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Didier Noirot has released his short film; “Malpelo, the island of the Hammerhead sharks.” It features silky smooth footage of schooling sharks and close encounters with hammerhead and silkies. Didier also discusses the creation of the Malpelo Foundation, with its founder, Sandra Bessudo. The Foundation is committed to preserving this marine sanctuary.

Noirot says: “I just hope that our children will have the chance to see this.”

Malpelo, the island of the Hammerhead sharks- The film- 4K - YouTube

Didier Noirot is an underwater explorer and cinematographer that has been filming for the past 40 years. He has been on many adventures with many different characters, including the famous Jacques Cousteau, with whom he filmed and worked with for 12 years. He enjoys filming very large animals such as Great White Sharks, Humpback Whales, and even Crocodiles, but he also enjoys spending time with Nemo in his anemone!

To see more of his work, please visit his YouTube channel and his website.

Tagged: didier noirot, malpelo, video

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Nauticam is offering a kit that adapts their N120 port system for use with the Laowa 24mm f/14 2x macro probe lens. It consists of an adaptor, along with a locknut and O ring seal. In addition, Nauticam is supplying focus and iris gear sets for both cinema and SLR set up, and a standard N120 extension is also required.

The N120 Port Adaptor for the Laowa 24mm f/14 2x macro probe lens is shipping now, priced at $600 in the U.S.A.

From Nauticam’s website N120 PORT ADAPTOR FOR LAOWA 24MM F/14 2X MACRO PROBE N120 Port Adaptor for Laowa 24mm f/14 2x Macro Probe

SKU # 16336
$600.00 USD

One of the first things you learn when shooting macro is that if you can’t have a conversation with the animal, you aren’t in the right spot. Good storytelling brings the viewer into these conversations and probe lenses, like the Laowa 24mm f/14 2x allow for images and videos that truly bring the audience face-to-face or even eye-to-eye with your subjects. The Nauticam system for the Laowa leaves the original front element of the lens outside the port giving the image maker the ability to utilize the 2:1 reproduction ration of the lens which would otherwise not be possible with a conventional port.

The Laowa 24mm Probe lens is produced in two versions, a Standard Version and a Cine-mod Version. The Cine Mod version features de-clicked aperture adjustments as well as cinema-styled focus to allow for easier follow focus.

The Cine-mod version comes in both a Canon EF and Arri PL style mounts.

This Port Adapter, when used in conjunction with 16335 or 19155 allows for the use of the Laowa 24mm Probe Lens underwater with supported cameras in N120 Housings.

This kit is made up of three parts:

  • N120 Port Adapter for Laowa 24mm Probe Lens
  • Locknut
  • O-ring for Adapter

INTRODUCING N120 PORT ADAPTOR FOR LAOWA 24MM F/14 2X MACRO PROBE

FOCUS AND IRIS GEAR SETS

In order to adjust focus and iris of the Laowa 24mm f/14 2x Probe Lens inside the housing, the following gear sets are required. Each set includes the necessary parts to work with both the Cine-Styled and DSLR versions of the lens but one is for DSLR N120 Housings and one is for Cinema N120 Housings.

  • 16335 Cinema Gear Set for Laowa 24mm f/14 2x Macro Probe
  • 19155 N120 DSLR Gear Set for Laowa 24mm f/14 2x Macro Probe

Additional extension rings are necessary based on the system as outlined below.

  • 21170 N120 Extension Ring 70 for N120 Cinema Housings
  • 21271 N120 Extension Ring 70 with Focus Knob for N120 DSLR
  • 21271 and 37303 N100 to N120 35.5mm Port Adaptor for Sony N100 A7II/A9 Systems

RESOURCES INSTALLATION PDF

PDF Installation Instructions

INSTALLATION VIDEO

Below is the video for the installation of the N120 Port Adapter for Laowa 24mm F/14 2x Macro Probe. This video features the focus and apertures gears included in 16335 Cinema Gear Set for Laowa 24mm f/14 2x Macro Probe.

Tagged: laowa kit, nauticam, news

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Nauticam is shipping their housing for Panasonic’s new full-frame mirrorless cameras: the S1 and S1R. The NA-S1R fits both camera models and offers support for the Sigma MC-21 EF to L adapter along with an M28 bulkhead for HDMI 2.0 output. Controls are optimized for both still, and video shooting and a vacuum valve is supplied as standard.

The NA-S1R is shipping now, priced at $3300 in the U.S.A.

Press release NA-S1R for Panasonic Lumix S1 and S1R Cameras

Panasonic has thrown its hat into the full-frame mirrorless camera ring with the much-anticipated release of the LUMIX S1 and S1R cameras. While the S1 and S1R may be physically identical, sharing a DSLR-style body, their capabilities are quite different. The S1’s 24MP CMOS sensor is spec’d to appeal to the videographer while the S1R’s 47MP CMOS sensor is clearly aimed at the photographer. While both can capture stills and 4K video, each one has its strong suit.

The Nauticam NA-S1R Housing

With the ability to house both the Panasonic LUMIX S1 and S1R cameras, the Nauticam NA-S1R housing gives the underwater image maker tremendous versatility. Nauticam’s drive for innovation and focus on real-world usability are clearly reflected in the features that are built into the NA-S1R.

While the two cameras may have different strengths, the NA-S1R is designed and built to give both video and still shooters dedicated access to all the controls and features exactly where they need them.

Mission Control

The NA-S1R has a double thumb lever on the rear left side of the housing that accesses DISP and Playback while a double thumb lever on the left front activates the customizable Fn1 and Fn2 buttons.

A rear double thumb lever on the right side is for AF-On and REC.

A lever on the right rear of the NA-S1R allows for focus mode switching between C/S/MF, and a multi-directional pad gives the ability to navigate the menu or move the focus point.

The Panasonic Lumix S1 and S1R Cameras

While the S1 and S1R may share the same body, it’s under the hood where it becomes clear that they are two very different cameras.

Panasonic Lumix S1 Camera

The S1 is given a more video-centric spec sheet as compared to the S1R. The S1 captures images using a 24MP CMOS sensor and video from the S1 is pulled from the full sensor width when recording UHD 4K at 30p with unlimited clip time length. UHD 4K 60p uses an APS-C crop with a maximum clip length of 29:59. Both 60p and 30p can be recorded with a quality of 8-bit 4:2:2 whereas the 30p UHD 4K can also be recorded as 10-bit 4:2:0 in HDR with HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma). A future paid firmware update will upgrade this to 10-bit 4:2:2 for both 30p capture and HDMI output as well as access to full V-Log gamma (the GH5 uses the lower spec’d VLog-L ). The S1 is billed as having a high-sensitivity sensor which is reflected in the maximum ISO level of 204,800.

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 Camera Specifications
  • 24MP Full-Frame CMOS
  • Maximum ISO of 204,800
  • 4K UHD Recording at 60p (APS-C) 8-bit 4:2:0
  • 4K UHD Recording at 30p (full frame) 10-bit 4:2:0 HDR HLG
  • Future paid firmware update unlocks 4K UHD up to 30p 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording (At 150Mbps), 4K UHD 50/60p, 10-bit 4:2:2 external recording via HDMI with APS-C crop, FHD at up to 60fps, 10-bit 4:2:2 at 100Mbps, and V-Log
Panasonic Lumix S1R Camera

The S1R is the higher-resolution model with a 47MP CMOS sensor. The S1R is clearly aimed at the needs of the still photographer but is still capable of capturing 4K UHD video if needed, albeit at a lower standard than the S1. The S1R has a maximum ISO level of 51,200. 4K UHD v 60p/30p video capture is pulled from a 1.09 crop area of the sensor with a maximum clip length of 10 minutes for 60p and 29:59 for 30p. The S1R features a high X-Sync speed of 1/320 sec as well as a highlight-weighted metering mode and the ability to adjust the standard EV level by up to +/-1-stop.

