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July 27, 2010

New Underwater Housing, Arms and Video Lights... Oh My!

Today's as close to Christmas as I'll ever get in August. My new Ikelite Canon 7D housing, 8 inch dome port and Ultralight arms finally arrived! As an added bonus, Light & Motion sent me two brand new SOLA600 video lights to review.

You know that dog you occasionally see standing outside the grocery store, fixated on the entrance, anxiously waiting for its owner to appear? Yeah, that was me this morning. Except I was waiting for the UPS guy.

Here's everything assembled...


What's the reason for the new rig you ask? I'm headed to Key Largo and Maui, where I'll write an article about shooting video with digital SLRs, a beginners guide to video lights, a review of the new SOLA600 video light and overviews of various dive sites.

I don't plan to post those articles until after I return at the end of August. However, I'll blog throughout my adventures... so keep an eye out for sneak peaks, first takes, photos and videos.

Posted by jroualdes at 06:06 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2010

Great Web Site for Underwater Videographers

I'm about six years late, but I recently discovered Vimeo -- an online community where filmmakers and video creators can share their creative work. Think YouTube, but with HD-quality video and social features that help you connect with your favorite videographers, track their work and view their favorite videos.

Here are a few underwater videographers whose work I've enjoyed:

- Howard Hall

- Claudio Valerio

- Eric Cheng

- Mike Elliott

I highly recommend you check out Vimeo if you're an aspiring underwater videographer, like myself, or simply enjoy underwater films.

Posted by jroualdes at 12:33 AM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2010

Farallon Islands Becoming a Popular Swim Hole

Karen Rogers, a 43-year-old Bay Area native, planned to swim 30 miles from the Farallon Islands to San Francisco Bay last Friday -- becoming the first woman and third person overall to do so. Strong winds and 12-foot waves forced her to abort the swim though early Friday morning.

Last month, a relay team attempted to swim from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge, but fell short when one swimmer became disoriented due to the 49-degree water.

While I admire Karen and the relay teams' attempts from a human endurance standpoint, the Farallones are a nutorious salad bar for large great white sharks -- especially this time of year. In fact, the first person to attempt the swim, Ted Erikson, reportedly swam within 50 feet of three great white sharks before they were scared away with gun shots from a support boat.

I realize sharks donn't intentionally attack people. However, if you willingly dive into their buffet, you become fair game in my book. I'm left asking myself... Is it worth the personal risk and the potential shark backlash from the public if one of the great white sharks mistakes Karen for a steller sea lion?

I don't think so. Do you?

Posted by jroualdes at 06:20 AM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2010

Great White Shark Warning Issued in Channel Islands

Last week, the National Park Service issued a great white shark warning around Santa Barbara Island in the Channel Islands -- a chain of eight islands located off the coast of Southern California that are popular among divers.

The warning said there have recently been three attacks on California sea lions by great white sharks -- one at the Santa Barbara Island Landing Cove and two offshore of Cat Canyon on the southeast side of the island.

When I teach PADI Open Water classes, students often ask me if there are great white sharks in Monterey Bay. While everyone knows the answer is “yes,” a lot of questions remain, like:

- Roughly how many great white sharks are in the bay?

- What percentage are male versus female or adults versus adolescents?

- Where are they located?

- Are great white shark numbers in the bay increasing or decreasing?

I’ve always wanted to provide students with a better response than “Yes, great white sharks are in the bay.” Prompted by this warning, I’ve contacted several great white shark experts, including representatives of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Great White Shark Project, to answer questions like the ones above and develop a post that sheds more light on great white shark behavior in the bay.

Stay tuned!

Posted by jroualdes at 05:14 AM | Comments (0)