today.

I ended up doing two dives today. When we got up, it was raining and the sea looked kind of rough, but by the time we were done with breakfast, the waves had calmed somewhat. We had decided to do Aquarius again, mainly because of the easy entry.  Nice and sandy, we could just walk in and out. Or we could just walk out if we came up in the right place, but we ended up a little off course. Continue reading

Thursday Diving

It was really too early for a boat dive at 8:10 this morning, especially after last night. Everyone was kind of draggy, and in fact, Ralph skipped it. Paul was hoping to do Rappel this morning, but when we got there, there was clearly too much surge there for the boat to be safe, so we headed southward to the next mooring spot, “Bloodlet”. It gained its name when Captain Don, who surveyed and named most of the sites, cut himself up getting out of the water after his boat sank. Continue reading

Full Day

A very full day today.

The first dive of the day was a shore dive in the morning to a site called “Weber’s Joy”, or “Witch’s Hut” (a lot of the sites have two names). It’s a beach full of dead coral sloping down to a sandy bottom, which slopes down to the reef, right by the main road to the north. We had a little trepidation about getting in, especially for one of the divers who was recovering from a broken leg, but we decided to go in. Continue reading

Done, by Gum

I’ve finally finished off the first phase of The Great Slide Scanning Project. About a month ago, I finally finished retouching the last of the slides — an old, heavily faded, blotchy, fungus ridden AnscoChrome slide of my cousin Susan riding a bicycle. Since then, I’ve been busily uploading them to a private, sister WordPress site, captioning them, adjusting thumbnail cropping and generally polishing. I’ve just sent a note to my cousins, letting them know about it. It’s done.

It was interesting dealing with a brand new WordPress installation. I ended up using the stock Twenty Twelve theme, mainly because of its dimensions and the way it deals with photo captions — some of the newer themes only showed captions when mousing over the images. I did like the Twenty Fifteen theme, but the attachment page images are bigger in Twenty Twelve. I’m less fond of it’s lack of customization — you can’t edit the stylesheet, and I’m not fond of the rather plain font used for the header. But it’s a site that will probably see a week’s worth of traffic as family members check it out, and then go dormant.

Phase II will be the pictures from my mother’s side of the family. There aren’t nearly as many of them, but there are around 70 old glass mounted slides from the 1940s, taken by my mother’s aunt, including some of my mother as a child. I’m hoping they’ll fit in the scanner. I’m also hoping they won’t need nearly as much retouching.

One slight problem is that I appear to have lost my old PowerMac G4 — it won’t start up, and that’s the machine I used to run the Polaroid dust and scratches filter. If I can’t get it running, I’ll need to find a better dust removal filter.

Foggy Morning Paddle

The one good thing about the rapidly shortening days in September and October is that it you can be up for the sunrise without having to wake up at some ungodly hour, like you do in the summer. With that in mind, this morning I took the kayak out for an early morning trip. I was hoping for either a sunrise or early morning fog; I got fog.

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