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 Camera Specifications
  • 47MP Full-Frame CMOS
  • No OLPF
  • X-Sync speed of 1/320
  • Maximum ISO of 51,200
  • 4K UHD Recording at 60p/30p (1.09 crop area)

Sigma EF-Lens Support

Sigma’s MC-21 EF to L adapter will allow for the use of Sigma EF-mount lenses to be used with the S1 and S1R cameras. The NA-S1R is designed to natively support this adapter. Adapted Sigma for Canon lenses can be used with existing Nauticam extension rings, focus gears, and zoom gears from the Nauticam N120 Canon DSLR System.

HDMI 2.0 Output

To take full advantage of the S1 video capabilities, the NA-S1R features the large-bore M28 bulkhead for HDMI 2.0 connections such as those on the Atomos Ninja V when used in conjunction with the Nauticam Atomos Ninja V Housing (HDMI 2.0) for Atomos Ninja V 5” 4K 60p 4:2:2 10-bit Recorder/Monitor/Player (17922 Housing and 25078 HDMI 2.0 Cable).

Key Features Patented Port Locking System

The NA-S1R features Nauticam’s signature port locking system. Ports can be easily installed and securely locked in place. The NA-s1R uses the N120 Port System.

Housing Locking Latches

The industry’s easiest to use housing closure system, requiring very little hand strength to operate, secures the housing back in place. The latches are safely locked to prevent accidental opening but are easy to open when needed for a quick battery or memory card change.

HDMI 2.0 M28 Bulkhead

The NA-S1R features the large-bore M28 bulkhead for HDMI 2.0 connections such as those on the Atomos Ninja V when used in conjunction with the Nauticam Atomos Ninja V Housing (HDMI 2.0) for Atomos Ninja V 5” 4K 60p 4:2:2 10-bit Recorder/Monitor/Player (17922).

What’s Included
  • NA-S1R Housing
  • M16 Vacuum Valve
  • 90134 Housing O-ring, lubricant and removal tool
  • CR2032 Battery (for vacuum system)
  • Padded Travel Case
  • Allen Wrench Set

NA-S1R Recommended Accessories
  • 32201 Nauticam 180˚ viewfinder
  • 32203 Nauticam 45˚ viewfinder

  • 26309 Mini Flash Trigger
  • 28130 Hand Strap

Recommended 4K Recorder/Monitor
  • 17922 Nauticam Atomos Ninja V housing (HDMI 2.0) for Atomos Ninja V 5” 4Kp60 4:4:2 10-bit Recorder/Monitor/Player
  • 25078 HDMI 2.0 Cable

NA-S1R Details and Specifications

Depth Rating: 100m
Weight: 3.5kg (In Air)
Dimensions: 363mm(W) x 215mm(H) x 153mm(D)
Battery for Vacuum system: CR2032
Model Number: 17718
USA Retail Price: $3300

Available Now!
More information is available from Nauticam.

About Nauticam:

Nauticam is the world’s leading manufacturer of innovative and ergonomic imaging solutions. Founded in 2009 by Edward Lai, an underwater photographer with two decades of experience making precision injection molds, Nauticam has continued to raise the bar with every new model release. Nauticam’s goal is to provide the absolute best user experience possible. Dealer inquiries are welcome!

Inquiries:
Dealer and Distributor Listing

Tagged: nauticam, news, s1r

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Fujifilm’s new GFX100 mirrorless camera has a 43.9mm x 32.9mm sensor that delivers 102 MP of resolution. Other features include in body image stabilization and on-board phase detection hybrid auto-focus with near 100% sensor coverage. Video recording is available in 4K 30p with F-Log Rec 2020 or uncompressed 4.2.2 via HDMI.

The GFX100 will be available on June 27, priced at 9,999.95.

Press release FUJIFILM INTRODUCES THE GFX100, A GAME CHANGER IN DIGITAL CAMERA TECHNOLOGY AND CAPABILITY

- 100+ megapixel sensor in a 55mm diagonal length large format offers the highest resolution in the history of mirrorless cameras
- Fast, accurate autofocus with the world’s first phase detection system, 4K video capability, and in-body image stabilization in a large sensor format[1].

Valhalla, New York, May 23, 2019 – FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation today announced the upcoming release of its flagship GFX100 mirrorless digital camera, incorporating a newly-developed 102 megapixel (MP), 55mm diagonal length large format image sensor that is designed to deliver image clarity and capability previously unheard of in the photography and video industries.

The GFX100 features several ‘world firsts’ for a large format camera with an image sensor larger than the 35mm (full-frame) format: including its 102MP back-side illuminated sensor (BSI), in body image stabilization (IBIS) and onboard phase detection hybrid auto-focus (AF) with near 100% coverage. In addition to pioneering features, the GFX100 is fully equipped with Fujifilm’s unparalleled color reproduction technology and film simulations. Resulting from years of research and technological innovations, the GFX100 will provide photographers with exceedingly high-quality imagery and best-in-class camera responsiveness for filmmaking and photography in a simple-to-use large format system with a growing selection of lenses.

Offering large-format video capability, the GFX100 is the world’s first mirrorless digital camera with an image sensor of this size to offer 4K, 30p video recording capability (4:2:2 10-bit). These groundbreaking features make the GFX100 a camera of unparalleled innovation and versatility, fulfilling photography’s intrinsic mission of capturing and recording precious moments that may never be repeated with the utmost image quality.

Resolution Redefined: World’s First 100 MP BSI CMOS Sensor in a Mirrorless Camera

The GFX100 pairs a newly-developed back-illuminated 102MP CMOS imaging sensor with Fujifilm’s blazingly fast X-Processor 4 processing engine to create a combination capable of outputting 16-bit images with amazing color fidelity, rich shadow detail, and incredible dynamic range. Its back-illuminated structure promotes crisp image quality by bringing the exposure plane in extremely close proximity to the color filter array, which results in ultra-low noise levels and a native ISO of ISO 100.

Noteworthy Stability When It Matters: World’s First Five-axis IBIS in a Camera Featuring an Image Sensor Bigger than the 35mm Format

High-resolution image sensors require high-level stability to ensure image sharpness. With built-in 5-axis image stabilization, GFX100 users are reassured that vibrations won’t interrupt the capture process. The function offers up to 5.5-stop image stabilization (when using the GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens)[2]. The entire shutter unit is suspended with four springs to minimize the effect of shutter shock. This dramatically broadens the scope of situations where a user can hand-hold the camera and still enjoy the world of 100MP+ ultra-high resolution, pushing the boundaries of photographic expression.

Practical Auto-Focus for Large Format: World’s First On-Board Phase Detection Hybrid AF with approximately 100% Coverage

Compared to traditional medium format digital systems, the GFX100 raises the bar in AF performance by utilizing phase detection pixels across the sensor to help photographers obtain focus wherever they chose to position their subjects in the frame. With 3.76 million phase detection pixels, at approximately 100% coverage, near perfect auto-focus performance with speed and accuracy is now a reality for photographers needing optimum performance in subject tracking, face/eye detection, and low-contrast environments. The effect is particularly notable when using fast prime lenses, achieving speed improvement of up to 210% over the conventional contrast AF system used in GFX 50R.

