Mostly Everything

Alternative Ocean Vacations

With spring now in full bloom, Summer is just around the corner, and I don’t know about you, but I just can’t wait. For many of us, Summer and, more importantly, Summer vacation is like a breath of much needed fresh air. It’s an escape, albeit a brief one, from the daily grind of financial obligations and your daily routine. For just a little while each year, you get to take a break from work or school to do, more or less, whatever you want to do for a change, rather than what you have to do to get by. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance that we make our vacation count every year! While a trip to the beach is a classical vacation for a reason, there are a great many things you can do for your Summer vacation that aren’t simply an excuse to swim, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Here are some examples of vacation activities that can breathe new life into the breath of fresh air that is your Summer vacation.

First and foremost, let’s go ahead and stick with the ocean locale. For starters, while we all have plenty of fond memories of swimming on the ocean’s surface, there’s still plenty to do just under the sea. (Cue the Little Mermaid musical number.) For example, SCUBA diving is a popular choice of vacation activity, and for good reason. While so many of us simply go to the beach to swim or sunbathe, we still appreciate the specific characteristics of a beach, as opposed to a lake, for example. What we often neglect is that under the ocean is truly a sight to behold. From coral and plantlife, to a wide variety of interesting sea creatures, it’s simply a sight to behold beneath the waves. Then, there’s the jet ski. Jet skiing is much like sailing, but think of the jet ski as the motorcycle to a boat’s car, if you will. It’s smaller and faster, and so it has a certain X factor that boats are lacking, despite boats being the more traditional and reliable option for sea traversal. Along with this speed and maneuverability, people use jet skis to perform interesting tricks and facilitate water skiers. Water skiing, despite the similar name and dependence upon jetskis, couldn’t be more different. Imagine being dragged behind a jetski at top speed as a way of turning the water into a road, in essence. However, if you take a look at this video, you’ll see that barefoot water skiing is also an option, and I can’t imagine anything that would make you feel more like a super hero than gliding along the surface of the ocean like a water strider. Then, there’s paragliding. Another activity facilitated by having a friend on a jet ski, paragliding is being dragged behind a jet ski at top speed, but you’re literally flying. Instead of skis or your bare feet, you’d be dangling from a hang glider, soaring above the ocean.

Mostly Everything

SONY XPERIA ZR is NFC-enabled, waterproof up to 5ft; PHP 25,990

sony xperia ZR photo philippines

What’s with SONY and waterproofing their gadgets? I’m not exactly sure where they’re headed with this, but I like it! SONY has been actively churning out waterproof gadgets across the board — from their tablets to projector-handycams and smartphones. Say hello to their newest releast, the SONY XPERIA ZR, a NFC-enabled Android phone that can survive swimming pool depths.

Mostly Everything

For Sale: Complete S90 Compact Setup for Underwater Photography

My dive buddy is selling his awesome compact UW photography setup including two Canon S90 units (dive with a spare!). This is a really good underwater setup. This set is in very good working condition. The reason for sale is he is upgrading to DSLR.

Items are as follows:

FIX S90 Housing with AD Adapter (P38,000 New) P25,000
Canon S90 Camera 2 units (P34,000 New) P25,000
INON S2000 Strobes 2 units (P42,000 New) P32,000
INON Optical Cables 2 units (P5,000 New) P3,500
INON LE550W Focus/Video Light with Shoe Mount (10,000 New) P7,000
INON UFL165AD Fisheye Lens (P19,000 New) P13,000
INON UCL 165AD Macro Lens 2 units (P15,000 New) P9,500
INON UFL M150-ZM80 Micro Fisheye Lens (P14,000 New) P9,500
INON AD Double Lens Holder (P4,000 New) P2,500
ULTRALIGHT 8 inch Ball Arms 2 units (P3,000 New) P2,000
ULTRALIGHT Clamps 2 units (P3,500 New) P2,000
ULTRALIGHT TRDM Tray (P4,000 New) P3,000
ULTRALIGHT Tray Extender (P3,000 New) P2,000
ULTRALIGHT Ball Handle 2 units (P4,000 New) P3,000
ULTRALIGHT Inon Strobe Adapters 2 units (P4,000 New) P3,000
SOLA Flex Arm w/ Magnifier (P3,000 New) P2,000

Complete Set at P144,000 as shown in photo excluding the Float Arms and 4 sets of Clamps

You can email stephen.ozziworld (at) gmail (dot) com

Mostly Everything

‘Running with Sardines’ a piece I wrote for

Bianca Grey of Rappler asked me for a piece on my most memorable travels around the country. Hands down, it was the Sardine Run of Pescador Island in Moalboal, Cebu.

MOALBOAL, Cebu City – From afar, it looked like we were floating into an underwater valley that vanished into the blue.

But then I remembered we were diving around a very small island with no other rock formations visible from above. It was impossible to have something this huge and this dense underwater with no manifestation from the surface. Then, as we got closer to these formations, our eyes adjusted and all of a sudden, the wall on the left didn’t look like a wall at all. Because walls don’t stay still. It was shifting, turning, and sparkling against the sunlight with parts of it breaking away for a split second and then coming back.

‘Running with Sardines’ by Jayvee Fernandez

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Hands on with the Canon Powershot S95 Underwater

The stable of cameras at Casa Fernandez include a Nikon D40 with over 10 legacy lenses, a Canon 350D used exclusively for underwater shoots and a Panasonic Lumix LX3. So as you can see it’s really impractical for this geek to go out buying more cameras. When I saw Canon’s S90 release several months ago I snickered — not because this was a bad camera — in fact it was pretty good. But this was Canon playing catch up with Panasonic’s purely “viral” DMC-LX3. Many months later, Canon releases the Powershot S95 and I must say I’m floored with the results.

I took two cameras to Mobile World Congress but ended up using the S95 for everything because it was light and it fit into my pocket. It produced stunning images on Aperture priority (the default I use for attending conventions since I don’t have time to really care about settings) and like most cameras does really well in natural light. With the flash turned on, it seemed a bit sub-par compared to my Lumix flash, but hands down, this camera is a natural winner. If you want a compact camera that takes good photos and video, look no further. Just ask Winston.

All the photos taken at the Mobile World Congress were shot using the S95. All videos too.

If you’re choosing between a Canon G12 and the S95, you need only to consider two things: if you already own an external Canon flash and would like to use it with your point and shoot too, then you should settle for a G12. If not, get the S95.

So many blogs have reviewed the Canon S95 but it is rare to find a review of how the camera fares underwater. So here it is. The video above consists of snippets from depths between 15-40 feet (the more vivid videos) and 60-80 ft (the more “blue-ish” ones) because the deeper you go, color vanishes. Red is the first to vanish. I shot this using an Ikelite S95 casing which I borrowed from my instructor. Compared to my JVC Ikelite setup, I have nothing but envy for the S95 rig because it takes so much better video and excellent battery.

The only problem with the underwater setup is the casing: Ikelite has a design flaw with the knob used to rotate the dial to change settings. That’s why I don’t have photos: I couldn’t move the dial to enter photo mode!

I have to reiterate that this is one good camera. You won’t go wrong with this purchase. But please research price as you will find these to be much cheaper in Hidalgo than in your commercial establishments.