Joining the scouts encourages youth to participate in new experiences and discover new things, and help them grow into confident, successful individuals. Over many years, Scouts Canada has inspired millions of youth through going on outdoor adventures and building lasting friendships. Adventure Sports is proud to be a part of making that happen.
For a while now we have hosted scout groups on our pool nights in Aurora, whether they are doing a Discover Snorkelling course with us, or have moved on to a Discover Scuba Diving course. We've had interested scouts come from Newmarket, Mount Albert, Bradford, Tottenham and many other areas to join us for a Monday night. The Bradford scouts have even booked a snorkelling trip with us this summer to Christian Island, which we're sure they will love!
In March, seven of the boys from the 1st Mount Albert Scouts Group began their Open Water Certification course with us. They will be finishing the course this summer, and then participating in a trip to Mexico in August. We think this is a great opportunity for them, especially since they are going to Akumel, which is known for it's turtles! They are hosting a Surf vs. Turf Dinner and Auction Fundraiser for their trip in a couple weeks, on April 26th. For more information, check out the flyer below, or check out facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1382371865200339/
We hope to continue to inspire a passion for diving and the underwater world with all of the future scouts that may take courses with us!
For my friends who are using Lightroom or ACDsee image processing software, you can adjust targeted colours using the Hue, Saturation and Luminance sliders! It helps to understand colour, so if you were not interested in colour theory in art class back in your highschool days, here is a little cheat sheet.
Your camera captures the colours Red, Green, and Blue, and your monitor displays colour by emitting light through Red, Green, and Blue phosphors. ALL the colours you see on screen are created by mixing these three colours in varying intensities.
The Colour Wheel
Simply put, each colour on the wheel is created by mixing equal amounts of the colour on either side of it. For example, equal parts of Red light and Green light will result in YELLOW. Really!
The colour directly opposite any colour on the wheel, represents its COMPLEMENTARY colour. If an image has a colour cast, you need to correctly identify the colour cast, and ADD its complimentary colour to neutralize it.
When we go diving, we notice significant colour loss in the scenery; Red, Orange, and Yellow light is filtered out of the water as we descend. This results in a very ugly colour cast that makes everything green or blue.
If you have a colour cast of green (diving at the local lake), then you will want to adjust the white balance sliders by adding its complementary colour - Magenta. If the colour cast is Cyan, add Red.
Sometimes colour correction of a subject or foreground results in undesirable colour in other parts of the photo, such as the shark picture at the top of this cheat sheet. The photo on the far left is direct from camera, the middle photo is the result of correcting colour for the shark (she was too green, so magenta/red was added), but this created a gross magenta colour cast in the water. It is so bad, that in the Hue slider, we adjust in the purple, sliding it to the left (toward blue), and blue to the left (toward cyan/green) to bring water back to blue.
The Hue, Saturation and Luminance sliders can be found in a panel together in Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw, and ACDsee Pro and Ultimate.
This is where understanding your colour wheel comes into play. Change specific colours by moving sliders left or right. This means that the blue background of an underwater image can be made greener or pinker. Keep an eye on the other colours of the photo to make sure nothing is going awry. If another aspect of the photo is being detrimentally changed at the same time, then you may need to make a more specific target by using adjustment brushes to paint an effect on only an area of your choice (that's a cheat sheet for another day).
Increase or decrease the brilliance of a specific colour in the photo.
Darken or lighten a specific colour in the photo. Watch the effect particularly around edges to make sure weird halos aren't being created.
by Jill Smith
What a WONDERFUL day! Our Adventure Sports Newmarket Scuba team of volunteer divers had the unique opportunity to assist the Roatan Reef Restoration (RRR) Organization, and the Coral Restoration Foundation today - divers stepped up!
Note: The Roatan Reef Restoration Organization is relatively new; they could use your support by liking and following their efforts on Facebook!