Pushing Creative Boundaries for Filmmakers: Large Format Camera with 4K video at 30p

With a sensor size of 43.9mm x 32.9mm, the GFX100 supports filmmakers in achieving their creative visions. The new sensor and processor combination support 4K video recording at 30p with a unique cinematic look. It’s now a breeze to explore shallow depth-of-field, wide tonal reproducibility, and extra high ISO sensitivity, producing high-quality video footage with detailed textures while reproducing three-dimensional definitions and even capturing the atmosphere of the scene. With the ability to apply Fujifilm’s highly respected Film Simulations (including ETERNA cinema film simulation mode), record in F-Log Rec 2020, and capture 4:2:2 10-bit uncompressed footage through the HDMI port, GFX100 should certainly be coming soon to a screen near you.

Dust-resistant, Weather-resistant, Lightweight and Highly Robust Magnesium Alloy Body with Integrated Vertical Grip

Maximizing its use for even the toughest conditions, the GFX100 has weather sealing in 95 locations across the camera body and detachable EVF to ensure an exceptionally high level of dust and moisture resistance. Photographers will have the opportunity to capture moments in even the most remote locations as the GFX100 can maintain reliable operation even under tough natural conditions.

Although it sports a large image sensor, the GFX100’s body is equivalent to that of a flagship 35mm full-frame DSLR camera in terms of dimensions (6.15” (W) x 6.44” (H) x 4.05” (D), measuring 1.93” at the thinnest part) and weight (approx. 3 lbs. including two batteries, memory card and EVF).

Designed for protection, the GFX100’s core imaging unit, consisting of the lens mount, image stabilization mechanism, an image sensor, has been structured completely separate from the main body panels. This “double-structure” is designed to ensure a high level of precision and robustness while minimizing resolution degradation caused by external stress to the body. To maximize usability, the GFX100 incorporates a vertical grip, enabling effective use of in-body space.

Advanced Color Reproduction Technology, Delivering Astonishing Quality in Stills

The combination of the newly developed image sensor and the fourth-generation X-Processor 4 processing engine means the camera supports the 16-bit RAW capture requested by many professional photographers seeking files that tolerate heavy post-processing. The GFX100 also features the newly developed “Smooth Skin Effect” function, which automatically smooths the skin tone of the subjects, as is often performed in portraiture. It allows the photographer to skip a portion of post-processing work so that images captured with this function can be finished at an extremely high level of perfection, faster.

The GFX100 will be the flagship model of the GFX Series of mirrorless cameras, which have garnered strong praise from professional photographers and photo enthusiasts for their use of 55mm large format image sensor, measuring 55mm diagonally (43.8mm x 32.9mm) and providing approximately 1.7 times the area of the regular 35mm full-frame sensor.

The GFX100 digital camera body will be available on June 27, 2019, at a suggested retail price of USD 9,999.95 and CAD 13,299.99.

For details of product support and other information, please visit the Fujifilm website.

Tagged: fujifilm, gxf100, news

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Olympus has announced the TG-6 Tough series compact camera. Like its predecessor, it is waterproof to 15m, although the PT-059 housing is also available. It has 5 underwater modes and 3 white balance settings. Like the TG-5, it has the microscope mode, capable of focusing down 1 cm in front of the lens.

Wetpixel’s friends at Backscatter Underwater Photo and Video have a pre-production sample of the new camera and were able to provide some first impressions of the TG-6’s underwater performance.

The TG-6 will be shipping from late June 2019, priced at $449.99.

Press release OLYMPUS TOUGH TG-6® RUGGED COMPACT DIGITAL CAMERA

Perfect for Outdoor Shooting with Tough Performance, Macro Functions and a Newly Developed Circular Fisheye Converter

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., May 22, 2019 – Olympus expands rugged and underwater shooting capabilities with the new Olympus Tough TG-6, a compact digital camera with reliable Tough performance for shooting anytime and anywhere. It features a blazing fast, wide-angle f/2.01 lens, back-lit high-speed CMOS sensor and powerful TruePic™ VIII image processor, providing the ability to capture stills and video with brilliant color and stunning detail. The Tough TG-6 is waterproof to a depth of 50 feet (15m)(2), dustproof(3), shockproof to 7 feet (2.4m)(4), crushproof to 100 kgf(5), freezeproof to 14ºF (-10°C)(6), and features a dual-pane protective glass construction for superb anti-fogging performance. Its Variable Macro System goes beyond the limits of the eye with ultra-close-up shooting up to 1cm from the front of the lens7. Full-featured underwater shooting modes and a new fisheye converter lens that supports circular fisheye photography are available for the Tough TG-6, along with a full lineup of other accessories for expanded shooting possibilities, making this truly the strongest field camera available.

Tough Performance for Shooting Anytime

Sealing throughout the entire camera body and double-lock construction on the camera battery cover are designed to provide waterproof performance to a depth of 50 feet for underwater shooting and excellent dustproof capabilities for use in dirty and dusty locations. Its floating construction protects the inside of the camera, clearing drop tests up to seven feet, and the reinforced body withstands loads up to 100 kgf. The Tough TG-6 is also freezeproof down to 14ºF, and the nitrogen-filled, hermetically sealed dual-pane protective glass construction prevents condensation and fogging for reliable shooting even in locations with severe temperature fluctuations.

High-Quality Images

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is equipped with a high resolution, high-speed f/2.0 zoom lens and a high-speed back-lit CMOS image sensor, offering excellent high-sensitivity performance and allowing you to capture bright, richly detailed images in low-light settings, ideal for shooting fast moving subjects. Anti-reflective (AR) coating incorporated in the image sensor’s sealing glass minimizes ghosting and flares. The TruePic™ VIII image processor, found in the award-winning Olympus OM-D E-M1X® professional model, is featured on this model, reducing noise levels and improving resolution in low contrast areas. RAW data can be recorded and then edited in post-production using the Olympus Workspace image editing software.

Variable Macro System

Conquer macro photography and creatively capture intricate detail using any of the four shooting modes, opening a new world of macro shooting. This close-up shooting performance allows high-quality image capture of the microscopic world that the human eye cannot see. A closest focusing distance of 1cm is possible for close-up shots even in Program and Aperture modes for more flexible photography.

The LED Light Guide, LG-1 (sold separately) uses the LED on the front of the camera to evenly illuminate the subject while the image is being taken. The LG-1 also assists with composing the image, acting as a constant light source to illuminate the subject.

The Flash Diffuser FD-1 (sold separately) uses the in-camera flash to illuminate the subject, offering a significant increase in the amount of light. This increase in light allows for usage of lower ISO settings and faster shutter speeds, as well as an increased working distance. The FD-1 can also be utilized under water.

Microscope Mode

With Microscope Mode, users can capture high-quality, detailed images of tiny subjects that are difficult to see with the naked eye, such as the antennae and feet of insects, the veins of a leaf on a tree, snowflakes, etc. A maximum shooting magnification of 7x(8) is possible when the optical zoom is set to the telephoto end and the subject is 1 cm away from the front of the lens, delivering magnified shots similar to using a microscope.

