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COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Tue Oct 26, 2021 10:01 am
by Max Bottomtime
Our annual trip to God's Pocket was a bit more difficult this year. Delayed a year because of the pandemic, we were only allowed into Canada if we were fully vaccinated and had a negative COVID test within 72 hours of travel. We also had to get a negative test to return to the U.S. The Border Patrol agent at the Vancouver airport even tried to get us to pay a tariff for our camera housings. Merry dealt with him until he let us slide. It was as if we were trying to get into Cabo San Lucas.

Masks were required inside the dive boat, and we had to show proof of vaccination and drivers' license to go into the restaurants in Port Hardy. Other than that, most things were familiar. There were some improvements made to the resort since our last visit. Water pressure and plenty of hot water in the shower were a great surprise. A new membrane system on the boat provided consistent 32% nitrox in every fill. We didn't have to haul several K-bottles up the ramp after the trip.

The crew was excellent. Captain Al is the most experienced captain, having trained many of our previous captains. Suze was the hardest working Divemaster/Deck Boss I've met. We never had to wait for our cameras or the elevator. Sage and Amber kept the resort running while we enjoyed the reefs. Meals were not what we were accustomed to at God's Pocket, but my palate was expanded. I'd never eaten kale, bull kelp, or Spätzle before.

We had rain-soaked dives the first week. Swells and wind kept us from reaching the further sites, but we found plenty at the old familiar ones. The second week had a bit of wind, enough to cancel our boat dives on the final day. Al and Suze worked the elevator while we made day dives in God's Pocket Bay, another treat.

I went hiking to Harlequin Bay during one of the rare breaks between the rain. After returning from the bay in record time, I decided to continue on the trails to the west end of God's Pocket Bay. The trails were washed out in a few areas and I missed the switchback to the resort trail. I spent the next two hours climbing the upper trail three times before finally finding my way home. I was hot, muddy, and embarrassed when I got back to our room.

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More photos from the trip are at https://www.flickr.com/photos/southern_ ... 0059646278.

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Tue Oct 26, 2021 12:54 pm
by YellowEye
Great photos Phil!
Great to meet you and great diving with you!
Hope to see you in Jan!

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 10:43 am
by ktuli
How are you achieving those black field shots of the nudibranchs with the reflections?

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 11:23 am
by SEAriously
Tim has already purchased a scrying mirror to try and recreate some of these shots! Browsing online witchy stores is something he never pictured himself doing. 🤣🤣

You really have that technique down! They look like they're in a photography studio!

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 2:16 pm
by Max Bottomtime
I got mine on Amazon. I've used obsidian stages for a few years but didn't know about the polished ones until a few months ago. I had to look up the word scrying. :)

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 2:19 pm
by Max Bottomtime
I sweep the nudi from the substrate, catch it on the stage, and wait for it to grab on. I turn the stage to get a good angle, rest the end of the port on the stage to reduce camera shake, look up to get a black background, and have my strobes pointed inward and turned down. Once I have good focus, I sometimes pull the stage downward to make the cerata and rhinophores point upward.

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These were both shot while pulling the stage downward. I try to get what I call "showing the animal in its best light". Some people complain that it doesn't look natural, but I like the studio effect. It's different than most of the photos out there.

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 2:36 pm
by SEAriously
Max Bottomtime wrote: ↑Thu Oct 28, 2021 2:16 pm I got mine on Amazon. I've used obsidian stages for a few years but didn't know about the polished ones until a few months ago. I had to look up the word scrying. :)
Maybe you can train the Nudi's to tell the future next!

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:03 pm
by ScubaJess
Fantastic report! It was so much fun diving with you guys!!! 🥳❤️🇨🇦🖖📸👽✨ I hope we can see you again soon!

So glad Mary was able to talk to those agents and works some magic! That's so crazy they tried to tax you. Also so glad you made it back from your hike safe!!! 🤗 :luv: :partydance:

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 8:50 am
by ktuli
Thanks for the info. I definitely see both arguments - photographing the animal in its natural environment is good, but also eliminating the background so you can focus purely on the animal is a good way to eliminate distractions/confusion. Both have their value. I can certainly see the argument about not disturbing the animal at all, but you're technically doing that already by firing strobes in its face, so... :) I think as long as you don't harass the animal, cause it undue stress (like making a nudibranch lose cerata would not be acceptable to me), it is probably ok.

Can you share a photo of this "stage" you talked about? I'm trying to get an idea on what kind of size you're talking about if you say you rest the port on it for the shot.

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 9:10 am
by ktuli
Nevermind - I found them on Amazon. Looks like they're only about 3-4" in diameter from what I'm seeing. I'm guessing you're shooting with some diopters to get the port that close to the subject?

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 12:42 pm
by Max Bottomtime
I bought a seven inch disc. They are heavy and sail when you drop them. :(
I dropped mine on its initial dive. I didn't see where it fell, but a buddy did. It went into a crack at 90 feet that was about a foot away from my outstretched hand. I had to remove a fin and use it to bring the stage back to me.

I later added a couple of strips of non-skid tape so I can grip the stage with slick drygloves.

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Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 1:57 pm
by ktuli
Very cool - thanks for the visuals on that so I can get an idea of what I'd be working with. I wonder if you could put it on a drill press and drill a small hole in it to be able to put a lanyard of some sort on it to keep it from taking off if you drop it.

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 8:02 pm
by Max Bottomtime
I thought about that. It's a stone, not glass, so it might work.

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Sat Oct 30, 2021 11:09 am
by insomniac
It is like a glass/rock hybrid. I would think something like this would be sufficient:

https://www.bluewaterphotostore.com/GoP ... -ATBKT-005

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Sat Oct 30, 2021 11:35 am
by Max Bottomtime
I tried a small suction cup but it slides right off when it gets wet.

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Sat Oct 30, 2021 1:51 pm
by insomniac
That's why you need that 3m super adhesive technology :calvin:

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Sat Oct 30, 2021 5:20 pm
by Max Bottomtime
You can take the girl out of Minnesota...

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2021 1:50 am
by sabrisi
Very cool! Thanks for sharing - especially the additional info on your nudi studio setup!

Re: COVID-Delayed Annual God's Pocket Report

Posted: Mon Dec 06, 2021 8:14 pm
by Gdog
Very cool!!