Tuesday, 22 July 2008

IN Depth - Fiji - DIVE Rest of the world

IN Depth - Fiji

For British divers, Fiji represents the ultimate escape: it lies some 2,000 miles northeast of Australia and 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

For British divers, Fiji represents the ultimate escape: it lies some 2,000 miles northeast of Australia and 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. That's about as far from Britain as it is possible to be, but the journey is not as punishing as you may believe - two sets of ten-hour flights via California or the Far East, and you're there. The question is… where are you going to stay? The most important thing is to choose a resort or boat where the diving programme suits you. Simon Rogerson reports on some of the establishments available to visiting divers, each with its own distinctive character

The Great Astrolabe Reef

Some of the most spectacular hard-coral formations in the world can be found along the Great Astrolabe, an immense barrier reef that protects the southern and eastern shores of the Kadavu island group. Diving here can be challenging, as the channels between the reefs and the outer sea can be subject to fast currents and heavy swell. Still, the reef diving is of the highest standard, and there is still scope for discovery.

One of the more mellow attractions in this area is Fiji's 'other' big animal dive, Manta Reef. The reef starts at 12m and drops down to about 26m on either side, but you only really need to go deep for the first few minutes, to allow the mantas to get used to your presence. They tend to occupy the top of the reef, and move away if you invade their territory too early in the dive. Mantas visit this reef regularly to socialise, feed and be cleaned - and local operators at Matava dive resort claim a 70 per cent success rate in finding them. DIVE saw between two and six rays here over six successive visits, but they are quite shy and should be approached with maximum caution, lest they depart.

Elsewhere, the Astrolabe has some thrilling drift dives, where you can encounter unusual 'up' currents, which send you swirling up the water column by four or five metres before spitting you out. It's more frustrating than dangerous, but it does add to the thrill of diving these waters. Typical Fijian soft coral sites are on offer every day, but visitors should ask to dive Big Point, a new site discovered by the guys at Matava. This is a hidden reef promontory that extends outwards from the main reef, far into the open Pacific. It has semi-resident schools of jacks and barracuda, but it is fast acquiring a name as a place for unexpected encounters - whale shark and mobula rays were both present during DIVE's visit, to the amazement of local divers who say such creatures are 'never' seen on the Astrolabe.

We have little hesitation in recommending Matava resort as a base for diving the Great Astrolabe and Manta Reef. It's a small eco-resort on Kadavu Island run by three friends; with some of the friendliest staff we have found anywhere. There is no road network to speak of in Kadavu, so it's a 50-minute ride by fast boat to the resort. Once you're there, the concerns of day to day life just melt away - the burres or huts are set against a hill with panoramic views of the Great Astrolabe and a small island just offshore (ideal for kayaks and snorkelling).

The owners are a laid-back bunch, but the place is extremely well run and has a very homely feel; it's like becoming part of a very cool family who spend all their time diving and drinking Kava. To stay at Matava is to experience Fiji at its most alluring."

IN Depth - Fiji - DIVE Rest of the world

Friday, 18 July 2008

Glossary of Difital Photo terms

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anti-aliasthe technique of minimizing the distortion artifacts known as aliasing when representing a high-resolution signal at a lower resolution
Royalty freea term stock photography agencies use to denote that an image is licensed for multiple use. Usually a eupemism for shots the agency can't sell. Avoid this like the plague!
rights manageda term stock photography agencies use to denote that an image is licensed for one specific use only
flash/blurshots where long exposures are mixed with flash
model releasea document allowing reproduction rights
vizunderwater visibility - arguably the most important factor for underwater photography
snoota funnel shaped tube placed over the flash head to direct the light
HIDHigh intensity discharge lights
close-upPhotography of smaller subjects (larger than macro) shot close, typically six inches from the lens reproducing greater than 1:3
vignettingcropping of the corners of the frame. If unintentional, it is due to a misaligned lens or port.
hosepipeshoot everything in sight!
negative spacea compotional term to describe neutral space used to isolate and emphasise the subject
Lead linesusing lines as a compositional device to lead the eye into the subject
post-productiona euphemism for editing in a photo manipulation program. An excuse for sloppy work e.g. 'we'll fix it in post!'
rangefindera simple window in the camera or accessory on top that approximates the coverage of the lens for framing composition
Filla second flashgun should be used to fill-in the shadows caused by the main strobe and should therefore be less powerful
Inverse Square LawThe quantity of light falling on a subject is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source
exposure latitudethe extent to which a light-sensitive material can be over or underexposed and still achieve an acceptable result
luminancephotometric measure of the density of luminous intensity in a given direction. It describes the amount of light that passes through or is emitted from a particular area, and falls within a given solid angle
Ambient Lightnatural light from the Sun
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Glossary of Difital Photo terms

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Google: Don't promote products obtained from endangered or threatened species.

Policy Home > Text ads > Content > Endangered Species

Don't promote products obtained from endangered or threatened species.

Advertising is not permitted for products obtained from endangered or threatened species. This includes, but is not limited to, the sale of products derived from elephants, sharks, tigers, whales, rhinoceroses, or dolphins.