Microscope Control Mode

Switch display magnification ratios with the press of a single button similar to switching microscope objective lenses for observing and photographing subjects at 1x, 2x, and 4x. When the subject is 1 cm from the front of the lens while using this mode, the image on the rear LCD monitor can zoom in up to 44.4x.

Focus Stacking Mode(9)

Focus stacking mode captures multiple shots while automatically shifting the focus from the foreground to the background. Only the areas in focus are extracted and merged, resulting in a full pixel photo with a deep depth of focus. This is particularly effective for macro shooting when shots have a shallow depth of field and a narrow range of focus. Between 3 and 10 shots can be set on the Tough TG-6 so users can fine tune settings for different subjects and precision in their finished image.

Focus Bracketing Mode

With a single shot, this function captures up to 30 images while shifting the focus from the foreground to the background. Three levels of focal shift and number of shots can be selected to perfectly match the subject and shooting conditions. This feature is convenient for instantly setting the focal position when shooting flower petals or the wings of insects, etc.

Dive Deep Into Underwater Photography

To expand the possibilities of underwater shooting ever further, the Tough TG-6 is equipped with five underwater shooting modes optimized for various situations, allowing the user to capture sharp, colorful underwater photos at all depths. The popular Underwater White Balance mode now offers three options, providing appropriate color adjustment for deep water shooting. The new Fisheye Converter FCON-T02 (sold separately), for circular fisheye photography is now available, offering a versatile lineup of accessories to further expand shooting creativity.

Five Underwater Modes
  • Underwater Wide: Optimized for shooting in dim underwater conditions and capable of shooting in deeper water.
  • Underwater Snapshot: Records subjects using the natural lighting in pools and other shallow water for natural-looking photos.
  • Underwater Macro: Perfect for close-up shots of small subjects such as little fish.
  • Underwater Microscope: Captures even smaller subjects up to 1 cm from the front of the lens.
  • Underwater HDR: Dramatically recreates the scene without losing details in dark areas.

Three Underwater White Balance Modes(10)
  • Underwater Shallow: Recommended for use in water depths up to approximately 10 feet deep to improve the red tones that tend to occur in shallow water.
  • Underwater Mid-Range: Optimally tunes the color for general use in water from 10-50 feet deep.
  • Underwater Deep: For use with the new Underwater Case PT-059 (sold separately) in water deeper than 50 feet, particularly for improving the blue tones in photos.

Fisheye Converter, FCON-T02

The new Fisheye Converter FCON-T02 (sold separately) delivers both circular fisheye photography and diagonal fisheye photography via zooming control. It can function even underwater for zoomed-in shots. The Converter Adapter CLA-T01 (sold separately) is required to attach this lens. FCON-T02 is only compatible with the Tough TG-6.

Advanced Video Functions

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is equipped with Ultra HD 4K Movie, ideal for recording beautiful scenery in amazing detail. Full HD 120fps High-Speed Movie is also included to capture high quality split-second moments with playback in stunning slow motion.

Field Sensor System

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is equipped with a Field Sensor System, using tracking information obtained from various sensors in the camera to record data, including the GPS(11), manometer, temperature sensor, and compass. Data can then be synced to photos and video and viewed in the free Olympus Image Track (OI.Track) smartphone app. Simply press the INFO button, even when the camera is off, to display data.

Pro Capture Mode

Never miss a shot! Pro Capture Mode shoots sequentially at 10 frames-per-second (fps) for 0.5 seconds before the shutter button is pressed fully, making it perfect for capturing shots where timing may be difficult, such as an insect in flight or a drop of liquid splashing.

High Definition LCD monitor

The new rear LCD monitor now features a 1.04 million-pixel high-definition resolution for improved visibility. The brightness and color saturation are optimally tuned for use outdoors.

Date Imprint

It is now possible to embed the date and time of capture into still images for convenience and reference later. Users can turn this feature on and off to best fit their needs.

Lens Barrier, LB-T01

The new lens barrier LB-T01(12) protects the lens surface from scratches and dirt. The barrier opens and closes easily for smooth operation, even while wearing gloves.

Silicone Jacket, CSCH-127

This accessory protects the surface of the camera body from scratches. It also provides a solid grip on the camera when shooting during winter sports and water sports. LED Light Guide LG-1 and Flash Diffuser FD-1 can function with the silicone jacket attached to the camera.

Underwater Case, PT-059(13)

Designed exclusively for the Tough TG-6, this case can function down to a depth of 148 feet. The camera control dial is operable even when the camera is stored in the case for easy exposure compensation control underwater.

Two external flash units for underwater photography (UFL-3) are compatible for multi-unit flash photography in a compact system.

Lithium Ion Battery Charger, UC-92

This new, compact battery charger can fully charge the Lithium Ion Battery LI-92B using a USB port in approximately 2 hours.

Pricing and Availability

The Olympus Tough TG-6 will be available in red and black beginning in late June 2019, with suggested retail prices of $449.99 USD and $579.99 CAD.

Accessory Pricing

PT-059 Underwater Housing: $299.99 USD; $329.99 CAD
Lens Barrier LB-T01: $49.99 USD; $59.99 CAD
Flash Diffuser FD-1: $51.99 USD; $64.99 CAD
LED Light Guide LG-1: $40.99 USD; $40.99 CAD
Circular Fisheye Converter FCON-T02 & Adapter CLA-T01 Tough Pack Kit: $224.99 USD; $292.99 CAD
Fisheye Converter FCON-T01 & Adapter CLA-T01 Tough Pack Kit: $139.98 USD; $139.98 CAD
Teleconverter TCON-T01 & Adapter CLA-T01 Tough Pack Kit: $129.98 USD; $129.98 CAD
CLA-T01 Adapter: $19.99 USD; $19.99 CAD
Lens Cap LC-40.5 (fits on CLA-T01 Adapter): $7.49 USD; $9.99 CAD
Lens Filter PRF-D40.5 PRO: $51.99 USD; $51.99 CAD

(1) At the wide-angle end of 25mm (35mm equivalent)
(2) Waterproof performance is JIS/IEC protection class 8 (IPX8) equivalent. All measurements are according to Olympus testing conditions, and do not guarantee protection from damage or malfunction under all conditions.
(3) Dustproof performance is JIS/IEC protection class 6 (IP6X) equivalent. All measurements are according to Olympus testing conditions, and do not guarantee protection from damage or malfunction under all conditions.
(4) Compliant with MIL-STD810F. This model cleared drop tests under Olympus in-house testing conditions; however, Olympus does not guarantee protection from damage or malfunction under all conditions. Olympus in-house shockproof testing conditions: Drop height: 2.1 m, Drop surface: Plywood (lauan laminate), Drop orientation: 26 directions for each surface, each side, and each corner. Drop test was performed once for each direction. (5) Kilogram force (kgf) is the unit for measuring force exerted on an object. All measurements are according to Olympus testing conditions, and do not guarantee protection from damage or malfunction under all conditions.
(6) The number of recordable still images is reduced at low temperatures.
(7) Super Macro setting required.
(8) 35mm equivalent.
(9) Use of a tripod is recommended. Processing may take longer than usual.
(10) White balance can also be changed manually.
(11) GPS: Global Positioning System. To use GPS Assist data, information must be updated via the internet. A PC or smartphone with an internet connection is required. GPS Assist Data must be updated every 2 weeks. Depending on the country/region of use, different laws and regulations may be applicable regarding the use of the GPS function. Be sure to follow local laws and regulations.

