Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Underwater Housing for Panasonic Gh2

I love my Panasonic Gh2 for video and for a lightweight camera when I am out biking or skiing and don't want to carry my big Hasselblad. It has excellent image quality and the video quality is superb. I just got certified as a PADI open water scuba diver and recently acquired an underwater housing for the Panasonic Gh2.  I have previously done underwater photography by putting  various cameras in an Ewa- Marine bag and snorkeling - this worked great with the Sea Turtles in Maui, but to get good underwater shots I think you need a proper housing and scuba gear. I have tried the various water proof pocket cameras but found the image quality lacking and they often are not really waterproof so I have ruined a few that way. We are headed to the Big Island of Hawaii in July so I wanted to get proficient with all this gear in hopes of getting some better turtle shots, and hopefully some colorful coral reef and dolphin shots as well. I purchased the 10 bar Gh2 Underwater housing from a very helpful company in Seattle called Optical Ocean Sales. I traded in the big dome port for a flat port that works well with the pancake 14mm lens and makes the system less bulky. I am still in the testing phase for this equipment but as soon as I have some new underwater images I will post them here. My next dive will likely be in the clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe - but I need to let the waters there warm up a bit before I take the plunge!

Sea Turtle Shots from Maui

Turtle 4 Photo
Sea Turtle Photo

Turtle 2 Photo
Sea Turtle Photo

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Release in Color and BW : Ocean Stones, Mendocino, & Link to OP Article

I have just returned from a trip to the Sonoma / Mendocino coast in Northern California. This is one of the most amazing places on Earth and is not as well known as Big Sur, but every bit as spectacular. It is very quiet and uncrowded compared to Big Sur. We hiked down to a place called "Bowling Ball Beach" and were the only people there during a rare sunny sunset (usually it is fogged in here). I had been wanting to photograph this area for a while since I had seen other images and really liked the unique smooth boulders in the ocean. I used a 3 stop ND filter to create very long exposures (20 seconds plus) to turn the movement of the waves into a soft mist around the boulders. I am releasing this image in both color and BW since I think it lends itself to both formats. I used the new Silver Efex pro 2.0 for my BW conversion. I love how this new software has many presets that allow you to quickly see how the image will look with many different conversion options, making the final conversion very precise and effective. The image is a stitched panorama done in Photoshop CS5.

Ocean Stones, Mendocino

Ocean Stones, Mendocino II

In other news, I am also very pleased to announce that I will be joining Outdoor Photographer Magazine as their new monthly columnist. I look forward to sharing my perspectives on landscape photography with readers. The current issue of OP has a feature story on my work - you can view it at this link:
My first article will appear in the July issue. 

I am also getting certified as a scuba diver to do more underwater photography - I will be doing a post soon on my new underwater photography setup with the Panasonic GH2.