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Twanger
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:14 am    Post subject: Note Surgeon Fish

This is a lucky shot of a juvenile surgeon fish.
They rarely let me get this close.

Before our last trip I found a replacement Fuji F31Fd compact camera to fit the underwater enclosure I have.

My last camera developed a spot on the CCD, rendering it worthless.
These cameras have a loyal following, and even though they are many years old you will generally spend more than the original retail price to get them on Ebay.

Surgeon fish are so called because of the razor sharp barb on either side of the base of the tail.
They are quite prevalent in the BVI and generally run in schools, but you can also find them individually like this one.

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DawnB
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:22 am    

Nice photo! I never can get a nice shot...I have a Fuji w/underwater housing, and I haven't had much luck with it.

Mind you, the water is usually cloudy, I don't get that close to the fish, and it's not usually all that sunny.... Smile
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Twanger
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:28 am    

Thanks Dawn.
I spend much of my time in the water while snorkeling trying to get good photos of fish, coral, etc.

The thing that has helped me the most is snorkeling with a 10lb weight belt.
It makes me just slightly buoyant on the surface, but below about 5ft I become negatively buoyant so I don't have to work hard to stay down.

Prior to this I would have to grab a rock or piece of coral (bad) to hold myself down, and then I'd be floating up with my feet towards the surface.

The key is getting close and holding the camera still. The weight belt enables both.

Good light helps too. I have poor luck with the flash - it makes all of the particulates in the water pop out in the image. Photoshop can help get rid of them, but it's hard work.

Best to snorkel between 10am and 2pm.
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DawnB
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:33 am    

Yes, I hate the flash - had lots of great shots with spots on them! LMAO

I might try the weight belt thing...easier when scuba diving, but my case isn't rated for that depth, and I'm afraid of ruining it...

Looked at getting a higher end underwater camera, but until I'm down there enough to warrant the costs, I'll suffer.... Smile
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Twanger
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:38 am    

I snorkel down to about 30 feet, but that's rare.
It's hard to get good pictures that deep.
The light balance is way out of whack, and there's not as much light.
Generally the best shots I get are in 3-8 feet of water.

Photoshop is really good at restoring the light balance with the 'autolevels' command.

The plastic case for the F31Fd is rated to 150 feet. Far deeper than I care to go!
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Fred
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:39 am    

Very nice photo of the surgeon fish and his urchin friend in the background. I have never been able to capture good pics like this, but I also don't have the right equipment. Maybe I'll invest in it sometime.
Fred
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Twanger
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:44 am    

Fred - The underwater case is about $150, and you can generally get the F31Fd camera on Ebay for $200-$300.

They sell flexible 'cheap' cases for these cameras. Total junk.
This is what you want.

Case


Camera


So you're in for around $350 or a bit more for this set-up.
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sail2wind
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:44 am    

I have pretty good breath control and thirty feet is doable. Staying down long enough to take pictures would be difficult. I can pick up a dropped flipper and surface, but that's about it.
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Twanger
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:52 am    

It's close to my limit.

I have only about 5 seconds of breath at 30 feet before I have to head back up.
Then I have to spend a lot of time recharging my oxygen before diving again.
The weight really helps me get down there.

Nobody I've ever taken to the islands can even get close to 30 feet.

I have a buddy who is an ex US navy Seal, and his record is 188 feet!!!!
Those guys are like they are from a different planet!

My 9 year old granddaughter and I spent part of an afternoon at the Scrub Island swim-up bar seeing who could stay under the longest. It's easy to hold yourself under by pushing on the bottom of the bar-stool above your head. I'm much less buoyant in fresh-water, which helps stay down.

She got up to 33 seconds, which is pretty good for a 9 year old!
I can go almost a minute.
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kegoangoango
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:59 am    

Great pic.

I like the idea of the weight belt and will consider this next time.

I grew up swimming long distances underwater, holding breath, etc. I often go 20' to 30'. I doubt I can do it now, but my best is just under 4 minutes with no activity and 50 meters swimming. Swimming naturally takes more oxygen than just floating. Seals are from a different planet! they are truly amazing.
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Twanger
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:01 am    

Thanks!

Four minutes! Wow!
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sail2wind
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:14 am    

However, those deep dives are assisted and not really free dives. Deep divers use heavy weight contraption that shoots them down deep fast.
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Twanger
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:53 am    

Evan, that's true of the guys that are going for the records, which is insanely deep - 300-400 ft.

I believe my buddy got down there on his own power. I'll have to ask him to be sure though.
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sail2wind
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:19 pm    

wow, you are right I looked it up, 100M is the record for unassisted free dive, holding his breath for 4 min 10sec
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kegoangoango
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:10 pm    

sail2wind wrote:
wow, you are right I looked it up, 100M is the record for unassisted free dive, holding his breath for 4 min 10sec


And I think the record when not doing anything is like 9 minutes.

(well, I just looked it up - 22 minutes!!! set last November - say it ain't so, sister!)
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Twanger
Link to this postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:21 pm    

22 minutes. Dang that's amazing.
After 4 minutes I would be dead.

I was talking to my Seal buddy about free diving, and he was saying that the biggest danger in free-diving is shallow-water black-out.

Hyperventilating reduces the partial pressure of CO2 in your body, suppressing the breathing reflex urge. As you go down to depth your body compresses and raises the partial pressure of oxygen in your blood-stream which fools you into thinking you don't need to breath. Upon return to the surface when you start to get close, the partial pressure of oxygen plummets due to the drop in pressure and you black-out and drown. Typically this happens only about 15 feet down or so.

I don't have the kind of self-control necessary to get the partial pressure of oxygen in my blood-stream all that low, and I'm a big chicken anyway, so I've never pushed it all that far.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shallow_water_blackout
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