Be sure to turn off the GPS function in places where its use is forbidden or restricted, such as inside airplanes. The camera is not equipped with a navigation function. GPS is a positioning measurement system that uses signals received from orbiting satellites. For better reception, avoid locations where signals can be blocked or reflected. Use the camera in as open location as possible where the sky is clearly visible. It may not be possible to obtain positioning information, or positioning information may be incorrect in the following locations: Indoors, underground or underwater, in forests, near tall buildings, near high-voltage lines, inside tunnels, near magnets, metal, or electronic appliances, near mobile phones that operate in the 1.5 GHz band.
(12) Cannot be used together with Silicone Jacket CSCH-127.
(13) The Field Sensor System will not operate properly when the camera is stored in the underwater case. Make sure to set the Log Lever to the off position when using the case. Use together with silica gel for best results.

Tagged: news, olympus, tg-6

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Aaron Wong - Interview by Henley Spiers

In the latest in the series, I talk with Aaron Wong, a commercial photographer from Singapore and highly renowned underwater photographer. What fascinated me most about Aaron’s story is his unfamiliar path into the underwater genre. Unlike most of us, who start out as keen divers and then progress into underwater imagery, Aaron had a strong background within professional studio photography before he even went diving or picked up an underwater housing. As such, he brings a meticulous approach to the use of light in his images, which has inspired me to get more creative and deliberate with my strobes. The portfolio showcased here comprises underwater photos falling under the natural history and fashion genres, my personal interest lies firmly within the former, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that even the pool shots elicit a strong response to me.

Henley Spiers: How did you start in photography?

I was a commercial photographer way before I was an underwater photographer. In Singapore we have to serve in the Army, whether we like it or not, so it was a two-year mandatory service to the government, and once I came out of the armed forces, I had wanted to be a photographer from day one, I knew it all along. But unfortunately for me, I’m 42 years old now, but back in the day, we didn’t have a lot of photography schools like we have now so the only way you could do it was to be an assistant to somebody. And I remember looking to classify for that. This was before the internet and all this stuff, in the mid-90s, so the internet was in its infancy so you couldn’t use that to search. So I was looking for a class, and I found a studio that I could work with as an assistant and then that’s how it all started. So I started my photography career in the studio as an assistant to one of the more prominent photographers in Singapore.

And you had shown an inclination towards that as a child growing up?

Yes, I mean, I’ve always known that I wanted to be a photographer. My dad is into photography. So I had kind of a crash course introduction, and I’m looking through the lens you know, playing with my dad’s cameras and all that stuff. So I’ve always liked the idea of capturing moments. I remember being fascinated by how film works, and this was really the film days. And so I self-taught a bunch of darkroom processes and I processed my own slides. I mean those were the days when we rented dark rooms and go there and do our own projects and things like that. I liked the entire process of how we capture things on film, and of course, with film you need to have a lot of knowledge. I mean now it’s easy, right? You take a picture, and it’s too dark, you just do another one. But those were the days when you had to have light-meters to know what you’re doing. You have thirty-six shots if you’re lucky and if you’re working on a Hasselblad, you have eleven shots. And so that’s how it all started: from the love of film.

And was there a particular type of photography that appealed to you when you started out?

I think it’s very common for a lot of photographers to start off with street photography. I guess it’s the least expensive thing to get into. You get a camera with some film in it, and then off you go. You don’t have to hire anybody, you just shoot whatever you see. And so I remember the first time, shooting the first roll of film and I went to some street in Chinatown to shoot a bunch of old folks doing Tai Chi in the morning - that kind of stuff.

I’m curious because actually, you’re really a photographer whereas most underwater photographers start out as divers and then get interested in that. So when does the diving come into it for you?

Oh yeah, that’s an interesting point because I think you’re right. A lot of the professional underwater photographers I know are not full-time photographers, they all have a day job. A lot of them are not full-time underwater photographers. So I grew up in Singapore and my dad again he fished a lot. So I was always on boats as young as I can remember. I was out at sea fishing and all that, and I always wondered how it would be to go into the ocean. And I remember skipping school when I was about 10, and you can read this story in my book, I just skipped school once with my friends. We didn’t go to school, and I remember running to the east coast of Singapore, that’s where there’s a long stretch of beach. And you know as a kid, when you are 9 or 10 years old, you have this grand illusion of how the underwater world looks from what you just see on TV. All the Jacques Cousteau stuff, you know National Geographic stuff back in the day. And we were so simple minded at nine years, you just presumed that the moment you’re jumping, you’re going to see that kind of stuff. But then again of course I’m going to be very disappointed because the moment I did get in (and I remember borrowing one of my cousin’s goggles, not even a mask, just swimming goggles) I remember jumping in on the East Coast of Singapore, and it was horrible, you couldn’t see anything. I mean you can barely see your fingers, that’s how bad it was. And anyway, it was scary as shit right because you can’t see: “Woh, what the hell is this?” And then I tried to dive to the bottom, and I saw plastics and rocks and all that. I guess it’s this inability to see that kind of fused the curiosity that: “Man, I really wish I could see more.” I mean it works both ways, some people might be totally petrified and once you can’t see anything beyond your fingers: “Oh it’s scary,” but for me, it was like: “Man, I wish I could see what’s beyond this.” I wish I could dive a little bit deeper. I couldn’t snorkel, I was just nine years old right, but I wish I could be like these guys on TV who can go underwater just like a fish. And that’s how it all started. But of course I didn’t get into diving until the year 2000, and the reason is very simple: diving was expensive back in the day and so you know it’s not something that a kid can just afford. So the moment I had enough money: “OK, I’m just going to get this license once and for all and get it done.” And so the moment I got into the water it was like a second home to me, I mean I’ve been swimming all my life. I’ve been out at sea all my life, so it was so easy for me to move into it. And then once I got into diving, the underwater photography part came very naturally. It’s like a natural progression. By then, I was already a photographer, I was working in a studio as an assistant so as a photographer, you see things differently. I mean I can’t remember numbers if my life depended on it but I can remember images, I can see something and think: “Oh, I’ve seen this before, it was from so and so.” And so I think the underwater world is probably one of the best places on earth to make pictures if you ask me. You have colors like nowhere else, you are not bounded by gravity, you can literally fly up and down.

All kinds of stuff. You’re only limited by your imagination. So the moment I started diving, I knew I need to get myself a camera, again money was an issue. Digital photography was in its infancy, let alone underwater housings. So the first camera that I had was a Nikonos V which I still own today, I had a macro lens, I had a wide angle fisheye. And then the second camera I had was a housing that I actually got from Michael Aw. He didn’t know who I was, he just wanted to sell it and then you know I kind of won some of the competitions before, and then he said: “Oh, I’m getting rid of this. Would you like it?” and then I got a f90X, the housing on a film camera, and then slowly I got my first digital, and then the rest, as they say, is history already.

Was it frustrating at first for you in terms of being able to capture what you had in your mind underwater with the equipment, within a different environment?

I mean I guess this is a phase that every photographer who does underwater for the first time will encounter. We all understand the loss of light and the loss of, but unless you are taught basics like that, then you don’t understand it right. And back in the 90s early 2000s, there weren’t a lot of books about underwater photography. And then, like everybody else, you have this grand illusion of how you want to shoot it, then when you shoot it, and it’s just grossly under colored, everything is cyan. And then you start to read about it, and you realize: “Oh, the loss of colors.” But I think it was a little bit easier for me, because I kind of had the background already, the concept of f-stops and shutter speed and ISO it’s already in my blood. So then you start to adjust to the underwater world. And I think that progression was quite easy for me just because I already had a lot of experience in the studio.

