In november/december 2009 Julie and I visited the Eastern Fields area in Papua New Guinea, joining a Wetpixel.com expedition with Eric Cheng and Tony Wu. We did two back to back trips on the Golden Dawn, the only liveaboard that visits the area. The Eastern Fields is a pretty remote atoll between Papua New Guinea and Australia, 450 nautical miles wide, consisting solely of submerged reefs. Nearest land is half a day’s travel away.
We knew before we went that this was going to be mostly a wide angle trip. That was going to make it a bit different from our usual trips, as Julie and I both like macro. The area was visually stunning, and Carl’s Ultimate was probably the most beautiful dive site I’ve ever seen. When the current picks up, the amount of life on that reef is so overwhelming you don’t know where to start. But a lot of this lushness was hard to photograph, and more suited to video. At some point I just stopped taking photo’s and watched the splendor in action.
On a recent trip to Papua New Guinea my friend Eric Cheng suggested (on advice from his friend Alex King) I use SVN to maintain my wordpress installation that runs this blog. I used to just download the latest version, and unzip it right into my blog directory. Works fine. Only problem is that you lag behind as wordpress releases a new version only every few months, while svn updates happen daily. I’m already very familiar with SVN, as we use it extensively in our office for coding projects, and I use it myself as well for some plugins I made for Roundcube.
So today I switched my blog over to SVN, and it all went without a hitch. I checked out the latest version 2.9.1, and copied over my own theme and some plugins, and it all worked immediately. Hopefully this will make updating easier in the future.
We haven’t done a lot of diving this year, but at least in November we’re going all out again. We’ll be traveling to Papua New Guinea to dive the Eastern Fields area. This isn’t a regular destination due to the conditions, but we’re hoping for the best. We’re joining Eric Cheng and Tony Wu for 2 trips on the Golden Dawn, a boat we’ve seen before near Kimbe in PNG.
After that month we’ll be back in Amsterdam for the holidays and then off again to visit Julie’s mother in the Virgin Islands.
My whole life I’ve been into sports. From many years of soccer, basketball, tabletennis and other assorted sports as a child, to racketball, diving, martial arts and horseback riding as an adult. One thing I’ve never been good at though is long distance running. I was fine at sprints, but don’t ask me to run more than a few kilometers cause I would just collapse before the end. So it came as a real surprise to me that when I started running a few months ago, I suddenly was able to push past the 5K, 10K, and even 15K limit. After I finished my first 15K leisure run, I decide to see if there was any space left in the Dam tot Dam run. This is a 10 mile/16K run from Amsterdam to Zaandam, which happens to go right past our house. I always watch it, but this year I wanted to run myself.
Unfortunately there was no space left, but I was in luck. This year the organization added a second run the evening before to commemorate the 25th anniversary of this run. The night run still had spots left, so I signed up and continued training.
The run was last saturday, and I’m really happy with my result. I finished the 16K run in 1 hour 29 minutes and I took my iPhone/GPS running app with me.
The last 5 days I’ve had more fun than I’ve had in months, maybe years. Being a geek at heart, the HAR2009 conference was a truly magical event. Not only was the weather perfect, but the talks were of a very high quality. Most importantly, I was able to meet up with many many old friends. People I hadn’t seen in years, or sometimes even longer. It’s kind of strange to see people that you used to hang with, suddenly have 2 kids that can not only walk, but swim.
As you can read in my previous post, HAR2009 is the 6th in a series of events organized by the dutch (and german) hacker movement. And this time it almost didn’t happen. The organizer of all the previous events, Rop Gonggrijp, told us a year ago that he couldn’t do it. After a few months of silent shock, Aldert Hazenberg stood up and took charge. Quite a few people were a little skeptical, but this turned out to be unfounded. He and his team of over 100 volunteers pulled off one of the best events that I’ve been to. A new generation of enthusiasts has entered the scene with a loud bang.
In may of 2009 we went to Indonesia with Eric Cheng for a total of 45 days. We did over 130 dives, and went from Lembeh to Raja Ampat, Halmahera, Ambon and finally Flores. It was one of the best trips we’ve ever done, with a really nice group of people. It took a few months, but I finally managed to upload a gallery of the images. You can also read our tripreport.
For about 2 years now I’ve been using Smugmug for partsofourwebsite. The people running Smugmug remind me of my own company and the way it started more than 15 years ago. A close nit group of people with a real passion for what they’re doing. I recently noticed they now allow you to embed slideshows of galleries in any website that accepts them so I thought I’d give it a go and embed a sampling of our underwater photos. In the not too distant future I also hope to replace most of our current Gallery2 based galleries with Smugmug galleries.
