Archive for January, 2012

New Diving Photos

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I have been pretty slow uploading new photos, my bandwidth is still pretty limited so I try to do the uploads when it doesn’t come out of my own data cap (city library WLAN works reasonably well for this). Today I took the time to get some diving shots from recent dives online, these include Mornington Pier on 30th December, more Seadragons at Flinder’s Pier on 10th January and some Seahorses and fisheye lens shots under Rye Pier on 10th January. I have also updated the relevant posts with photo links.

I also reorganized the Diving section of my photo gallery. Albums are now split to a few different categories which should make browsing a lot easier. Unfortunately, the Gallery software ended up having some problems with these changes. At the moment the only visible issue is the lack of album cover for Finland dives, but I need to see how to fix it anyway as there might be some other problems in the long run.

Walking along Port Phillip Bay

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Yesterday evening I spent several hours walking along the Port Phillip shoreline with my camera. I started from Brighton Beach and ended up in Mentone, a total trip of roughly 13 kilometers on the map, bit longer in practice as I did quite a lot of backtracking and walking on small windy paths. Most of the shoreline along the two is beaches, with some occasional cliffs as well. This was a continuation of an earlier walk when I covered the section between Elwood and Brighton.

It was a windy and cloudy day so beaches were not that packed. I spent way too much time taking funky fisheye shots with the new Tokina, but there were some more traditional photo opportunities along the trip as well. The highlight of the trip was perhaps HMAS Cerberus, a monitor class warship scuttled near Half Moon Bay. The ship is 69 meters long and lies in shallow water with the upper decks visible above water. It used to be a popular diving site as well, but unfortunately after a structural collapse in 1993 approaching the wreck is no longer permitted.

There were also quite a few birds along the shore, including a large group of black swans. Additionally, the steep cliffs offered some cool photo opportunities. I was hoping for some impressive sunset shots as well, but unfortunately it was bit too cloudy for truly great photos.

 

Camping and Diving Weekend

Monday, January 16th, 2012
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I spent the weekend camping at Rosebud with MUUC. Rosebud is a popular camping destination on the Mornington Peninsula and reasonably close to boat ramps and shore dive sites on the eastern side of the Heads. Since we did a night dive in the Saturday evening and got up pretty early on Sunday, we didn’t actually spend that much on the camp site itself. And if you ask me, it’s not real camping when there are three different fast food restaurants and various shops right next to the camping area…

Diving itself was decent enough, our first dive on Saturday at Portsea Hole ended up a really short one. Apparently we missed the right spot and ended up with with pretty much nothing interesting to see. We aborted the dive quite early, bottom time was only 12 minutes. Instead, we moved to another area and did a pretty nice drift dive. The four of us hang to a rope and went with the current. The site was bit deeper than expected (max depth 26 meters) and our rope was little short, so things got little crowded at times. Still, a nice dive with interesting corals and decent variety of fish.

Tthe best dive of the day was definitely the night dive at Rye Pier, though. We ended up seeing lots of stuff, including more seahorses, different crabs (including really small baby ones) and even a blue-ringed octopus. While blue-ringed octopuses are not very aggressive, they are extremely venomous. A bite will lead to motor paralysis and respiratory arrest within minutes and can easily kill a human unless first aid and hospital treatment are quickly available. Incidents are quite rare though, and we had no problems either.

On Sunday we got up quite early, but due to various delays it took quite a while to actually get everything ready for a boat dive. Original plan was to visit the J4 sub again as some people missed it the last time. As we reached the Heads the seas were really choppy, though, and we ended up turning back. We did a pretty cool dive at Pope’s Eye  inside the Heads instead. With a huge variety of different fish species and some visits from seals, it ended up a really nice dive. There were also plenty of small jellies in the water, but apparently they are not really poisonous. I was still little worried as I didn’t know that until after the dive.

Original plan was to do a total of three dives on Sunday. I ended up skipping the second one (Portsea Hole again, apparently they found the correct site this time) and spent the time on the shore instead. Unfortunately, due to delays in the morning we ended up calling the day after the boat came back, and I only got to do that one dive on Sunday. Luckily the weather got really nice during the day, a welcome change after a cool and rainy week.

A pretty good weekend of diving, even though the photos didn’t turn out so well. I’m also still having trouble with Tokina fisheye and strobe placement, lightning for most shots (especially for night dive) ended up pretty bad. I was planning to give strobe diffusors a try, but forgot to put them on. That’s something to remember for the next dive trip! And as the zoom ring for the Tokina lens arrived by courier today, things should be quite a bit easier in with that.

#137 Pope’s Eye 2012-01-15

Sunday, January 15th, 2012
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#136 Rye Pier 2012-01-14

Saturday, January 14th, 2012
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#135 Boarfish Reef Drift 2012-01-14

Saturday, January 14th, 2012
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#134 Portsea Hole 2012-01-14

Saturday, January 14th, 2012
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#133 Rye Pier 2012-01-10

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
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Flinders Pier and Rye Pier

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
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Today I headed out with Alex and Joey for a day of shore diving, this also gave me a chance to test my new lens. We did two pretty nice dives during the day, dive sites were Flinders Pier and Rye Pier. We ended up skipping the night dive though, as seas got quite rough in the evening and wetsuit divers were getting pretty cold from chilly weather and occasional light rain. No big deal, we’ll do that at a later date.

First dive was at Flinders Pier, we were there pretty much only to take more shots of weedy seadragons. We hit high tide pretty nicely, so far so good. Unfortunately there was some swell and visibility wasn’t that great, but conditions were still much better than last time. It took a while to see our first seadragon, then we started meeting more of them and finally there were lots around us. So lot of targets to photograph, though swell made things bit tricky at times and I’m still waiting for that perfect seadragon shot. I brought my 60mm macro lens for this one as using the new fisheye would have been kinda pointless when only interesting target down there was the seadragons.

Second dive was at Rye Pier, the site was bit of an unknown and we didn’t have a clear picture of what to expect. Spirits were little low as we entered water as people were feeling wet and cold after some rain. Things changed underwater though, it was a really superb dive and we ended up seeing lots of different stuff. We met lots of seahorses (first ones for me!), several crabs doing cool stuff and even a large stingray. I missed the last one, but all in all it was a very nice dive with lots to see and great conditions; vis was good and there was no swell. It was easily the best shore dive I have done in Victoria so far.

Most of the cool stuff we met in Rye was quite small, so my Tokina was bit wasted on this one. I did get some nice wide-angle shots of divers and the pylons though, so it wasn’t a total loss. Really need to do a second dive there with a macro lens though. Even if the lens wasn’t a perfect match for the site, it definitely has great potential with good subjects as long as vis is at least decent (like on this dive). Using strobes with the lens can be quite tricky though, it’s very easy to get hot-spots with a lens as wide as this. And my efforts at close-up shots didn’t end so well, but that’s at least partially caused by the fact that I don’t have the zoom ring yet (found a cheap one though and already ordered!), so I was stuck at the widest setting of 10mm for the whole dive.

Definitely bringing this lens along for all dives with a good chance of seeing some bigger stuff!

#132 Flinders Pier 2012-01-10

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
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