Was there a teacher or inspiration in terms of underwater photographers at that stage?

OK, yeah, I know it’s gonna sound very clichéd, but I’ve always admired David Doubilet. And this is because I was exposed to his images in National Geographic. I remember the barracuda shot. I think it was done in 1976 or something like that. And I remember being very impressed by the fact that there are no bubbles in it. And I was not even really big on diving yet. But I kind of understood actually: how do you shoot upwards (and this is before we had rebreathers right), how do you shoot upwards without your bubbles? How long do you have to wait for the bubbles to clear? Well, I mean I remember thinking about all that stuff. So David was definitely one of my inspirations. I looked at his book, and I actually have his book (Water, Light, Time), that’s the Bible. To me, it’s still relevant until today, and his images are not technically, or in terms of composition, or in terms of colors, not the most complex. Some of his stuff is very simple, but it’s just the composition and his ability to tell stories from simple frames that makes it work so well. I remember one of the shots. The toes of probably a tourist with painted nails and there were some, I don’t know what fish that was, but they were just around the toes of somebody, and they were wriggling the toe, and the fish would come to it. It’s a simple thing, but he captured it very nice nicely, and of course you know the barracuda, and then the half water with the ray. I mean everybody does it now but… You know it’s even been done way better than that but…

I think it’s easy to forget today with the technology, the equipment that we have, when you look at ‘Water, Light, Time’ maybe the images do stand the test of time in a sense but put them in a competition today, and they wouldn’t stand out in the same way. And it’s easy to lose sight of what it was like back then. I mean it’s 30 exposures from one dive. No idea what you captured until two weeks later…

Exactly. Yeah, exactly. And you know to mess around with strobes back in those days, to calculate your strobes, exposure, all that without digital is just very, very difficult to do.

You started on film on the Nikonos V?

Yes, but spent very little time with the Nikonos, to be honest. But you know Nikonos is a great way because you need to measure the distance for your focus. You’ve got to move your f stop all within the three meters to eight meters you get things in focus, that kind of stuff because it’s not an SLR. I mean have you worked on the Nikonos? It’s got a little knob in it with two small little arrows and as you change the f stop these two small arrows will move closer or further apart. And there are small numbers there, and these are the distance in feet. So that’s telling you where your lens is focusing. So if you have f8, well you know they say; “f8 and be there”, it’s going to be sharp from here to here. And that’s just to get it in focus! So, David, I’m sure he used an SLR, but a lot of the stuff in that book was on film. And the other one that I really admire a lot is Mr. William Tan, he’s from Singapore, and he had a book called Silent Symphony, macro but it’s shot entirely on film, very polished, very well exposed. I would say art photography, like fine art macro stuff on film. And I just fell in love with that whole texture that he managed to do. So yeah these were the two people that I looked up to and stood out for me.

Can you look back and think that this was the turning point, this was when people started to know Aaron Wong within underwater photography circles - is there a moment in time that you look back on?

Yes, definitely. I believe it is the early 2000s. In every era, there’s a look to stuff. I would say in the 70s and 80s, it’s very clean, very colorful, very matter of fact. This is how the underwater world looks like. Think of it as tourism photos, postcards. And there was a time that all the pictures were like that, and then from the 90s to 2000, things become more sophisticated, a bit more polished. And at about that time I was very interested and very keen on taking dark pictures. It’s just my thing. You know I mean look at me: I’m all in black, my water bottle is black, my entire gears are black except for the Seacam. So I just like black stuff, underexposed stuff, high contrast, very good texture that comes up from the light.

And it’s quite common now, but if you think about it in 2000 or 2002 it was not that common to be shooting anything with a black background, or a sunburst that’s so underexposed it looks like the moon. And then I was looking at some of the paintings from Wyland. You know he paints all these very surreal images. A whale with a sunburst and then the dolphins are jumping up. And I’m thinking why can’t we capture something like this because this is so stylized and it’s so creative, it’s art. Why can’t we shoot the underwater world like this?! Because in the end, the camera is still a tool, we paint with light instead of with a brush and oil, but we can’t do things like that. And so I started shooting way underexposed wide-angle stuff. So the sunburst took on another dimension: it’s no longer just blue with a ball of light, it’s really dark at the edges, vignetted like crazy. And then you have a very well lit front subject, a wide angle close up, with a nice sunburst in the back. That kind of stuff back in the early 2000s. And I did one particular shot, of a grouper. It was the weirdest thing ever. We were coming out of the water, a very shallow dive, and we were doing our safety stop, then there was some tourist boats there feeding, they would throw bread into the water, and the sergeant majors are eating it, and then all of the fusiliers. And then there were a few, and there was a grouper. Strangely enough, a juvenile grouper darting around with all this trying to get scraps. And I was thinking wouldn’t it be cool right. And so I grab one of the floating pieces of bread and kind of dangled in front of my camera for a while. And I was hoping, OK I’m just going to prefocus, I put my hand in front of maybe two or three inches from the port, prefocus and I’m just going to hang this here. And if anything swims remotely close it’s just gonna be a knee jerk reflex, I’m just going to shoot it anyway. But I knew I wanted to get a sunburst in the back. So I just aligned my camera with the sunburst. I’m just like two meters underwater and just waiting for something to cross my frame. I mean I must have done hundreds of shots of weird stuff passing, and then this grouper came, and in that one-second he turned, and I took a picture. I didn’t know I got a shot because I’m not looking at the reviews. And then after that, I left, and I ended up capturing a fantastic, pin-sharp picture of a grouper turning with a sunburst in the back.

It looks like cut and paste, but I swear to god it wasn’t. And I tried to send it into a lot of competitions. And it didn’t even get to the finals of anything or even the semifinals of anything in Asia. And I was very disappointed. I’m thinking maybe what I like is simply not good enough. OK, maybe this sucks. I mean who’s to say you know. And then along came the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and I thought OK you know aim for the stars and maybe you hit the moon. So I submitted that one and I realized it was so difficult because the BBC is a very serious competition. You send in your JPGs, and if it gets selected they’ll ask for your RAW, and this was in the early 2000s, so they were really strict. And if your RAW was even remotely not close to your JPG, you’re out of the competition. And so I submitted it, and I won.

You won the underwater category?

It was an animal portrait, and I was in the book 2008 BBC. Yes, I was placed within that category. Which is a big thing back in the day, and for a Singaporean. And then that is the moment I feel. It’s not that my style isn’t nice, but I felt that at the time a lot of magazines and other underwater competitions are just not ready for it. That’s how I felt. But to me, that moment was like an assurance that this thing works. Just that not everybody can understand, it but slowly they will. And so from then on I just stuck to it. And then before I knew, it kind of developed into a style and then the magazines kind of liked it and then you see, I’m not saying people are copying, but I would dare to go as far as saying that I kind of pioneered this look. Everybody does it now, and it’s flattering…great. I don’t think that they copied it, but I inspired this whole look.