Tripp Funderburk of RRR, was a great teacher and team leader today, as we wet our feet in the world of coral restoration. If you are a scuba diver, you are probably aware of the decline of reef systems around the world, and already know how important they are to the health of our Earth. Both elkhorn and staghorn corals underwent serious declines in abundance in the 1970s and 1980s, and were listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act in 2006. This is an issue always near and dear to a diver's heart, so having the special opportunity to participate in this program meant a lot to all of us!
In March 2016, Subway Watersports and the Turquoise Bay Resort proudly began the work to install two new coral nurseries in Roatan in partnership with the Coral Restoration Foundation International (CRFI), a Florida-based non-profit organization.
This morning we were briefed on how to clean the coral in the nursery, followed by harvesting the coral from the "trees" on dive 1. For dive 2, we set out to "plant" our pieces of precious cargo! We were so excited!
We learned that the first priority was to clean algae and fire coral from the growing coral, and the second priority was to clean the strings holding them in place, followed by the tree structure itself. We were armed with scrub brushes and chisels for tough fire coral. It felt strange to be scrubbing the actual coral, and found that it is not an easy job to do!
Interestingly enough, since the coral nursery is sheltered from the elements somewhat by the reef system encircling the island, we found small baby species of many types of fish hanging around the corals. A juvenile sharp-nose pufferfish the size of my pinky, fought hard to stay close to the shelter of a coral bit growing on the tree Jenn and I were cleaning (the tree was shaking with all our scrubbing). Then we noticed a tiny fish hiding beside another coral(I'm guessing a juvenile fringed filefish according to my fish ID book); we almost missed it, because it looked like a small bit of debris (which was flying everywhere with our cleaning efforts)!
As Jen and I worked, Gil and Jim caught our attention and called us over to the elkhorn tree they were cleaning, to show us a very tiny elkhorn crab hanging out in a crevice of the coral. Over lunch, Jim explained he was scrubbing the elkhorn and thought it was dirt - until he realized he was chasing it all around the coral, and it was NOT dirt, but a little crab! Jim reports that the little guy is clean and free of algae now!
After our surface interval, and a lively debriefing, we headed out to an area of the reef where the foundation planned to restore staghorn growth. The parent coral had been harvested from its natural habitat at about 40 feet, the pieces had been growing in the nursery at about 20 feet, so the plan was to "plant" them at about 30 feet, and hope they continue to grow. The program has seen a lot of success.
We were divided into 3 teams to work together to plant the corals in groups the size of a hoola hoop. We were armed with hammers and chisels. The idea is to find a place where the new coral seems to rest easily with natural stability, and at least 3 points of contact on the reef. Then we carefully chiselled and scraped away the coral in that section (about the size of an Oreo cookie) - this felt extremely wrong, because as you know, we try so very hard not to touch or disturb the reef, but it is important to clean an area at the point of contact so that the special epoxy used will stick and hold. We used a dollop of epoxy about the size of a Hershey's kiss to "glue" the coral points of contact to the reef.
It was very amusing to watch the behaviour of the resident fish on the reef we were working on. Little Rainbow wrasses and Blue headed wrasses were almost in our way as we worked. I guess the cloud of stuff that churns up as we chisel contains a great deal of food for them. They seemed pretty happy and excited about our work. The damsel fish, however, was very angry. We were building near its house, and it was mad about it. After our team planted the last bit of coral for our section, we were observing our handiwork (semi) proudly, and didn't that little stinker come out of its hole, all aggressive-like, knock one of our corals over, and dart back in its hole!
But we did it! We did a small thing to help our ocean, and it was THE. BEST. DAY. EVER!
Group Flickr Album
by Jill Smith
First time with my new macro lens in Bahamas this November! For me, preparing for this “macro trip” meant reading article after article on tips for underwater macro photography. The images online are stunning, and these pros make it sound easy. Now that I have completed my first trip attempting to implement their tips and techniques, I assure you, it is not. It is my humble opinion that underwater macro photography is the MOST DIFFICULT kind of photography that exists (Perhaps others know better, but I am skeptical). It’s like trying to take a photo of erratically moving subjects at night in a snowstorm while you are floating and unstable; this is a photography challenge on steroids.