Julie and I just returned from a 45 day dive trip in Indonesia. This is pretty long even for us. We did 40 consecutive days of diving, and did well over 100 dives in total. The trip took us from Lembeh in North Sulawesi to North-West Papua, Raja Ampat, Halmahera, Ambon, Banda, Alor and Flores. We saw many things we’d never seen before, including Harlequin Shrimps, Flamboyant Cuttlefish, mating Cuttlefish, and much more. We had great company, including fellow Wetpixel Administrators Eric Cheng, Matt Segal and Craig Jones. We’ll soon have a gallery online, but until then read our tripreport which includes some of our images. For dutch photographers Cor is doing a talk about this trip on the next AquaShot evening on April 17.
We don’t need another hobby, but I must admit I like sailing a lot. We went out for a nice trip to Buck Island, a small nature reserve island just off the N/E shore of St. Croix. Thanks to our friends Marjo and Scott, who have a nice sail boat just perfect for these trips!
I just happened to be going through some images to submit some older stuff to iStock and I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. Not when I took it, and not when I added the image to my library. I took this photo of a spider in a web on Banda Neira, one of the spice islands in the Banda Sea where the dutch used to get nutmeg. Look and behold, on its back is another tiny spider, almost certainly a male mating with the much larger female. How cool is that!
It’s always a bit exciting when you get something published for the first time. I just saw the latest issue of Sport Diver magazine at our regular dive shop Cane Bay Dive Shop with two of my images in it. Sport Diver regularly does an image callout to a selection of underwater photographers, and we joined this list a few months ago after they invited. When they asked for some images of St Croix I submitted some, and included some from other places as well. They printed two of my images. Very cool. I hope this will not be the last, as I must admit that Sport Diver pays very well for a dive magazine.
Here’s the two images. One is a Lemon Shark from the Bahamas. The other a Frog Fish at the St Croix pier.
About a year and a half ago Julie and I did a long trip in the Banda Sea. This is when the idea for another trip to Indonesia grew. Eric was thinking about doing a similar trip, from Northen Papua through Ambon towards Flores. We immediately agreed to join this trip, which eventually turned into a double trip. He also arranged for a well known guide named Graham Abbott. So we’ll be heading back to Indonesia for a full month on the Seven Seas liveaboard.
Since we’re in the area anyways, we also decided to take a small group into Lembeh, a well known diving mecca that both Eric and us have never been to. It’s a macro heaven, with black sand bottoms and some of the most amazing macro around. And to top it off, Julie and I will spend a few days in Singapore before the main trip, to acclimatize to the time zone change and catch up with some diving friends.
We can’t wait to start this trip. It promises to be a very rewarding trip and we expect a lot of good photographs. It’s also going to be great to see all our old friends again, as almost everyone on board will be someone we’ve already been diving with.
I never have enough harddisk space. When I travel I have at least 5 external USB disks with me. One for the images I take during the trip, a backup for that one, one with my lightroom database, a rescue disk for my laptop, and usually a disk with movies and tv series for those moments where you dont feel like doing anything else. Lately I’ve also started to take a disk with most of my originals, as fate would have it that im always asked to deliver some specific image while im traveling.
Unfortunately USB is not the fastests, and trying to run both Lightroom and my disk with originals externally has proven to be very annoying. It’s just too slow. My friend Eric Cheng runs a laptop with 2 internal disks, so I figure that would be a good option. Just add a second 500GB harddisk for my image data.
A company called MCE Technologies has a product they call the Optibay that allows you to replace your internal SuperDrive with an internal harddisk. You can either have them do it for you, or just order the parts and do it yourself. Naturally I opted for the latter and ordered a 500GB Optibay. It arrived a few days later, ready for me to install.
Every year the Dam Tot Dam Loop passes through our street. This is a 10 mile run from Dam Square in Amsterdam, home of the royal palace, to the Dam in Zaandam. It’s always a lot of fun to watch as all the neighbors come out and build a huge party. The runners are of all levels, from pros that come by so fast you can barely see them, to people that you know aren’t going to make it. We live about half way so we can usually tell if someone is going to finish or not.
I’m always on the lookout for people I know and this year didn’t disappoint, I counted at least 5 people that I know. All the people I know looked pretty fit, so I’m sure they made it just fine. The saddest part to watch is towards the end, as the stragglers get bypassed by a little bus that tells them they can’t continue. There is a strict time limit and if you can’t make it you’re supposed to stop. All in all we had a great time.
I just upgraded wordpress to version 2.6.1, as easy as ever. In the coming days i’ll be changing things around on our website, primarily moving wordpress to the root instead of just the journal section.