Which is the ultimate compliment really…

Yeah I think it’s really cool and then people are saying: “Oh, I love this whole idea,” but it’s just like blackwater now. Somebody did it, I don’t know who started it, and now everybody’s doing blackwater for example. So that’s the trend, you know. I would say I started this whole dark wide angle shots and I started really focusing a lot on wide angle close-ups. So the subject in front of the camera is very well lit, done perfectly, and I approach the lighting like I would in a studio. Yes. So whatever’s in front of my camera. It’s like a mini studio. The sun is just a backdrop. Yeah, that’s it.

I was looking at your images, and we talked about how photographers, we paint with light…Well actually I like the concept that you paint which shadow, you’re a master maybe of shadow. For me, that’s what stands out as the Aaron Wong Style…

You are actually are completely right. So I think we are speaking the same language. When I started giving a lot of workshops back in the day, I was always telling people their shadows are very important. It tells you where things are in space. If you have flat lighting, you know like a moon, like a full moon, it’s just flat. Whereas if you have a crescent moon, you look at it even with your naked eye and you can see the little craters and textures on the moon. Just like if you were to shine at an orange with a torchlight from the side. You can see all the little textures, but if you put it directly beside your eye and shine straight at it, it is going to be flat, so textures are what make things pop. That’s why when you do fine art sketching, in school when you learn basic art and craft, the teacher will put an apple beside an open window and draw it, and you are often given a subject that is round because they want you to understand a concept of a key light, a highlight, a mid-tone, and a shadow that makes something look three dimensional. So without shadows, you can’t see. You don’t have any contrast to bring stuff up. So shadows are the ones that actually make things work, and as a commercial photographer, we also train to sell stuff. I mean that’s what a commercial photographer does right? We sell stuff. So our concept is if it’s nice, we show it. If it’s not nice, we hide it. So same thing, if you look at a reef, it can be a bit messy and a busy shot. A lot of things are happening. So if you throw it into the shadow, and it’s just black, and you focus on one thing that’s in front of you, say a frogfish. Light that stuff to perfection. Everything else is black. The only thing that gives a bit of light in the back is a sunburst. And then all of a sudden it becomes a very stylized and simplified version. But there’s a lot of thought into it. You know it looks simple, but as I always say: simplicity is an awfully complicated process. It takes a lot of time to think like that.

In this series, I like to talk to the photographers about their process, so maybe people listening or reading can pick up a few little things. What’s your process for taking an underwater photograph both before, during, and after, some things that you could share with us?

For any underwater photographer, you need to have a very good grasp of what constitutes a nice image. You need to know what a nice image means to begin with. Of course, you can’t plan a lot of stuff. In fact, you can’t plan most of the stuff when you dive. You don’t know what you’re going to see. You don’t know what nature is going to throw at you, but If you have a good grasp of how a good image classifies, and when the opportunity presents itself you have this archive subconsciously of images that: “Ahh, this will be cool.” So when you approach a subject or when you approach a picture, I think the first thing is you must have a mental idea of what you are about to shoot. This will determine which angle you are going to approach this subject. So that’s number one I feel.

With a bit of experience you will know that certain subjects will work, certain subjects won’t. Let’s say if I were to be swimming along and I see this sea fan along the wall, sticking out at a perfect angle, it’s not near to anything else, and it just happened. The sun was behind me say for example, and the sea fan is in front of me, I know that I should go to the other side of the sea fan to shoot against the sun to get the sunburst. So all this is a process, and you only know that because you know what you want to get. Because most people just swim up to the sea fan, with the sun behind them because this just happened to be the direction they are diving, just go click click and then..

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The Ogasawara Islands – Diving Japan’s Galapagos By Don Silcock

The Ogasawara archipelago is often referred to as the Oriental Galapagos and is located in the north-west Pacific Ocean, about 1000km south of Tokyo - one of the most isolated and remote parts of Japan.

Despite their distance from Tokyo, the 30+ Ogasawara Islands are administered from the Japanese capital. The only way to get there is also from Tokyo - on the weekly ferry service as there are no airports on the archipelago!

The island’s isolation, together with the fact that they have never been connected to a continent, is said to have produced a “Galapagos effect” with flora and fauna that is unique to the islands. Plus, because the archipelago is one of very few significant land masses in the north-west of the Pacific, means that they provide a much-needed safe refuge for many endangered species.

Volcanic in nature, visually the islands are remarkable – rising quite spectacularly out of the surrounding deep waters and oceanic trenches.

The Ogasawaras are on a similar geographical latitude to the more well-known Okinawa Islands and share the same subtropical climate, with warm temperatures all year-round. Similarly, the reefs around the islands are rich in coral and fish, but it is the larger creatures of the underwater world that persuaded me to make that long journey. For every year the archipelago is visited by northern humpback whales and has a resident population of sperm whales!

Getting There

Simply traveling to the Ogasawara Islands is an adventure – one that will quickly immerse you in an interesting mix of Japanese culture, protocol, and the country’s amazing infrastructure.

My journey involved getting from Bali to Tokyo’s Haneda airport, which is built on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay – so effectively “downtown” as opposed to Narita, which is 40km outside of the city.

The Ogasawara weekly ferry departs from Takeshiba pier, in the harbor area close to Tokyo Bay. Which means using the excellent, if initially mind-boggling, Tokyo rail system to get between the two.

Boarding the actual ferry, the Ogawasara Maru is done with true Japanese courtesy and efficiency, but you quickly realize that foreigners are few and far between on this journey… The ship itself is excellent with restaurants and vending machines for everything you might require for the 24 hours it takes to get to Futami port on the main island of Chichijima.

Overall it is an exciting and immersive journey with the hardest part being getting your diving and photographic equipment from Haneda to Takeshiba pier!

Underwater

The reef systems around the main island of Chichijima are generally in excellent condition with healthy hard coral growth.

Plus, a wide variety of tropical reef fish, including the wrought-iron butterflyfish (Chaetodon daedalma) – a species native to southern Japan and relatively common around the Ogasawara Islands.

There is also a healthy population of sand-tiger sharks that congregate in Futami port around a wreck on the eastern side of the large bay at the entrance to the main harbor.

Interestingly, the sand tigers enter the main harbor at night to hunt and can easily be seen in the lights from the pontoons.

Overall the diving around Chichijima is enjoyable, but not spectacular – until the local stars of the show make an appearance.

For there is a significant population of both spinner and bottlenose dolphins in and around Chichijima, so there is a strong possibility of an underwater encounter with a pod of these beautiful creatures.

The Whales

Northern hemisphere humpback whales visit the Ogasawara Islands between February and April each year. They are a common sight around Chichijima and a major tourist attraction.

But… in-water encounters are not allowed as such, with a mandatory exclusion zone of 100m around any humpback whale. However, if you are in the water and the whale swims towards you, then the encounter happens on their terms, and all is well in the world!

The archipelago has a resident population of sperm whales; however, they are typically only seen in August and September when the weather is at its best, and the seas are calm. And they rarely come into the coastal waters around either Chichijima or Hahajima.

Instead, they prefer the deep waters some 10 km off the coast of Tatsumizaki Island to the southeast of Chichijima. In-water encounters with the sperm whales are also not allowed, and a 50 m exclusion zone applies, but again if they swim towards you that is also OK…

The general area around the archipelago was known as the “Japan grounds” during the early 19th century when whaling was at its peak. And because Japan was closed to foreigners at that time, the Ogasawara Islands was used as safe harbors to replenish supplies.

