HD Dive Video, Philippines

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Posted by Dave on June 28, 2008 at 18:22:03:

Ok, so I figured out how to strip out some of the html code so just the video and title displays, so now that I've figured out how to embed vids here, I thought I would share with my fellow SoCal divers the very first video I ever shot, land or water. 90% of the footage shot on that Philippines trip was not usable, but the other 10% had animals that so amazed me I returned 3 weeks later to shoot some more. I am happy to report a much higher percentage is usable now, lol.

Anyway the footage opening thumbnail contains one of the animals that really fascinates me, the cuttlefish. Their method of camouflage is twofold in that they can instantaneously control their body texture to be either smooth for hydrodynamic efficiency or can raise projections on their bodies and serrate the outer edges of their arms and place them in all manners of hydra shapes to mimic algae.

They have a blue hemocyanin blood that is copper protein based, which is an inefficient 02 transporter compared to red hemoglobin or iron protein based blood, hence their need for 3 hearts controlling circulatory and central nervous systems.

Their ability to change color is managed by their central nervous system controlling 3 types of specialized color cells called leukophores, irridiphores and chromatophores.

They have a flat, porous "cuttle bone" running horizontal through their bodies that they can regulate gas into to act as a BC. On that note, for all you parakeet lovers out there, please don't buy that white cuttlebone sold in pet stores as it comes from cuttlefish. Sandpaper and other abrasive materials out their specifically for birds are available and not made from the bodies of magnificent animals.

Cuttlefish have some of the most developed eyes and vision in the animal world, which sadly starts to give out as they approach the 1.5 to 2 year mark, so they often starve to death at the end of their lives for a lack of the vision needed to capture prey.

It is funny in that I can be slowing swimming along the bottom looking for macro critters and you can pass right by these critters just a meter away and never realize it.

Cuttlefish belong to the animal class called cephalopoda or cephalopods which in Greek means "head-foot". The head is derived from the Greek word Kephale and I believe people are mispronouncing the class as it appears it should be pronounced "Kef-uh-low pod", not "Sef-uh-lopod", just like Celtics in Gaelic is pronounced Kel-tics.

Two months ago in Anilao, Philippines, while doing some macro HD video work with a new screw-on dual element achromatic diopter I ran across 2 large males fighting over a female. I didn't have time to white balance, but color correction in post at least made the dramatic fight fantastic to watch.

In the Philippines I probably run into on average 3 or so cuttlefish in a weeks worth of diving but rarely can you get close enough to get really good footage and the Phils waters are nutrient laden with a visibility average of around 50 or so feet but the high clarity portion needed for good video is less than 10 feet, so night diving helps, and as you can see from the small juvenile grabbing the goby, apparently they don't mind a pair of HID video lights illuminating their prey.

In edit I think the footage in between the initial extension of the cuttlefish feeding tentacle and the actual rapid propulsion and contact with the goby occurred in 3 frames at 28 frames a second which makes it about 10 one hundreths of a second.

The smaller cuttlefish will let you approach them closer to the point where I have had small ones the size of of a walnut sitting on my hand trying to hide whereas the full grown adult ones ones that are the size of footballs will not let you approach, which is probably one of the ways juveniles get to be large adults, lol. There goes the usually false claim that animals let you get closer diving on a rebreather. Small animals rarely become big animals if they allow 100-200 hundred pounds of animal get close to them, they do have eyes after all. ;)

I still have not run into the poisonous Pfeffer's flamboyant cuttlefish, so that is still on my short list. Local dive guides tell me that the multicolor display only comes about when they feel alarmed.

The propulsion nozzle on cuttelfish is both directional and they can control the port exit size to adjust velocity. They do have horizontal longitudinal fins which they undulate for slower movements as well as maintaining position and attitude.

Vimeo streams HD content, or more accurately HDV content better than any other video file sharing sites, but it is still not as good as the original footage.

Atlantis Dive Resort in Puerto Galera, more accurately called Sabang is set up really well to cater to Western divers and our requirements and perceptions of proper accommodations, food and level of service, plus they are set up quite well to handle tech diving and underwater imagers, as their camera room has low pressure air drying nozzles, drying towels and chargers/adapters galore.


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HD, Atlantis Dive Resort, Sabang, Mindoro Island, Philippines

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