This was the official website for X-Ray Magazine for a number of years. Compiled by an international network of top dive editors and world class underwater photographers, X-RAY MAG is the only global premier dive lifestyle magazine.Published since 2003, X-Ray Mag's subscription and downloads are free.
The content below is from the site's archived pages offering just a glimpse of what was offered to readers and visitors.
To read the latest news from X-Ray Magazine go to their current site at www.xray-mag.com/.
Forwarded by: 09-24-2010
Marie Levine, Shark Research Institute
On September 25, 2010, Johnson Toribiong, President of the Republic of Palau, will be presented with the prestigious Ocean Heritage Award by the Shark Research Institute in New York City for creating the entire EEZ of Palau – 237,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean – as the world’s first shark sanctuary.
In his historic speech at the United Nations General Assembly a year earlier on September 25, 2009, President Toribiong called for an end to the pillage of the seas. He urged the General Assembly to listen the voice of science, and urged a ocean conservation ethic for a healthy planet.
Shark populations around the world are crashing; some species such as scalloped hammerhead sharks have declined up to 98% according to fisheries surveys. Approximately 73 million sharks are slaughtered each year for the shark fin trade, primarily as an ingredient in shark fin soup.
Sharks are being killed faster than they can reproduce. All shark species grow slowly and produce few young, which makes them extremely slow to recover from over-exploitation. Shark populations generally consist of 10 percent sexually mature adults, 90 percent juveniles. The larger fins of the adults have more value in the sharkfin trade; thus the breeding populations are most at risk.
At the United Nations, President Toribiong also called for a global ban on shark-finning. “The need to protect sharks outweighs the need to enjoy a bowl of soup,” he said. "These creatures are being slaughtered and are at the brink of extinction unless we take positive action to protect them." When asked what he wanted other world leaders to do, President Toribiong said, “Simply follow suit.”
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that of more than 590 shark species assessed, 21 percent are threatened with extinction, while another 18 percent are near-threatened. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that more than half of highly migratory sharks are depleted or over-exploited.
Sharks as top predators in the sea are critical to maintaining the health of the ocean ecosystem, – the life support system of our planet. “If we take away the top of the ocean food chain – the sharks - the whole system will break down,” said Dr. Sylvia Earle, Honorary President of the Shark Research Institute.
The Republic of Palau is a small island nation, but it chose a wise, courageous, and visionary giant as its president. The Shark Research Institute honors President Toribiong for his leadership as a steward of the world ocean.
The previous recipient of the Shark Research Institute’s Ocean Heritage Award was Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, president of the Philippines, in recognition of her decades of efforts to protect sharks and the ocean ecosystem as the foundation for a stable, productive and sustainable society. She made unprecedented strides to protect marine resources throughout South Asia’s Coral Triangle, creating and expanding marine parks, personally funding marine conservation projects, and hosting marine conservation symposiums in the Asia Pacific region.
Photo & Video Workshops
Workshops and guided trips
Cenotes & Cozumel - Phototrip 2010
20 Nov 2010 - 4 Dec 2010
Dive into the crystal clear sacred waters of the Mayas! The extensive cave system lying under the Yucatan Peninsula is like a Swiss cheese, full of holes! And after 180 degree turn you go from fresh to salt water!
Workshops and guided trips
Spots still open for Wetpixel’s Alaska 2011 trip
Join Eric Cheng and Alex Mustard in an underwater photography expedition to Alaska in June 11-23, 2011. We'll be aboard the liveaboard dive vessel, the Nautilus Explorer, for 13 days of exploration between Sitka and Ketchikan.
Workshops and guided trips
Tiger Beach Shark Photography Workshop with Andy Murch
2 Apr 2011 - 8 Apr 2011
DO YOU WANT TO LEARN TO SHOOT SHARKS LIKE A PRO?
Forwarded by: 12-30-2011
Ocean Opportunity Inc,
The 2012 Northeast Rebreather & Advanced Diving Technology Workshop is hosted by the University of Rhode Island’s Center of Excellence in Undersea Technology
In 2010, the first NE Rebreather & Advanced Diving Technology Workshop, was widely attended by more than 80 explorers, practitioners, technologists, policy makers, scientific and commercial divers. The 2012 event will be just as exciting and informative, with numerous rebreathers and related technologies on hand for discussion.
There will be special presentations by leading experts in the field, and you will have the opportunity to network with people in the rebreather and technical diving community. All divers are invited, and encouraged to bring their rebreathers, for the ‘show & tell’ part of this event. Configuration tips and techniques will be shared.
The organizer/ moderator of this event is Michael Lombardi. He is the founder and President of Ocean Opportunity Inc. Michael is a two-time National Geographic Society Grantee, diving safety officer for the University of Rhode Island and American Museum of Natural History.
fHe is a former DSO for NOAA’s Caribbean Marine Research Center.
