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.