Thursday, December 30, 2010

Won my 2nd photo competition

A friend of mine let me know Princeton tech, a dive light manufacture had a very small photo-competition going on. Once he saw the competitions photos he felt I had a solid chance on winning. By the time I got to it I wasn't to sure.

The competitions theme was "Beyond bottomtime" Princeton tech did not want to see photos of colored fish and the " normal" type of dive photos. Since freediving is about as far from normal as you can get in america, and equally concerned with bottom time. I decided to submit the majority of freedivers as my photos submited.

By the end of the deadline 217 photos where submitted, I was pretty suprised by the quality of some of the images, others I felt didnt really understand what princeton was after.

about 3 weeks later I checked back to the contest page and was greated with a link saying the winners have been selected winners page found here

GRAND PRIZE was awarded to my image of Paul and the Atlantis submarine

I must say, Im really looking foward to this olympus 6020 and its in camera panoramic mode. I've been wanting to try underwater pans for a while now. Ever since I saw the wetpixel discussions
UW pan discussion 1
Underwater pan discussion 2

While I am sure that with practice and a powerfull stitching program I can get results like the ones in the post. I think the stylus 6020 will provide the quality and the ease to get a great shot while on a freedive.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

End of 1ST qtr

My first 11 weeks of school have come to an end. Since most of my first qtr classes where general education I am only going to go into detail with my Principles of photography ( pho101) class.

Class started off with lighting. We learned how lighting effects composition and the overall flattery of the image. This was the first week of school and I honestly didn't take the time into this assignment like I should have. Mr. Ramey set a lot of restriction for the shoot and I took that as don't try so hard... When we reviewed the images the next week I could see how wrong I was as my images were by far the worst in the class.

lighting: frontal

Lighting: Side lighting

lighting: Diffused light ( overcast day)

Next weeks assignment was on focal length. We learned that long lenses will "compress" an image bringing the background close in to the subject. while wide angle lens will stretch everything out.
Feeling like I have a little more to prove after the 1st week I went to the skate park with a mission.
Wide angle- far

Wide angle close

Mr Ramey really liked this one. He even had me print it out for my Final print>

The next couple weeks went fairly smoothly

Depth of field- I was giving a special instruction to use Jacks

Movement- There are a couple ways to show movement in a photo.. You can freeze it with fast shutter speed, you can blur the movement , or you can pan the movement.

I had just bought the xbox kinect, what better to illustrate movement then the kinect where my body is the controller.


The weather did not permit stop action outside. So I used an old photo that I took when I was still living in hawaii


Color will alter how your viewer will subconsciously view the image. Warm colors for heat and action and cool colors for cold and relaxation. You wouldn't want to use cool, blue colors for hot coco, or warm orange colors for fish at a market.
B&w for power and dynamics,
Complementary an triadic color patterns add interest to to viewers eye.

Chromatic 5 colors or more


Achromatic ( void of color)
Willow tree

People was are last assignment before our two final projects.
I wanted to do underwater portraits for this assignment which turned out to be an epic failed this one and forgot to focus all my images.

we needed 8 -12 photos that told a simple story with enganging photos, so I chose gymnastics

Over all the class was challenging, even with my previous photography experiance it was a challenge completing 4-8 photos a week for the assignment. I learned a great deal. mostly basics that I skipped over when I was starting out.

Friday, November 12, 2010

midterms 1st quater

received my midterms grades. Im getting no lower then a "B" in all of my classes. This is pretty good news, I thought I was doing much worse. Being my first time in school in 14 years, I have been really struggling to get everything to click.

At the end of the quarter I will post some of my homework assignments up

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I am water!

First week of my photography degree done with. Homework this week was to make a self portrait that describes who you are.
Since my injury I have come to realize that water is my peace. It's the only place that has not been effected by knee. I am Water!

self portrait, water droplet, water drop, photography, derek broussard,

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Diving my Backyard.

I didn't expect much from from the waters next to my house. Less then two minutes away it would just be too easy. I had a feeling it would be rocks for about 10 feet and then barren mud to unreachable depths. I was right about the rocks. But boy was I wrong about the barren part!

