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Welcome to my BlogBelow in the archives you will find a lot of different stories and photographs from my experiences traveling and living in the UK. Feel free to browse and enjoy.
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Tag Archives: 1 – Eva Marine Underwater soft housing for Sony VX2100E
Koh Lanta is pretty much shut down for the low season, however the water is still 30 degrees Celsius the sun shining and I managed to find a dive trip leaving today at 7.45am to one of the small uninhabited islands off of Koh Lanta. The island was called Koh Ha and had a very clear lagoon so I took my video camera in its housing and decided to get a few close up shots of the wonderful coral and sea life. At one point I came a bit to close to a black and white banded sea snake and managed to catch it on film. I do not like poisonous snakes, and for some reason recently I have been seeing lots of them flattened out as a result of them crossing the roads in the wrong places at the wrong times.
Technical note 1., the white balance on the video camera is a nightmare to set correctly because the water on the correct setting is deep blue and so is the coral and so are the fish.. a few experiments and I managed to get a white balance setting the worked well underwater but not at all above, it turned the sky and clouds red.. I think the sea messes with the red light rays on the RGB spectrum. (note to self; set white balance reading on the water surface)
Technical note 2., I was on a trip with 4 people taking various stages in their PADI openwater training. I was tagging along with a mask and snorkel and they were diving to depths between 18 and 26 meters. Since watching the Big Blue about 15 years ago a film about free diving I have always been fascinated by this activity. I have found whilst surfing large waves that one needs to be able to relax and hold their breath for sometimes a lot longer than desired when being held down in the exploding white water. However it is not how long you can hold your breath, rather how long you can stay underwater once you have had the wind knocked out of you on the way over, in and down.
Presently I am feeling fitter after surfing for 6 months solid and was curious to see how deep I could go on one breathe with fins, mask and snorkel so I borrowed one of the divers depth gauge wrist watches and swam to the deepest part of the sea I could find not too far from the boat. I managed 15.5/ 16metres on one lung full approx 45-50ft. This was pretty fun and I definitely felt slightly addicted to the idea of trying to get deeper each time. However this was the deepest part of the sea without swimming a lot further away from the boats anchoring. Because I was excited about having a depth guage for the first time I felt as though I wasnt really relaxed enough to freedive deeper safely. !6 metres and I definitely felt at the finite edge of sensible safe practice as I felt my lungs go into small spasms on the way back up, I ve also had a headache all afternoon.
So with practice I would like to try again one day, 20 metres I think is an achievable goal..
Technical Note 3. New dive masks have plastic coating on the inner lens surface and this means they always fog up even with lots of saliva or anti fog. I have been informed white toothpaste left over night on the surface dissolves this. I didnt do this and it fogged up all the time, this was driving me nuts..
Technical Note 4. Ewa Marine Underwater camera housings, I have a soft case for my Sony vx2100e made by this company, it is such a pain in the arse to use and not at all user friendly regarding the controls and on and off rec button. The camera slides about inside the bag and it really feels low tech and irritating to use, I feel it was also way overpriced for the small low tech piece of vinyl and bag clamp it amounts to. However the alternative was a 10kg hard housing which is no good either for traveling and also more costly so I am in mixed mines about underwater filming and photography and whether I want to do it. A humbling experience seeing how poor my filming was today upon playback, a few usable clips but mainly pretty bad so I have decided to blame my tools, or at least 85%!
Family stuff, I have been hanging out with my brother, his wife Moon and his daughter Kaliana. Also my sister natalie and her boyfriend Ian. This is the first time we have seen each other as a group for over ten years so I know its a positive time for us as a family.
Michelle left yesterday to go on her path as a English teacher in a Muslim school in Ranong. Admin wise as a result of internet access I managed to book a flight back to Bangkok for 17th June (Airasia.com) super affordable lots of promo deals. I have heard from two of my friends from Bristol UK Tim and Dan that they will be in Bangkok on the 20th.. So I moved my flight to be there for this. If they get there way this could get very debauched and messy so I am preparing my self control and self discipline muscles for the 3 days I will meet up with them..should be fun I am looking forward to it.
