Tagged: diving

Giant manta ray at Revillagigedos Islands

I Got Shat On By A Whale, And All I Saw Were These Lousy Manta Rays

It was hard to pinpoint where, exactly, the whales were, but I had a guess—and my guess was confirmed when we were suddenly doused with a brown cloud of whale shit.

I’ll let the reality of that sink in for a second.

Shat on. By a whale.

Read More...
Ship Rock

Decompress Like A Boss

If someone tells you that they like doing decompression, they’re either lying or they haven’t done enough of it to know better.

This is a rule.

I will concede one very notable exception to this rule, and that is decompression on walls or pinnacles. On walls or pinnacles, a diver can make his or her way up the reef, conducting—and actually enjoying—their deco stops during what amounts to a second recreational dive, without that pesky “getting out of the water and doing a surface interval” part.

Read More...
Painted greenling fish and Hermissenda crassicornis nudibranch.

Photo of the Week: Painted Greenling (and a Bonus Hermissenda Nudibranch)

Those who have been following this blog for any length of time will recall that finding tiny surprise creatures in a photo is one of my favorite things in the whole world.

Read More...
Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

This Spanish Shawl is the Goldilocks of Nudibranchs

In unpredictable surge and weird currents, it’s a challenge and a half to get a Spanish Shawl photo “just right.”

Read More...
Atlantis Submarine in Oahu, Hawaii.

Photo of the Week: Atlantis Submarine

Ever feel like you’re being watched?

Of course you have; we all have.

Ever hear a strange whirring sound underwater, and think, “Oh, I’m just being watched by about 50 kids in a tourist submarine?”

No?

Me neither.

Read More...
USS Moody Wreck

11 Interesting Facts about the USS Moody Destroyer Wreck

In San Pedro Bay, about 140 feet down, rests the wreck of USS Moody (DD-277). Moody, one of 156 Clemson-class destroyers, has a rich and interesting history. Here are 11 fun facts about the ship, its class, and its story.

Read More...
Grumman TBF Avenger

Anacapa’s Airplane Wreck: TBF Avenger

It’s 1944: two Navy bombers collide midair while participating in a training exercise over Anacapa Island. One goes down on the back side of the island and is never found. The other hits the ocean on the front side of middle Anacapa and sinks to the bottom. Between the two planes, three crewmen are killed. []

Read More...
Cyclosalpa affinis tunicate colony

Photo of the Week: Cyclosalpa affinis

DID YOU KNOW that the salp, while it looks like a jellyfish, is actually a tunicate, a member of the phylum Chordata, and is more closely related to vertebrates than it is to jellies?

Read More...
UB-88 Submarine Wreck

A Second Dive on the UB-88 Submarine Wreck

In just shy of 200′ of water in San Pedro Bay is the wreck of the German submarine UB-88, the only u-boat shipwreck in California.

I dove this wreck for the first time late last year and my post about it made waves, so to speak. Apparently I’m not the only one who’s into the German u-boat. UB-88 is, in my mind, the perfect mix of historical and exclusive, being the subject of an interesting war story and resting at a depth well out of reach of most divers.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to dive the sub again. I’m never one to pass up a good wreck diving trip, so up to Long Beach we went.

Read More...
A wolf eel living in the wreckage of the UB-88 submarine wreck

No Wolf Eel Left Behind

On Saturday, I got up at the ungodly hour of 4-something-a.m. and made the pilgrimage up to Long Beach to catch a charter out to dive the UB-88 submarine wreck.

Sometimes, I think I’m doing “leisure” wrong.

Read More...
San Diego, California: Stern of the El Rey Wreck

Diving The Kelp Cutter: The El Rey Wreck

Every once in a while, we get off the beaten path a bit and dive some of the less-often-seen shipwrecks of San Diego’s Wreck Alley. El Rey is one of those wrecks: I believe I’ve (now) dove it twice in my nearly three years here. Both times, though, I’ve been blown away with how fun the []

Read More...
San Diego, California: Divers and a black sea nettle jellyfish on the USS Hogan wreck near the US-Mexico Border.

Photo of the Week: Black Sea Nettle Jellyfish on the USS Hogan Wreck

Regular readers are by now aware of my obsession with the black sea nettle jellyfish. I worked a dive charter a few weeks ago and spotted my first black sea nettle of the summer from the confines of the boat. It was all over–from that moment on, I lived and breathed black sea nettles. (Seriously: it’s a sickness. We even slow down the boat so we can stare/go around/not shred them with the props.)

Read More...
Diver and Sunburst

Macro Mania

I love shooting wide angle.

When the water is clear, there is nothing more gratifying than that fisheye lens and dome port. Wrecks. Kelp forests. Big animals. Coral reefs. And people. Wide angle means context, and people love context. People identify with the scene. They like seeing themselves, or people like themselves, in the frame.

When the water is clear.

But betting on clear water in San Diego is not a smart bet. So I often hedge with the macro lens.

Read More...
USS Palawan Wreck

Throwback Thursday: Technical Wreck Training and USS Palawan

Wreck diving is the ultimate in underwater exploration.

I’m ashamed to admit that I wasn’t into wrecks, at first. I didn’t see the point. They weren’t as pretty as real reefs, and it’s not like I was going to go inside a wreck, like, ever.

And then I got some tech diving training, and it changed my whole world.

I feel like that one warrants a repeat: Technical diving changes everything.

Read More...
Point Loma Kelp, San Diego, California: Spanish Shawl (Flabellina iodinea) Nudibranch

Dreamy Nudibranch

The kelp forest can be a pretty dreamy place. The light coming through the kelp canopy has an ethereal beauty, and the gentle sway of the kelp stalks in light surge could rock you to sleep.