I have to admit, mine is not the ideal set up. I am using a 90mm macro lens with a Sony A6000 mirrorless camera with Nauticam housing, which is great, but I am using my macro lens with a dome port. Why? I was too lazy and cheap to order the port that goes with my macro lens, and thought I would experiment and decide for myself if I really do need the proper macro port. After a week of using it this way, I am now considering (but still undecided) the flat port for my macro lens for three reasons:
Above: A Yellow-line Arrow crab catches one of the bloodworms that is swarming my video light and eats a late dinner.
The other equipment factor that affects my success, I think, is my lack of strobes. I am using two video lights mounted on arms, so I do have the ability to adjust lighting position, but it is next to impossible to sneak up on a fish with these bright lights shining in their eyes. Then again, I found them to be very beneficial on the night dives, when photographing coral banded shrimp, or yellowline arrow crabs, for example – they are attracted to the blood worms swimming around my video lights, and scramble out to catch them for dinner (win win!). The big advantage to having strobes versus video lights, is that if I set strobes for “through the lens” (TTL) metering, I can pre-set my aperture and shutter speed, allowing the strobes to adjust their output to accomplish proper exposure. There is an additional advantage to this, obviously, as constantly dialing in new f-stops and shutter speeds detracts from my reaction time to photo opportunities.
Aperture - Ideally, though there are exceptions to the rule, my goal is to keep the aperture small, f8 to f22 at least, to give me the depth of field I need when I am very close to my subject (the trade-off is the diffraction distortion that occurs at high f-stops, but I will have to content myself with a post-processing sharpen to aid in minimizing this effect). My next priority is to keep the shutter speed fast – as fast as 1/200 or higher. This is desirable for two reasons: the first is that I want to freeze any movement to keep the subject sharp, and the second is to manipulate the background colour. The slower the shutter speed, the more ambient light is a factor in the background, often contributing to washed-out images with low contrast. A faster shutter speed results in your subject being illuminated primarily by your strobes or video light, rather than the ambient light, and further contrast is created as the background darkens to dark blue and even black, depending on just how fast the shutter speed is set. This is far easier to do with macro photography, as we are naturally close to our subject, and much more challenging with wide angle photography, as light falls off so quickly underwater with every foot of distance.
Caribbean Reef Squid at night – this fella was interested in his reflection in my dome port, but I struggled to get him in sharp focus as he fluttered about. The image is flawed, as his eyes are out of focus, but the value for me is in the memory, as I loved meeting this fella. So I will just have to try again should the opportunity arise.
I am still experimenting with placement of lights, but I generally try to keep them at the 10:00 and 2:00 position, closer to my lens than I would for wide angle photography. Sometimes this is difficult to maintain, as coral formations may obstruct lighting in some cases. I have learned to accept that sometimes you have to “swim” away from a subject in search of a more ideal subject and setting.
Everything I have read about underwater macro photography, advised, “Get close to your subject. When you think you are close enough, get closer…” This proved to be a helpful tip for me as I photographed the face of a large Southern stingray at close range. I knew I wanted to be close, and creeping in slowly, I took a shot before each “incremental creep”, in anticipation of subject desertion, but he was very cooperative. I took several shots, and as I started to turn back to join my buddy Annie, I remembered “the rule” of getting closer. So I turned back to the ray, and really got closer for a couple more shots. Interestingly enough, the last shot I took of his face is the shot I love the best!
The eyes have it. One of the biggest rules of macro photography is that if nothing else is in focus, make sure the eyes are. As I said, I am using the auto-focus feature, and while I am struggling with light placement, exposure, and my own buoyancy, not to mention a critter that may or may not be a cooperative subject, it is very difficult to ensure the eyes are in focus on a tiny fellow. With a new port for my macro lens in the budget for next year, and a focusing gear for manually adjusting, my focussing results may improve. But then, the proof is in the putting, isn’t it?