Little thieves on the Island drained all the fuel out of my moped the other night, this never happened in Bali in 6 month a Hindu community with a foundation based on Karma. Koh Lanta is a muslim based island, the prices are doubled in the low season and I am over charged every day by the locals for most purchases, except in 7/11.
So I reluctantly admit a score point to Industrialisation for bar codes and price regulation for all consumers, Predjudice segregation and racism sucks and it feels especially bad being seen as a walking dollar sign which is how I have felt amongst the shop owners here. So 7/11 for the next few days, the air con in 7/11 makes you want to go their just to stand in the shop…..
It is now 3 pm and I have managed to find an internet cafe nearby with a pretty good wireless connection so I am trying to get back to writing my blog more frequently than the last week or two. I have recently awoken as I went out last night, drank a whole bunch of vodka redbulls and woke up with my head in a cloudy hangover.
I have not really been drinking much alcohol over the last few years and it appears I have slipped into a small window of having a late night drink and a dance until the early hours. The surfers I have recently met are all super healthy living guys with the exception of Dougy, who is but as he is a London Boy through and through still likes a good night out in the West End of Kuta (Legian Street) Tiva Daka and Dan Johnson on the other hand are living examples of the christian faith in action and are clean and sobre putting their faith into the good Lord. It shows religiously, they are so committed to their cause, In bed by 10m then up at 5am on their mopeds in the dark in search of uncrowded waves. I have tried to step into this way of life but I just can not make the transfer. The evenings in Kuta are a lot of fun their are many people out, the clubs are free to get into and the atmosphere warm, sweaty and charged with energy..
Tiva, Dan and Toby are up before dawn then they come back after a surf, have breakfast then an afternoon sleep, this dedication shows in their surfing especially Tiva and Dan, they are super fit in the water, they can paddle into position to catch waves much quicker than almost everyone else in the sea and their wave count and number of rides is way higher than nearly every other surfer in the sea, most definitely mine..
Dougy is similar to me and likes to burn the candle at both ends occasionally, however it doesn’t stop him making the 5am surf or getting barrelled on his waves!!
I have not been surfing so well the last three days, early mornings are hard for me especially when the waves are powerful, hollow, fast and the reef is shallow, I got absolutely worked at a wave called Sri Lanka in Nusa Dua two days ago at 6am. As a result of gasping for air in the frothy white water I had an awaking of how easy it would be to drown when the waves step up a gear. To be honest I felt scared in the sea and was punished relentlessy wave after wave as I ended up in a rip current that pulled me directly into the impact zone of a set of 3 very heavy waves and was anhialated by each of them to the point of physical exhaustion. I was just glad to get out the sea after that and watch Dan absolutely hit up each large wave with speed and talented precision. Dan is a great surfer, it is good to see someone from England ride the waves as good as/ and on many occasions better than the Indonesian locals. I just feel a sense of pride for England and the talent it always seems to produce as a result of always having less than perfect conditions in almost every sporting field and event.
However yesterday at Serangan was a good day surfing for me, I managed the 6am surf trip and rode more waves than any previous day on my trip so far. I have got a different surfboard from another English man in Bali called Ado.
He is a great surfer and I have traded his spare surfboard for some cash and photography and video footage of him surfing. This should provide some good shots as Ado is a great surfer and likes big waves. He is also a trained lifeguard and has experience of tow-in surfing (being pulled into huge waves too big to paddle into with the aid of a jetski) Ado is a fit guy and pretty photogenic so we will see what shots we get there….The board I now have is 6ft2″ long a thruster that is high performance, narrow and lightweight. It is not very buoyant and when I sit on it in the water the board sits about 2 1/2ft below the sea with the water level by my armpits. This is a difficult board to learn on but it seems to feel more like my skateboard the way it turns and maneouvers through the water, so we will see what happens progresswise there.