I always get some weird stares when I put put on my suit and pull out my long fins and camera. So it was a comfort when my Head slips into the water. The weight of the stares lifted. The water is unbelievably clear. The rocky shore keeping silt to a minimum. I follow a drain pipe for about 12' until it abruptly ends. A few fish and crab are using it as an artificial reef. I spit my snorkel out and dive down. My decent scares a flounder out of its hiding spot, leaving a trail of dust in its speedy escape.

As I venture deeper. I follow the patterns of kelp and seaweed. Being used to Hawaii's waters it took me a while to understand what I was seeing. I was at the surface and could see the bottom at 25' down! A few dives later was seeing starfish from the surface at 40'
The next few hours whent on like this. Great vis and a lot of flounder sightings.

Yellow fin sole? "limanda aspera" or english sole "parophyrs vetulus"?

Down on one dive I had my head buried in the sand looking for flounders. At around 2 minutes I lifted my head up to notice this curious fish less then 6 inches from me. I swung my camera around and tried to capture it. However Contractions don't tend well to photography and was not able to get any acceptable shots.

On my way back in to shore I noticed the hugest jellyfish I've seen.

I followed it for twenty minutes learning its behavior. I discovered that it followed a pattern. It would stay near the surface for 3-4 min and then dive down to the sea floor and make a circling pattern in the current. After 5-10 min it would pulse back to the surface and dive again.

I really wanted to capture a photo of the Jelly near the sea floor with a crab or fish in the foreground but I couldn't grab the opportunity.

same with the spiders: A high shutter around 180-200 with aperture around F9, one strobe firing at 1/2 power allowed for a dark background with surface highlights.

By the time I was back on dry land my feet were numb from the cold, But I was stoked that so much life resides so close to home!

Saturday, September 25, 2010



Yawwnnn.. What a boring morning. It's a good thing that I have a jungle in my backyard. A micro jungle that is.

Spiders are everywhere! Fat from the flyfull summer they make a photographers dream, Beautiful lines, colors and they stay still. Great for a macro studio.

I wanted to get a silhouette of the spider, legs sprawled out. like a halloween decoration. So I set white construction paper up behind the web, Flash behind the paper. I ended up getting a dark shadow line across the image. I then decided to put the flash closer to the web. (paper was hanging from the bushes and too far away).

After fiddling with the settings I discovered... and this is direct quote from my field notes

" 1/50 25 backlighted at 15deg angle at 1/1..... slightly blown out. Increased shutter to 1/320 and F down to 22 image 4614 final"

After I was satisfied with the highlighted images I went back to the white board


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Weighted Dreams

As I Browse through one of the latest issues of a Dive magazine, My heart wrenches, Then drops. Scrolling through the page I realize the last "man eater" in the ocean has been demystified.
The article is on one photographer going outside the cage with great whites. While I know this isn't anything new it's still a shock to see in a mainstream magazine.
Now a days everyone has a digital camera, Dslr are a dime a dozen and underwater gear is cheaper then ever. I seem to have a nack for learning and "blending " with animals behavior. I was really hoping that large predators will/would be my nitch..... But now I'm not to sure its going to be available by the time I am finished with photography school.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


  Sept  has been pretty good so far.

  The first Two weeks I went to Oahu. I was missing my Girl and I NEEDED some blue water in my gills.
         The first dive was at the Corsair plane wreck. I chose this location because its the deepest diving wreck on oahu, usually always having great vis.  I was surprised by how hard the diving was for me. My dives in washington have been very shallow around 30-40', But with great dive times. Even still my body was not use to the depths and I struggled to reach 80-90'.
      Through out the two weeks we visited Some wrecks,  lost and refound some gear, Dove with various animals...
         The First plan of action was to get some shots of the NEW eyeofmine wrist strap
 Here is Paul hunting on the yo257 at 80' with a 3prong.

    The wrist mount is pretty sweet. Spearos seem to love putting video cameras on their guns. Now three-prongers have a viable option too.
    I was glad that I got to dive with Britt, I think we did more dives over the two weeks then we did the entire time we where together.