Ocean Opportunity Inc. is seeking sponsors to offset the costs of this event. Please contact Michael Lombardi at email@example.com to request a sponsorship packet. Sponsors have an opportunity to showcase their products at the event.
Comment from an attendee: This was a real eyeopener, educational advancing event. As a recreational diver, I had just moved into the bubble-less diving and super-extended bottom times. Rebreathers do require special training. You don’t just buy one as an open-circuit diver and jump in the water. Rebreathers are a lot more complex than an open-circuit kit, which most folks say are probably the best choice for most recreational divers. But divers who have the discipline, focus and enthusiasm, and money, Type R rebreathers to be just the ticket to take diving up to the next level. I was really interested in what the experts were going to impart at the workshops. Quite frankly the only disappointement for me were the disposable paper towels in the rest rooms. I work for an e-commerce site that sells janitorial supplies. My expertice is in paper products and their dispensers, and I can unequivocally say the paper towel dispensers were outdated. Some didn't even work. I know this is a petty point to observe, but the fix is so simple. I spoke to the the convention center's procurement officer, gave her my card, and she said they would look into replacing them.
Jeff Godfrey, University of Connecticut
Michael Lombardi, University of Rhode Island
Mark Munro, PPO2.com & Gorilla Diving Products
More to be announced
When: Saturday February 4, 2012
830AM registration/coffee, presentations begin promptly at 900AM
Where: Coastal Institute Auditorium, University of Rhode Island
Registration: you MUST pre-register to attend! - $25 – only 80 spots available, register early
-morning coffee & light lunch/refreshments will be provided
FREE for students with valid student ID (must confirm attendance in advance)
To Register: Please remit payment via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org,
or send check to ‘Ocean Opportunity Inc.’, 69 Church Street, Branford, CT 06405
Upcoming Dive Shows in 2012
Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) 2012
13 Apr 2012 - 14 Apr 2012
Sao Paulo, Brazil
PADI Dive Festival 2012
13 Apr 2012 - 15 Apr 2012
Tacoma Dive and Travel Expo 2012
21 Apr 2012 - 22 Apr 2012
Long Beach, CA, USA
SCUBA Show 2012
5 May 2012 - 6 May 2012
Santa Clara, CA, USA
Northern California Dive & Travel Expo 2012
12 May 2012 - 13 May 2012
Rebreather Forum 3
18 May 2012 - 20 May 2012
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia International Dive Expo
6 Jul 2012 - 8 Jul 2012
Johannesburg, South Africa
7 Sep 2012 - 9 Sep 2012
Articles from Past Issues
The archived articles covered magazine issues from 2004-2010.
Below are just two examples.
If you are interested go to the current website of X-Ray Mag,www.xray-mag.com/, to see other archived articles.
X-Ray Mag #35 - Apr 2010
Sperm Whales Of Dominica
The memory of my first sperm whale encounter is so visceral that I can almost feel myself there again if I close my eyes. As is common to most whale encounters, it wasn’t a particularly long one; the juvenile male merely drifted by slowly, effortlessly, turning on his side so he could stare at me with a tiny little eye before disappearing into the blue. To him, I was probably nothing more than a passing curiosity—an awkward sack of meat wrapped in neoprene—but the experience was an overwhelming one for me, and I knew that I wanted more.
The sperm whale is the canonical whale, its form immortalized by books and drawings centuries old. When you ask a child to draw a whale, it is likely that what will come out of her developing mind most likely resembles a sperm whale, an animal with a huge, box-like head and tiny pectoral fins whose evolution seems to defy logical explanation.
Given that there seem to be sperm whales distributed all over the world, why is it that they are so shrouded in mystery? Most whale enthusiasts I know talk fervently about humpback whales, but grow quiet when sperm whales come up. Few of them have ever seen a sperm whale, even on the surface. Sperm whales are not rare. I’m told that sperm whale populations are quite healthy, and that their geographic distribution is wide, which means that they can be found in almost every area of the world.
I don’t mean to state the obvious, but it turns out that all you have to do to see a sperm whale is travel to where they live. Although mature male sperm whales do migrate from polar regions to mating grounds in the tropics, juvenile and female sperm whales do not migrate, making it much less probable that you will have a random encounter with a sperm whale unless you go to the places where they live.
So where do sperm whales live?
Sperm whales live where their food lives. I’ve had luck at both of the places I’ve traveled to in search of the mighty cetaceans: Ogasarawa, a group of islands 620 miles south/south-west of Tokyo, and Dominica, an island in the central Caribbean. Both island chains sit at the intersection of grinding tectonic plates and have ridgelines that drop off steeply under the ocean’s surface. In both locations, sperm whales are found on the surface along underwater topography about 1000 meters deep, where their prey — large and giant squid — live.