Stomach is still good have not had any problems there so far and I have been eating street food and beach food that has been prepared in very questionable hygiene situations. I have however got both feet taped up with duct tape as I have scraped them on the reef in a bad fall where I was worked by three heavy waves in succession. The problem with open wounds in Bali/ tropical climates I have found is; 1. if you leave them uncovered during the night to try and let them dry out all the flies and mosquitoes have a little feast on your blood whilst you are asleep and you wake up with infected puss filled wounds that are sore and an angry shade of red. This is the difference between getting a cut in England. I still have open wounds on my knee from when I scraped it on the reef at Nusa Dua 4 weeks ago upo my arrival in Bali. However the duct tape is waterproof and seems to be protecting the wounds when I surf and is helping the healing proccess during the night. I have found taping some tissue paper to the wound helps them dry out and keeps the little creatures out.
I was having a lot of difficulty establishing a sleeping routine and was having sleepless nights quite frequently, due to mosquitoes and tropical thunderstorms which often happen during the evening. The thunder and lightning during a tropical thunderstorm is like nothing I have ever experienced, you feel a real chill down your spine as it feels like the lightning could strike the room you are in. It is that close and the air is that humid. It still rains here every few days but the showers are only for an hour or so and now seem to happen at night time. I have a a really noisy little gecko in my room that spend most of the night saying ECK OO ECK OO! extremely loudly.
I have discovered that getting reasonably inebriated on the odd occasion definitely helps me get a good night sleep if not such a great feeling in my head during the following morning.
Life here feels absolutely great when the sun is shining, but I still feel low in my spirit when it rains and is grey and cloudy. I have decided that I really would like to find a way to live here legally and financially support myself through my photography and other sources. Today I have looked into purchasing some underwater Housing equipment for my camera so that I can take photographs in the water. I have an underwater case for my video camera but it appears I am going to need one for my Eos 1ds mk2 if I am going to get the shots I desire. I just cannot get close enough to the action from and as many of the waves are breaking on reefs quite some distance a way. I have been doing my research on line and have found the housing most surf photographers use is made by an Australian company called Aquatech but the cost including lens ports is approx £2500 so it is a big investment. I am going to make that decision later today.
Below is a picture of all the photography equipment I have with me but it is looking like I will be needing to further add to it….
Camera Kit Bali,
1- Eos 1DS MK2 17mp Camera body
1- Canon Ef 70-200mm f2.8 Image Stabilizer Lens
1 – Canon Ef 16-35mm f2.8 IS mk2 lens
1 – Canon Ef 2X Extender
1 – Canon Chargers for info lithium
1 – Canon Ex580 Speedlight
3 – Canon Info Lithium Eos batteries
1 – Visible dust artic butterfly sensor cleaner
1 – Nikon Lens pen
1 - Sony VX2100E 3CCD Mini Dv Video Camera
1 – Sony Charger Info Lithium Batteries
1 – Sony 1.7 tele conversion lens VCL-HG1758 for VX2100E
1 – Eva Marine Underwater soft housing for Sony VX2100E
3 – Info Lithium batteries
8 – AA Nimh 2700 batteries and charger including car adapter
1 – Battery pouch / case
1 – Nikon Coolpix 510012mp camera and charger
1 – Pec pads and sensor cleaning solution and swabs
1 – Wind up Led torch
1 - Apple Macbook and charger
1 – Mouse
1 – Apple DVI converter
1 – Memory Card Reader
3- San Disk Extreme 3 CF cards 2x 2gb 1 x 8gb
2 – Waterproof bag
1 – Lowepro Computrekker Back pack
2 – 160gb Seagate 2.5″ SATA Harddrives in Icybox portable caddies
1 – 320gb Seagate 2.5″ SATA Harddrives in Icybox portable caddy
1- 80gb Seagate Momentus Harddrive in icybox portable caddy
1 – 8gb portable usb flash drive
This is what I need to complete the kit for underwater photography
Aquatech DV-4- MK11 Housing
This is just the body and I will also need 4 lens ports for different lenses so total will be about US $3500 so this is a big investment but there is no other way for me to get the shots I want as a photographer. If I am going to make this work out here I need equipment that will offer me the advantage, it is nt an easy decision as I could by land here probably big enough for a 3 bed house for 5000 us dollars or pay my rent and bike hir for over a year, Decisions decisions?