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Book Review: Action Camera Underwater Video Basics (2021)

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Review by Explorers Club International Fellow and Writer Nick Lyon

We are surrounded by image recording technology, in our phones, our cars, even our doorbells! But until relatively recently, our ability to record high quality moving images underwater easily and conveniently was dependant on bulky and expensive camera systems. This is no longer the case. The GoPro camera, and subsequent models allowed all of us the opportunity to record our dives. But as with all new technology, most of us struggled to figure out how to get the best from our new cameras.

Some time ago, I was fortunate enough to attend one of Jeff Goodman’s GoPro workshops in Cornwall, UK. I knew of Jeff’s impressive pedigree and it was no surprise that the event was highly enjoyable and packed with useful information. But of course, as we all know, memory is water soluble and with every subsequent dive, I often struggled to replicate what I had learned.

Thankfully, Jeff has now released ‘Action Camera’ which is the culmination of many years working with a variety of these excellent devices. The book covers far more than simply ‘which buttons do what’. There is a welcome emphasis on the ethics of responsible filming in order to minimise our impact on the environment.  The chapter dealing with equipment sensibly advises on choosing the features which suit the reader’s requirements. In a constantly evolving market, recommending specific models would soon be out of date and is avoided.

Photographic theory is rarely the chapter which most people skip to first as it can sometimes be rather laborious. Thankfully, Jeff has taken a progressive approach and as with the entire book, the subject is lavishly illustrated to enhance understanding. The practicalities of shooting in a variety of environments are also covered with emphasis on the value of thorough planning and preparation (I’m sure you know the full acronym!). This starts with getting equipment ready, but includes use of a storyboard to fully plan the shoot, as well as the techniques required to achieve the results you want. Then there’s actually producing your product and Jeff devotes a chapter to editing your film.

It could have ended there, but there are also a confined water and an open water exercise for the diver to test out their newly acquired skills and knowledge.

I was particularly glad that this is not a ‘coffee table’ book. It’s a proper hands-on manual that can, and should accompany the diver on their trips as a constant source of reference. If you have an action camera you really should have this book too.


Action Camera: Underwater video basics

  • By Jeff Goodman
  • Published by Dived Up Publications
  • RRP: £20
  • ISBN 978-1-909455-44-3

Available now from Divedup.com, and to order online and from retailers.

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The Rescue – available on Disney+ tomorrow (Watch Trailer)

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If you missed the recent cinema debut of The Rescue film, you can watch it on streaming channel Disney+ from tomorrow December 3rd.

From Academy Award®-winning filmmakers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo), The Rescue is the edge-of-your-seat account of the rescue of 12 Thai school boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave system in 2018.

The Rescue chronicles the dramatic rescue of the boys and their coach, trapped deep inside a flooded cave. Academy Award®-winning directors and producers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin reveal the perilous world of cave diving, the bravery of the rescuers, and the dedication of an entire community that made great sacrifices to save these young boys. An outing to explore a nearby system of caves after soccer practice transformed into a two-week saga of survival and a story that would capture the world’s attention. With exclusive access and never-before-seen footage from the rescue, the film tells the story of the imagination, determination and unprecedented teamwork displayed during this heroic edge-of-your-seat mission with life-or-death stakes.

Check back for our review of The Rescue soon!

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Marine Life & Conservation

Shark Guardian investigation finds endangered sharks for sale in Taiwan

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A field investigation into Taiwan’s shark fin industry was conducted by Shark Guardian between December 2020 and March 2021. The investigation obtained documentary evidence of fins from endangered shark species being openly offered for sale by over half of all shark fin traders surveyed in Taiwan’s southern fishing port of Kaohsiung.

Of the 13 shark fin processing and trading companies visited, more than half were found to be trading CITES- listed fins, and seven had shark fins from CITES Appendix II-listed species as part of their product range. One company saidthere was no difference in selling protected or unprotected species. Protected sharks’ products usually create a problem for international shipping only.”

The new report details how seven out of thirteen traders surveyed in Taiwan were found to be selling shark fins from silky sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, mako sharks, thresher sharks and great white sharks in broad daylight – in contravention of Taiwanese and international law.

Over a three-month period, Shark Guardian investigators witnessed multiple shipments of shark fins from endangered species being unloaded at Donggang fish market which is in Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung.

Alex Hofford, Marine Wildlife Campaigner with Shark Guardian, said “To save sharks and the marine environment, Taiwanese authorities should implement an immediate crackdown on its cruel and unsustainable shark fin trade, and should tighten up local laws to ban the domestic sale of shark fin as well as better enforce its international obligations under CITES. It is also high time that the Taiwanese government should rein in its out-of-control distant water tuna fishing fleet, who are a major supplier shark fin to Chinese markets. Whilst Taiwan is a beacon of democratic and progressive values in Asia, it is allowing its unsustainable and often crime-ridden fisheries sector to rape and pillage our ocean with impunity. This must stop. Taiwan needs to show leadership in environmental protection and must quickly clean up its act as regards its sleazy shark fisheries and trade sectors.”

During our investigation, Shark Guardian also found evidence of Taiwan-based online retailers selling fins of endangered species of shark in contravention of local and international law.

According to WWF, a third of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction, yet fishing and trading in unsustainable shark fin remains a highly profitable, but environmentally destructive, enterprise for Taiwanese companies operating out of Kaohsiung.

Brendon Sing, Co-Director of Shark Guardian said “Clearly more must be done to protect sharks globally. There are over 500 known shark species with only a handful of them listed under CITES. Even then, CITES listed sharks are still traded illegally where monitoring and enforcement lack any power and expose loopholes in the system. As long as this continues, there is no real protection for any shark species regardless of CITES listing or not. Taiwan must be responsible and take positive action in response to this report.”

Shark Guardian believes that excessively large profit margins are the main reason why Taiwan has never acted to rein in its shark fisheries and trade.

Shark Guardian hopes that Taiwan can apply its progressive values towards preserving the marine environment by imposing a comprehensive ban on the physical and online selling all species of shark fin in Taiwan. Such a ban would go above and beyond what is required under international law, and Taiwan’s domestic laws can be changed with public support.

For more information about Shark Guardian visit their website by clicking here.

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Egypt | Safaga, Brothers & Elphinstone | 27 January – 04 February 2022 | Emperor Elite

Jump on board this famous Red Sea liveaboard and enjoy diving the famous wrecks of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer.  Emperor Elite offers a contemporary living space combined with the best itineraries available in the Red Sea.

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