   Here she is testing out the go pro
   and flying with eagle rays

 Of course we had to do another search for tiger sharks.. Following a lead we went to Kaneohe bay, only to find the same results. No tigers.  Bored we jetted over to MokuManu. Where we explored an awesome cave.

           The theme of most of the trip seemed to be eagle rays.

        I am back in Washington now and things are going pretty well. Signed up for  school and most likely moving into my own place this week.

   Photography wise things have slowed down. I think I have an ear infection so I have been staying out of the water.

   Next month: Photography classes begin, Salmon spawning season kicks into action.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Aug update

  Well its been a little too long.

   Since my last update I ended up moving back to washington, signed up for photography school.  I also have been diving, and running a lot.

 Washington waters are completely different then anything im use too. Visibility ranges from 2' to 30' but tends to stay around 8'. 40' tends to feel like 200 feet due to the darkness.   Because of this I am still learning the ways of " cold water photography"

    A strobe is a must!  But takes some time to learn, I'm constantly moving the strobes, adjusting the power and changing the settings on the camera.  Doing all this on a breathhold can be tiresome. But with creative lighting the results can be well worth it as I found out with this image.

  1/125, F/13 Iso 100

  The High shutter speed coupled with the small aperture  Darkens the background and only illuminates where the strobes hit.   I found this works the best in the Mid to high water column. I havn't figured out how to get it to work on the ground yet.

    Since the visibility is so junk most of the time. I figured it would be a good Idea to get a macro port.

 I sooned realized that Macro + freedive = SUCK
  On land macro needs supreme stability.  a fraction of an inch of movement will blur your photo.  In water there is  the constant sway the water. I tried my hardest to time the sway  but out off 100 photos only 9 where in focus.
    I also couldn't figure out the trick with aiming the strobes.


  I doubt I will be doing much macro except for special occasions and when required or applicable by school assignments.

   On the physical side of things. My knee is improving but still causes my problems.  I was able to get a 6 mile run in. But the next day I was nearly immobile.  I think most of the pain can be relieved by making sure i'm stretching through out the day, and doing more strength training on the quads.

Monday, August 9, 2010

NCUPS photo comp and the rest of my week diving the BAY


What would happen if you placed a freediver against some of the best scuba photographers in the U.S? I was about to find out as I exchanged a wad of money for my registration packet. The odds were weighing against me. New camera, unfamiliar cold waters that would be like nothing I have ever experienced before. Even still I am a freediver and that gives me some advantages, I just hoped it would be enough. 

The Northern California Underwater photographic Society: California Beach and Boat Dive Photo/Video Competition  Is  one of thee premier photo competitions. Professional  Underwater photographers from all over the west coast come down to compete. Some so well known they regularly have their work shown in BBC, and the Smithsonian. 
      The tourney is set up fairly similar to a Spearfishing tourney. Sign in was at 3-5 pm with a cocktail party after. Divers where allowed to dive for 24 hours in the monterey bay before needing to drop of the photos at check in on 3pm the following day. There was several categories. 
     Novice:  Those who have made Less then 500$ on either competition winnings and Earnings from their work. 
     Open:    Everyone else. 
The Monterey bay area is a new area I am unfamiliar with. The water is Green, Cold, and the life is completely foreign.  Signing up for the tourney I had no Idea what to expect. Just purchasing a brand new camera and housing it was fair to say that the odds where stacked against me. 
     I treated this like I was diving the nationals spearing comp and used my extra days to scout the area and learn the wildlife behavior
pastedGraphic.pdf  The First day I jumped in the water  at the north end of the San Carlos kelp forest.  Vis was an outstanding 10’ at the surface.  I did a couple shallow dives and realized I would need to move to deeper water  if I wanted to spend any time on the bottom to enjoy the amazing amount of life and color. But as soon as I lost sight of the bottom I began to get visions of “ air jaws*”  and me flying through the air in a white sharks mouth.  I realized how silly this was  once I dove down and saw that this portion of the kelp was only 25’ deep.  After the first 10’  The visibility  Greatly improves some  up to 35 feet!