While I generally would like to have my aperture very small (f8 – f22 or more) to ensure adequate depth of field on tiny marine friends, there is something to be said for a large aperture, and allowing a great deal of the image to be out of focus; distracting backgrounds can be blurred away to draw the eye to your subject's eyes, transforming a mundane and ok image, to spectacular. I doubt I will be attempting this feat until I have more control over my focus controls, though!
This part is a great deal of fun, and it helps a lot when your dive buddy has sharp eyes (thanks Anne)! I found that this dive trip with my new macro lens was a completely different – and rewarding – experience than other dive excursions. Rather than swimming along looking for large animals, I found we were slowly inspecting the coral formations and finding little things that we have never seen before! It was amazing! Now I keep an eye out for cleaning stations in hopes of capturing images of this kind of animal interaction, as these tiny guys are so interesting!
At night it seems easier to find the small things. Stephen and I approached the base of a coral formation, and tucked our lights in close – the blood worms immediately start swarming our lights, and we soon saw the waving antennae of a coral banded shrimp coming out to pluck a blood worm for dinner!
On another night dive, I found if I “scanned” the black open water around me by sweeping my light side to side, I could find other small things in the open water. One of these was the small squid already mentioned, but also I found a couple of very, tiny jellyfish – no bigger than the tip of my pinky. My camera simply could not focus on this tiny creature, and this is the best I could manage. I think perhaps I would have been better off to try and get my finger in the shot beside it for focusing purposes. All the same, he was pretty cool to see!
Now I am in the habit of looking around the base of vase and barrel sponges, searching for the tell-tale antennae of the cleaner shrimp, and inspecting the branches of coral and sea fans for nudibranchs. We have an Indonesia trip coming up in 2019, and are currently researching the best places to find little critters there. For instance, beautiful Coleman shrimp can sometimes be found living with their mate on fire urchins. Emperor shrimp will hitch a ride on a sea cucumber (the TTC of the sea, apparently), to safely travel from one coral head to another, but also to snack on parasites that live on the skin. Pearl fish actually live in the anus of the sea cucumber for safety, so we will be checking out that little crevice as well. Harlequin shrimp can be found living on blue starfish, and so on and so on… Isn’t it amazing!?? Love it all!
MY biggest challenge is that I am a chronic “rusher”. I rush at everything, so going slow is totally counter-intuitive to my very essence. It’s a wonder that Jody and I are even married to each other, as his “M-O” is the antithesis of my hurrying nature. But I digress…
And check this out for "cool" - So many of my images hold much more than I ever realized when I took the photo initially! The title image at top of this clinging channel crab, has so much more detail than I ever noticed...until, that is, I was editing the shot:
1. The eyes of this crab are stunning! They are yellowish and speckled, and completely gorgeous, but I never saw that until I was adjusting the contrast of the file.
2. The yellow ball between the eyes might be a coral egg? Hey, if you KNOW that to be true or untrue, could you please add a comment? I'm pretty sure it is, but you never know...
3. The black blobish things on the crab could be some kind of organism, but I don't know what. At least not yet.
4. There appears to be some kind of soft coral (purplish) growing on its head. Could it be?
How did I miss all those cool details??!
And how delightful to have an opportunity to scrutinize these critters later!
Also, in the 5 minute video compilation we put together, I can see a yellowline arrow crab on a coral head that a large clinging channel crab is crawling around. It seems every time I watch, I notice something new!
And even in the image below, where I found a lettuce sea slug, I didn't notice the second one, just peeping around the corner! I love finding these new things!
Our Roatan scuba adventure is coming up in February, and we will all be trying to improve our shutterbug skills in an effort to come up with something even better! Can’t wait!