X-Ray Mag #95
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Main features in this issue include:
Exposure, Contrast & Curves
As always, the best thing to do is to get the proper exposure of your underwater images while shooting them. But sometimes this is easier said than done, and there are shots with insufficient exposure, which we, for whatever reasons, simply want to keep and “rescue.”
So, what is exposure? In photography, exposure is the amount of light that reaches your camera’s digital sensor, as determined by shutter speed, lens aperture and scene luminance. “Correct” exposure is an exposure that achieves the effect the photographer intended.
For the Love of Diving: Interview with Marissa Eckert
Thirty-four-year-old Marissa Eckert is a passionate full-time cave and technical diving instructor who co-owns Hidden Worlds Diving in Fort White, Florida, USA, with her partner, James Draker. When she is not teaching, Eckert enjoys traveling all over the world, exploring new places, hiking through the jungle and doing challenging new dives that help her grow and learn as a diver.
"Well, I would definitely say that diving is my life. I feel excited and happy to get up every day and go to work. I love what I do. I actually do not really feel that it is work . . . I feel fortunate that I get to do something that I love so much."
— Marissa Eckert
Front Row Seats for the Third Wave
In his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, historian Yuval Noah Harari traces the path left by Homo sapiens as our species spread over the world, causing the extinction of other human species and sub-species, and half of the planet’s big beasts. He describes the extinctions as happening in three waves.
The first and most critical wave took place as Homo sapiens foragers spread across the continents—causing a mass extinction as they went. Long before the wheel or writing was invented, half of the animal species on earth that weighed over 50kg were gone.
Japan's Izu Peninsula: Diving the Southern & Western Coasts
In just five years, Japan has seen its number of tourists grow by 20 million, and most of them visit the country to see the ancient temples, to experience the onsen hot springs, or to walk through the labyrinth of neon skyscrapers in its urban cities.
Izu, a large mountainous peninsula, has the largest number of dive sites on the mainland. This peninsula is a result of the Philippine Sea Plate colliding with the Okhotsk Plate at the Nankai Trough.
Kim & Kay Vaudin Portfolio
Mother-and-daughter team, Kay and Kim Vaudin, who are both divers and fine artists, often work together on canvases at their studio, Deep Impressions in the United Kingdom, to capture the dynamic effervescence and minute details of marine life as well as the sublime light and delicate ecosystems of the underwater world. X-Ray Mag interviewed Kim Vaudin to learn more about their artwork and their perspectives.
"As divers, we are extremely concerned about the state of our oceans, and in particular, the slaughter of headline species such as apex predators and manta rays . . .
Land of the Sumps: Cave Exploration in the Cerro Rabón
What a resurgence! I first saw this amazing resurgence in 2017.
Together with Katie Graham and Gilly Elor, we made use of some spare time we had and took the scenic tour to Huautla along the slopes of the picturesque Santo Domingo Canyon, home to several of the world’s deepest and longest cave systems (Sistema Huautla, Sistema Cheve and possibly multiple larg
Philippines: Wrecks of Coron
Being an avid wreck diver, Coron in the Philippines has been on my bucket list for ages. Having followed the underwater remains of the Pacific Theater World War II battles, I have found myself in some of the most beautiful places on earth, from the Solomon Islands to Truk Lagoon and many others. Coron is no exception.
Admiring my surroundings, I lost my breath for a moment when the walls of mangroves on either side seemed to open like a curtain to reveal a wide-open expanse of blue water and many green islands rising up from the water at different heights as far as I could see.
Psych Skills for Diving
We (humans, psychologists and divers) love to be able to put things into neat and tidy boxes. Even if we have a “freeform” mind and emotions, we still like to have something upon which we can ground ourselves—a base, if you like, that gives us just enough stability to cope with the stresses life throws at us.
The base is made up of certainties—that is, the things we have been able to put into the boxes and are confident we have in place—which are managed or manageable, or are irrelevant to us.
Shark Fishing: Can commercial shark fishing be sustainable?
With the loss of at least 90 percent of sharks worldwide, it would seem to be urgent to protect the ones that remain. Every global study of their status has reported a more dire situation than the last, and that the targeted hunt for the shark fin trade is responsible for their catastrophic depletion.
Shark fins are among the most expensive seafood products. The total declared value of the world trade in shark products is close to US$1 billion per year and it is associated with much illegal activity, including murder. To supply the trade, intense shark fishing spans all oceans.
Socorro: Big Animals at Mexico’s Revillagigedo Islands
Go, go, go! At our skiff driver’s urging, we slipped into the water as quickly and quietly as possible, in hopes of snorkeling with the pod of false killer whales that was hunting in the bay. Again and again, we attempted to intersect their path, but our timing or positioning resulted in views of them in the fleeting distance or not at all.
This was definitely one of the more exhilarating surface intervals I have ever experienced and an incredible bonus animal sighting on top of all of the manta rays, sharks, dolphins and huge schools of fish we had already encountered while diving. Welcome to big-animal paradise!