Google AdWords Help Center


From: "Deanna Yick"
Sent: Tue, 15 Jul 2008
Subject: update re: AdWords policy

Hi John,

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to share the news that Google AdWords has implemented a new policy regarding endangered or threatened species, including sharks. This has been updated on our content policy page, which you can view here:
Google AdWords Help Center

Please let me know if you have any questions, and thanks again for your patience as our policy team worked through the process of evaluating and implementing this policy.


Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Matava Resort, Fiji By Alex Arpino

Great video by Alex.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Introducing MISS-SCUBA.com

New website designed exclusively for FEMALE divers

Hello from Miss-Scuba.com:

In the six months that we've published female-friendly travel information, we've received wonderfully encouraging notes from around the world. Thank You! We felt encouraged and implemented a few new features. We believe it will be to your liking.

First, we want to introduce FIND YOUR FEMALE INSTRUCTOR, STORE OWNER, GEAR EXPERT OR DIVE BUDDY AROUND THE WORLD! Here you can find information about girls from all over the world. We had several requests to introduce dive girls to each-other as one from LA was traveling to Costa Rica, read a story about it at out web site, and wanted to contact the author with further questions. From now, you can post your contact info as well as a link to your website, if you have one. Please link back to Miss Scuba in that case. Just drop me an e-mail! See who is there already at http://www.miss-scuba.com/szilvia_web_aboutus.html

Next, we call for entries for our first monthly Photo Contest. Let us showcase your work! We invite you to submit your favorite image to our competition. The subject: FEMALE DIVERS One entry per person please, so pick your best one! The grand prize winner will receive an Xcel rush-guard with UW protection and the latest Atomic Frameless mask.

We ask again for your most inspiring travel stories to SHARE YOUR FABOLOUS TALES with other girls from all over the world. The Number One submission in July will receive a really practical Ikelite flashlight and a travel valet. Send stories that might make us cry or laugh, just make it unique and informative! If you have a picture to go with it, even better! See samples at http://miss-scuba.com/szilvia_web_journeys.html

There are great new TRAVEL TIPS from readers all over the world (including how to avoid ending up without swim wear at your long awaited vacation). Share your travel tip and win a Miss Scuba t-shirt! http://miss-scuba.com/szilvia_web_tips.html

FORWARD THIS NEWSLETTER TO JUST ONE MORE WOMAN! If you DO forward this newsletter to someone, please CC us in it, so she can receive our next Newsletter as well and you automatically enter to win. We will pick ten of these emails at random; winners will each receive a red DAN luggage tag. Please do it right now so you won't forget!

Enjoy, everybody! Looking forward to see your pictures and add your stories to Miss Scuba!

Szilvia Gogh

PS: I am forwarding a request: Ladies Only scuba diving trip aboard the Utila Aggressor July 26 - Aug 2, 2008. $1700 Retail value $2195 Air Fare NOT included; additional $370 plus tips due on board at end of charter. Must be in San Pedro Sula by 2:00 p.m. July 26. Return flight to the US should be booked after 10:30 - 11:00 a.m. on Aug 2. Releases required.

Includes: on board lodging, double occupancy; up to five (5) dives per day Sun-Thursday, max 2 dives Friday; all but one meal, morning and afternoon snacks. Trip insurance available for additional charge. Contact Patty at plseery@hotmail.com or call 315-641-1861

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Matava Featured in M2 Magazine

July - M2 - Issue 38

Matava was recently featured in Mel Lowen's article in M2 Magazine in New Zealand.

See pdf:

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Download here pdf of M2 Magazine

Matava Featured in M2 Magazine

3rd Annual Wetpixel and DivePhotoGuide International Underwater Photography & Video Competition


Over $50,000 in Prizes!
Popular websites Wetpixel.com and DivePhotoGuide.com have teamed up again in association with Our World Underwater to celebrate the beauty and delicacy of the marine environment with the announcement of the 3rd annual, international underwater photography and video competition. The competition has become the “Superbowl” of international underwater imagery competitions, with world-class prizes, celebrity judges, and the opportunity to have your images showcased to the world as some of the planet’s best.

Photographers & videographers will compete in seven still-image categories and two video categories, to win more than $50,000 in prizes including premium dive travel, underwater photo/video and diving equipment and more! Dive packages include trips to some of the top photo destinations in the world, including Socoros Islands, Wakatobi-Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Ambon-Indonesia, the Red Sea, Grand Cayman, the Solomon Islands and Vietnam! Other prizes include camera housings, strobes, lighting systems, and other valuable items. The competition includes a category for images that focus on conservation and the marine environment, and one specifically for entries taken by compact digital cameras.

Celebrity judges include leading professional underwater photographers, cinematographers and editors: Eric Cheng, Berkley White, Tony Wu, Ric Frazier, Chuck Nicklin. and Mary Lynn Price.

Winning images will be published by supporting media partners worldwide, and Divefilm.com will be podcasting the winning videos as episodes of the iTunes-featured DiveFilm Podcast Video and DiveFilm High Definition Podcast Video.
As with all Wetpixel & DivePhotoGuide events, 15% of proceeds will be donated to marine conservation efforts.

A) Still images
  1. Macro Traditional
  2. Macro Unrestricted
  3. SuperMacro Traditional
  4. Wide Angle Traditional
  5. Wide Angle Unrestricted
  6. Compact Camera
  7. Environment and Conservation
B) Video:

  • Underwater Video (General)
  • Underwater Video (Conservation)