     While on the seafloor I slowly push forward getting use to the Beauty of the kelp forest.  The Sand bottom is littered with Colorful sea stars, Sea anemones , and multi colored seaweed glistening  like Pearls with the ebb and flow of the water. 
     Soon I was deeper into the darkness of the kelp forest. I kick deeper into the forest. The light fades into an emerald green.  I am now deep within the wonderland of the kelp forest.  I stop to look around.   Palm sized fish swim  stare out from me not straying to far from the kelp stalk.  Above me  float Amber colored jellyfish and above them the sun fights its way through the kelp leaves. 
     I succumb to the  urge  to breath air and with one kick I am buoyant and allow myself to float to the surface.  My head pops up through the thick blanket of the kelp leaves.   It doesn’t take me that long to realize its nearly impossible to swim through the leaves.
    My only option for traversing the kelp is below the surface.  Spy hopping I look for a patches of holes in the kelp bed and dive down. Making my way to my breathing hole like a seal in the Arctic ice. 

                                                                The Sealife in Monterey is Incredible. Unlike A coral reef where the majority of the life remains on the reef. The Kelp forest has life at the upper canopy keeping refuge and hunting in the kelp bed.  Deeper down  Larger predators  hunt in between the kelp stalks.   And of course the seafloor is host homes to a plorethra of life. Including sea anemone sprouting from the floor like an underwater garden.   

   ( photo of sea anemone not present) 

    I spend hours repeating the process making my way to the Coast guard pier where a colony of sea lions live. 

 The sea lions are pretty accustomed to SCUBA divers traversing their kelp forest. But as a freediver I have  a different appearance. Long fins, a horizontal posture, and no bubbles I appear  more similar to a Pinniped than a SCUBA diver.  
    At first the seal lions don’t know how to react to me.  The cautiously  keep their distance. spying on my from inbetween the kelp stalks and keeping Boulders between us. Safety in numbers they zig zag and weave in perfect choreography surrounding me in their underwater dance. 
I observe the the sea lions Behavior. But all to quickly I am Getting cold and must turn in to my warm the warm heat of my car. 
   The tournament went much better then I expected.  Walking out to the pier I see a group of photographers on the jetty taking photos of an otter that is foraging for food.    The night before I overheard some of the Pro photographers mention that an Otter photo would be a winner due to the  awe factor. Most scuba guys don’t see any otters. like freedivers the otters spend time on the surface and then make dives lasting a minute or two as they squeeze themselves through the maze of rocks  hunting for crabs and and other crustaceans.  Otters  Don’t have the Fat that seals and sealions do, so they rely on a high calorie diet to keep themselves warm, often eating 10%-15% of their body weight per day. 
   I try to make a few dives and catch him in hunt mode. But I unable to keep up with him. So I flip myself on my back and act like the otter.  Im assuming I tricked him pretty good because this normally shy creature let me get within inches of him. I follow his path and behavior for a half hour.  Diving when he dives and “ eating” my camera as I float on my back when. until I hit my head on a beach ball colored dive float.  Startled the sea otter looks up, notices the float and nearly pushes me out of the way to get to it. 

 Hopping up onto the float he puts his mouth on the zipper and attempts to open it up. we are abruptly interrupted by the scuba class surfacing to their float. 
     we freeze , Like teenagers getting caught we scatter in opposite directions.  I head over to the  sea lion rookery.  And put my familiarity of the seals behavior I learned yesterday into actions.   I continue to act like the animals I want to shoot. In this case the teenage sea lion. Lifting my head out of the water I bark a couple times and jump below the surface.  Quickly wedging myself in-between the boulders before they come looking for me.  I grunt and using hawaiian fish calling techniques I learned to call in some rock fish really close..  

 At the end of the day I ended up walking away with a handful of photos I felt really good about. Knowing that I was the only freediver I felt like I got perspectives that normally are not seen.  
      The next day are a couple seminars on underwater lighting( which I discover I have a lot to learn and apply to my photos)    after the seminars was the award ceremony. 
           I ended up walking away with 2nd place in the novice category and turning down a Trip to the bahamas,  Instead Excepting  a hiking/photo hybrid bag that is completely waterproof. 
I really have to give a lot of thank you to the backscatter camera shop  for helping me with the local water and habitats. 
 also to NCUPS for hosting this amazing dive tournament.