I wanted to capture that surreal, unearthly quality in this week’s nudibranch photos.

Read More...
Fijian landscape

Throwback Thursday: Fiji Honeymoon

I’d never heard of Air Pacific prior to booking our honeymoon flight to Fiji. It seemed like LAX hadn’t, either; our gate was in a forgotten far corner of the antiquated Bradley Terminal, a good half-mile away from the security checkpoint. No big deal, though: after the hot shower I’d had in the airport lounge, the commute was a pleasant way to wind down before the redeye flight. That is, it was leisurely until it was nearly time to board, and I realized I had left my passport behind at security.

Read More...
Wolf Eel on USS Hogan Wreck, San Diego

Photo of the Week: A Wolf Eel on the USS Hogan Wreck

The USS Hogan wreck is pretty much the perfect San Diego dive site–the conditions are usually excellent, the sea life is abundant, and the depth and distance from port are such that the site has an air of exclusivity to it.

It’s also so rife with wolf eels that it almost–note I said almost–renders them old hat.

Read More...
San Diego, California: A Purple-Striped Sea Nettle (Chrysaora colorata) on the USS Hogan wreck near the US-Mexico Border.

The Purple-Striped Jellyfish/Sea Nettle (Chrysaora colorata)

There were ripping currents on the deep wrecks this past weekend, and with the currents came a whole slew of jellyfish and tunicates. I’m mildly obsessive about the Black Sea Nettle bloom we sometimes get in San Diego in the summers, and I’m well-known as a nudibranch zealot, so it should come as no surprise that I get pretty excited about other squishy invertebrates as well.

This is why, when I actually happened to look up for once and spotted a big Purple-Striped Jellyfish (Chrysaora colorata) crossing the anchor line about 20 feet over the USS Hogan wreck, I took a quick mental note of where my teammates were, and went up for a closer look.

Read More...
backtothefuchsia

Back to the Fuchsia

Everything came together. I navigated through crappy visibility. I clambered around in surge that felt like the spin cycle. I stared at rocks until my vision focused on tiny fuchsia Spanish Shawls, my favorite nudibranch. I shed the responsibility of someone else’s good time, and all I had was my own.

Read More...
Dead dolphin at La Jolla Shores, San Diego, California

Throwback Thursday: Dead Dolphins and Live Whale Sharks

It was with a smug superiority that I returned to vacation: living it up while climbing ruins, rafting rivers, and stalking whale sharks was the name of the game. To summarize:

The Belizean landscape was raw and rife with exotic wildlife.

The Mayan ruins were breathtaking and fabulous.

The whale sharks were one of the bigger disappointments of my diving career.

Read More...
Mexichromis porterae nudibranch with Podocerus cristatus amphipod hitchhiker

Photo of the Week: The Hitchhiker

If I’d had the ocular fortitude to spot the microscopic amphipod hitchhiking a ride on this nudibranch’s back, I would have spent all damn day shooting those two little guys. However, I never even saw it until I was home, my gear was rinsed and drying, and I was on the computer, heavily cropping this shot.

Read More...
Sunset at Key West, Florida

Back in Sun Diego: Solar-powered sea critters

Yesterday, while enjoying the heat at the pool, I briefly considered the possibility that maybe I was actually solar-powered. I don’t need food anymore, I thought, All I need is warmth.

This of course was incorrect, and I shuffled my flip-flops home almost immediately thereafter and ate some soup.

But it reminded me of critters that actually are solar-powered. Sea slugs, specifically.

Read More...
Anker's Whip Coral Shrimp (Pontonides ankeri)

This Shrimp is the Tiniest Sea Creature You’ve Never Seen

It’s easy for divers to get stoked on seeing the big-ticket critters. Manta rays? Majestic. Sharks? Spellbinding.

So far, we’re all on the same page here.

There’s this cognitive leap, though, that occurs for divers when they learn to find and appreciate the nudibranch. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg scenario, but this leap happens around the same time as divers learn to slow down and control their air consumption. Tiny things become cool, dives get longer, and there’s of course the self-satisfaction that comes out of being able to find and recognize the more obscure creatures.

But it takes a special breed to go for the borderline microscopic stuff. It’s possible they’ve taken the obscure critter-finding obsession too far: if you can barely see the thing without a magnifying glass, and your dive buddies can’t see it at all, are you really in your right mind?

Probably not, but that doesn’t seem to stop me, now does it?

Read More...
Remove-Backscatter-Pinterest

How to Remove Backscatter: The Fastest Way to Improve Your Underwater Photos

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking about technical diving and underwater photography to the Whalers Dive Club in Canoga Park, California. It was a great crowd, and the attendees were every speaker’s dream: they both laughed at my jokes and asked engaged, thoughtful questions!

One of the questions that stood out, and that I frankly do get asked all the time, is “Do you post-process your photos?” My immediate, emphatic admission of “YES!” drew laughs from the audience, but it wasn’t a joke; I firmly believe that post-processing, especially for underwater photography, is nothing to be avoided or ashamed of. My standard workflow typically includes color and contrast adjustments, sharpening, and–the bane of every underwater photographer’s existence–backscatter removal.

Read More...
Ringed or Banded Pipefish (Dunckerocampus dactyliophorus), another member of the Syngnathidae family

The Reproductive Habits of the Ghost Pipefish (A Limerick)

When asked of his ties to the seahorse,

the ghost pipefish replied in due course:

“Though I lack a pouch,

“our girls are no slouch,

“and they tend to their eggs without remorse.”

Read More...

   Older Posts