Immersion Therapy

It’s a long journey to get to the Ogasawara Islands, one that typically will take at least two days each way – one day to get to Tokyo and another 24 hours on the ferry to Chichijima.

The diving is good, but not fantastic, and the whale encounters are somewhat hit and miss, but as an overall experience, it is terrific. Japan is one of my favorite countries and never ceases to amaze me with its incredible culture, history, and possibly the nicest, most polite people in the world! The cities in Japan are amazing, but they are a completely different experience to what the small towns and villages offer. And the Ogasawara Islands take that even further as there are simply no big hotels to stay in an insulate yourself from the locals.

Instead, you stay in pensions and guest houses, which means you are right in the thick of how the locals live, eat, and socialize, which was probably the highlight of the overall experience!

Don Silcock

Don is an underwater photographer based from Bali in Indonesia and his website www.indopacificimages.com has extensive location guides, articles, and images on some of the world’s best diving locations and underwater experiences. You can read more about the Ogasawara Islands on Don’s website.

Tagged: don silcock, ogasawara islands

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On Wednesday, Adobe released Lightroom Classic version 8.3. Apart from renaming the application, they added a new control. The Texture control is a new slider within the Develop module’s Basic pane and local corrections tools. Texture is the first significant new tool to be incorporated into Lightroom since the addition of the Dehaze slider in 2015.

Texture adjustments seem to be similar to a cross between positive sharpening and clarity. Sharpening works on the “high-frequency” areas of a photo (the edges and fine details), while Clarity is best for making stronger adjustments to a broader frequency range, including some lower frequencies.

Texture targets the “mid-frequency” areas and the tool boosts or reduces important details generally without amplifying noise or producing a flat, plastic appearance. This gives an appealing, subtly 3D appearance to image features with lots of detail (think fan corals…)

Bottom image is identically processed to the upper, but has 75 points of Texture added as a global adjustment

Crop of 100% view of soft coral in center of frame above.

Without Texture applied

Image above has 92 points of Texture applied

Used as a negative, the slider is designed to smooth out textures.

For underwater image makers, Texture provides a pleasing, subtle option for enhancing detail within images. Clarity sometimes boosts contrast too much, which can make blues become very dark and over exaggerates tonal boundaries. Texture seems to provide a more subtle option.

Local application applied

The adjustment seems to be ideally suited for correcting the inherent softness caused by shooting through water and the optics we use to do so.

Another use is to use the Texture negative adjustment to reduce backscatter.

Crop of 100% of image showing backscatter and messy background

By using local adjustments, most likely the Brush tool, and a strong Texture adjustment visible backscatter can be significantly reduced. This technique still needs more testing with a broader variety of images, but the initial results seem pleasing.

Crop of same image area as above with -100 points of texture applied as a local adjustment

When using local adjustments, Lightroom Range Mask tool could be used to select a specific color or tonal areas of an image.

Adobe Lightroom Classic (previously Lightroom Classic CC) is available as an update via the CC App for Creative Cloud subscribers.

(Images were taken while diving with the fantastic Emperor Divers Marsa Alam). Many thanks to them and Lisa Pulzer for acting as the model.

Tagged: lightroom, review, texture

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A Clean Sweep at the ADEX 360 Blue Green Awards 2019 for Lembeh Foundation’s Helen Pananggung and Lembeh Resort. By Sarah Ann Wormald

The ADEX 360 Blue Green Awards this year were a reflection of the hard work, dedication and commitment of the Lembeh Foundation (founded by Lembeh Resort) and the Foundation’s driving force in sustainability and the local Lembeh communities, Helen Pananggung. Lembeh Foundation entered 2 categories at the 360 Blue Green Awards this year (1) Dive Operator of the Year (as Lembeh Resort) and (2) Helen Pananggung was entered for the Blue Green personality of the Year Award.

Guess what? They won both categories with Lembeh Resort taking the Dive Operator of the Year trophy and Helen taking the Personality of the Year award due to her efforts in Pintu Kota village with the Green Library and the Trash Bank efforts. Well done, everyone!

We did not tell Helen that we had entered her - so when she found out that she had won, she was over the moon, stunned and for the first time ever - totally speechless! In Helen’s application form, we submitted that:

“They say it takes a village to raise a child but (Helen) has raised awareness of sustainability to an entire village. Helen has approached village leaders and senior community members to gain their trust and support for recreating the village as an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable model community”.

We are so proud of Helen and everything she has done as part of the Lembeh Foundation - of which she was a founding member.

Helen was born, grown up in, and still lives in our neighboring village of Pintu Kota Kecil. Helen has worked tirelessly to turn the villagers’ hearts and minds to the beautiful environment which surrounds them and how to protect it.

While it has not always been easy, challenging, and trying to change generations of mindsets and beliefs, Helen has done just that. She has never given up, and through Green Library activities on a two weekly basis, Helen has had the children of the village cleaning the beaches and finding innovative uses for the plastics which they find. The village streets are now adorned with colorful “flower pots” which upon closer inspection, are actually old plastic water bottles which have been collected.

As a passionate nature lover, Helen has taught the children from the village about the endemic species of the Lembeh Strait – not just underwater but on land too. The attitude of the villagers has changed from one of taking for granted their natural environment to one of gratitude and appreciation for their surroundings. There is now a “buzz” which Helen has generated within the village for sustainability and previously socially acceptable practices such as dropping plastic or litter are now frowned upon.

Helen has worked with the adults of the village – especially the women, through a series of workshops, teaching ways of upcycling used plastics into sale-able items – this has brought new industry and sources of income to the village which is exciting for all.

Helen is also an English teacher at the village Sunday School and head of the children’s choir. The children’s choir performs almost weekly at Lembeh Resort and donations from guests are used to further the aims of the Lembeh Foundation and to provide much-needed school supplies for the village children. Helen has been a member of the team at Lembeh Resort since 2003 when she started working as a cooks assistant in the kitchen. After one year Helen worked her way up to becoming a cook and then later, as her English improved, went on to become one of the servers in the restaurant. Helen is now the restaurant supervisor, and she continues to impress us all not only with her bubbly smiles and a great sense of humor but also with her keen knowledge for details and her excellent organizational skills.

Helen now also loves to lead guests on village tours and treks to show off her local village, the Lembeh Foundation developments (including the trash bank and green library construction) as well as introducing guests to members of her local community.

Helen has managed to gain the support of key stakeholders in her village of Pintu Kota Kecil and the village continues to thrive and looks set to continue developing towards a brighter, healthier and more sustainable future.

Thank you to everyone on the Lembeh Foundation Team, especially to Helen for being such an inspiration and to Pak Ray (owner of Lembeh Resort) for his ongoing support and a HUGE congratulations to Helen for her Blue Green 360 Award – she certainly deserved it!

If you would like to help the Lembeh Foundation to continue to make a difference by developing our trash bank and green library (both of which are now under construction), it’s easy to make a donation by credit card. We will send you a credit form and a tax receipt once the funds have cleared so you can claim back tax.

You can contact us on via - thank you in advance - every dollar makes a big difference!

About the Author

Sarah Ann Wormald is a writer and PADI Master Instructor with a passion for underwater photography and conservation. Sarah is the author of “Diving in Indonesia” and “Diving in South East Asia” (Tuttle Publishing). With over 20 years of diving experience, Sarah has dived all over the Indonesian Archipelago and South East Asia.

Tagged: articles, helen pananggung, lembeh foudation

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