In Ogasawara, I photographed a sperm whale with an Architeuthis dux giant squid carcass in its mouth — a first, I’m told — but it was in Dominica that I had the most incredible whale encounters of my life. Scar, a 10-year old male sperm whale, has been initiating human encounters almost literally since the day he was born. Andrew Armour, our local guide in Dominica, has spent countless hours in the water with Scar and believes that Scar has been a “gateway whale” in that others whales in the area seem to also tolerate human presence in the water.
Getting into the water with Scar for the first time was a bit intimidating. Although he is a young male, he is still about ten meters long and comes barreling at snorkelers, sometimes not stopping until physical contact is made. Indeed, I spent as much time swimming away from Scar as I did trying to photograph him, and in the end, I ended up putting my camera down and giving him a good rub. Scar closed his eyes, and his huge body wiggled slightly under my hands, like a 12-ton puppy might do in the same situation.
Our group spent a lot of time in the water with other sperm whales in Dominica as well. Local researchers and whale watch operators have identified dozens of resident whales, and two local pods happened to be aggregating into social groups while we were there. During social gatherings, the whales let us get as close as we wanted to (we were careful of flukes thrashing up and down, of course — there was a lot of surface activity!). Still, we never tried to touch any of these whales because they are fundamentally wild animals, and lack of respect could easily lead to a response that might cause injury or death.
During social gatherings, sperm whales rub against each other and communicate non-stop by clicking, clanging and wheezing (like dolphins do). I observed that a good number of the juvenile males became sexually aroused when rubbing against each other. Photography conditions were fantastic during the beginning of each social gathering, but after ten minutes or so, the water around the cluster of whales was often filled with micro-bubbles and sloughed-off sperm whale skin, which looks like sheets of thin, black plastic.
X-Ray Mag #18 - Aug 2007
Submitted by Editor on 2 January, 2008 - 03:08
How to... Kurt Amsler
Getting an underwater camera is really only half the solution. Without a proper light source the possibilities will be very limited. Having one or more strobes are essential, but how to chose the right unit?
In order to make the most of your strobes underwater, there are a few important issues to consider:
First of all, the strobes—or flash units—need to be both neutrally buoyant and in balance. It is no good if one end is positively buoyant and the other negative. A neutral and balanced strobe ensures that the photographer can work in any position or situation and not get exhausted from supporting or directing the strobes even after the typical ten minute hover to get that elusive shot.
Needless to say, the cameras, too, need to be perfectly buoyant and balanced, and they usually are. But it is to no avail if fitting the strobe to the camera doesn’t balance either.
Another feature to consider is the size of the unit. Yes, size does matter but here the rule is: The smaller, the better. When shooting wide-angle, it is customary to position two strobes on each side on long extension arms. Carrying bulky units in this position can cause a lot of drag pushing them through the water and any current will soon enough turn a swim with that setup into a fitness exercise. Many divers put too much emphasis on power and output (as defined by a guide number). But with mixed–light wideangle photography a strobe with a modest guide number of eight will actually suffice. And for extreme close-up macro-photography, space is often limited unless the subject sits right out in the open. While macro often requires plenty of power, this can be achieved with two smaller units—it actually enables you to obtain a better colour reproduction.
TTL or manual exposure?
It would be silly not to use automatic strobe exposure control (TTL) for macro, close-up or with lenses covering angles up to 60°. For wider angles, especially with super wide-angle lenses, strobe exposure is influenced by a number of factors, and TTL exposure would not be appropriate. This is easily understood when looking at the way automatic strobe exposure control works. Light emitted by the strobe is reflected by the subject and measured either in volume or speed, dependending on the TTL system built into the camera electronics. This enables the camera to control the strobe for accurately exposure. This works well when our subject is well defined in space and distance as is usually the case when working at close to medium range. However, when working with a wide-angle lens, we have a different situation. Other than our main subject, there will be a heck of a lot of other stuff in the frame. The exposure program can’t tell whether the light it measures is being reflected off what’s important or off a part in the frame that’s unimportant but closer to the camera. Also, most the time, an open water backdrop surrounds our subjects as well. So, if the subject does not fill more than 70 percent of the frame, there will not be sufficient reflection for proper metering. Exposure errors are quite common when not bearing this in mind. For wide-angle photography, it is therefore advisable to use manual exposure taking into consideration existing light.
Mixed light photography
Often photographers forget that—thanks to the great big diving light in the sky—they have daylight at their disposal as well. We use it to show more in our
pictures than the strobe can illuminate. For optimum effect, we mix the two
sources of light highlighting elements in the foreground and emphasizing their
colours by flash, while ambient light generates depth in the background where the strobe light can’t reach.
To achieve consistent results apply “Amsler’s Formula”: AS + EA (aperture as
per strobe + exposure time as per available light). Any strobe, whether of the
dry or wet variety, dictates a specific ...