Word and Image


Photography: The story behind the image


Willey’s Dorid


How dry! What’s in a name? Will you remember tomorrow? Seen it? Bored? Too many fishies? Well the trick about salting a bird’s tail – you get close enough with the salt and you can catch it. Got it? It’s not cooking lessons. So rarely… yes there are things you may take for granted…but certain things are rare to find during a dive. This is instant, “AH!!” Yes, at least two exclamation points worth. Yes, I have seen these before. And they are still a thrill to find. If you are bored because you have seen this before, then stick to the book where I found the name. Leave this post. So it was a find graciously pointed out to me. IMG_1633And as I took picture after picture of the single, my buddy pointed about a foot to the left. Two!!! Mating? Ah!!! That’s unusual too. No, this was not product placement. They were there actually as we found them. Cool! I’m charged! It was a very good dive. Yeah, I’m happy.

Another buddy missed this. He was so jealous he told us he saw a shark! Not. What to note? The horns in the front and the frond in the back. That’s part of the standard shot. Or if you don’t care, then the pattern and pretty colors should catch your eye. We joke in the operating room. Who was “Willey?” And that would always be Dr. Willey who invented the instrument or operation named after him. Who knows? Don’t care? Willey was the first to spy this. Thanks, Willey.

Hard to See


Want something? Want to laugh? I get to dive with a photographer. He’s good. By that I mean he has a good rig. By rig I mean he has equipment in the water that would break my heart if salt water got in it. Thousands of dollars – if you have to ask you can’t afford it. Three of us were underwater. He was not using a camera. His rig was set up wrong. So he just was acting as fish finder. He pointed things out and my other dive buddy and I shot the images. Subject? Well, he has better vision. We both wear glasses. There are bubble corals seen all about. And once I saw a shrimp pointed out to me by another photographer. It was the only one I ever saw. I’ve been looking since. Nada! IMG_1782So Amr points and I know what he’s pointing to. It’s a shrimp! I can’t see it. Emperor’s new clothes? I shoot. Shoot again. Adjust the flash. Change angles. Can’t see a blessed thing. I finally blow up my image in the LCD. Ah! Eureka! Yes! Do I look enthusiastic? Sound? Yup! Got it. My dive buddy moves in. He doesn’t have the faith that I have. He can’t see a thing. He doesn’t even know where to point his camera. He doesn’t get the shot. I had faith. Yes!! Got it. Not the best. But no image no post here. So you get the benefit of a low res shot. Hey, it’s invisible, tiny, hard to see….and probably not even good to eat. Oh, see the tiny claw! I swear Amr has x-ray vision. He smiles.

Hard to Get


Big fish little fish, there are a lot of choices. The distance to the subject and the size of the subject (AKA fish) is important. Little fish, baby fish, they are hard to shoot. They are hard to see. They move around a lot. Ah, what the heck. Some days you are not inspired to write and post. I missed yesterday. Life is coming a bit quick. What’s my point? There are small tiny fish in the sea. They are hard to see. In fact I am amazed that my camera picks them up and I can actually show them to you. IMG_7795So here. This one’s so small you can’t see it easily. And to photograph it is a challenge. You may or may not think so. But I’m here to say it ain’t easy. And what’s this? A baby something…

With Without


Shooting scenery or shooting family? Tourist shots often leave you with too small a shot of the loved one or not enough scenery. The choices are simple. Execution is hard. Maybe not.


Foreground? Flowers or family. Depth of field. Confused?


Under the circumstances if I am alone and without another person, landscape is a good shot. And foreground flowers give depth to the image. And if I have someone in the foreground, then Jules needs to be bigger than a dot. It works. Which? Ha! I didn’t say did I?



I first encountered these fish swimming lazily on the reef. They were skittish. I got a few shots. Boy I was thrilled. Lately they are commonplace. Spadefish, they are pretty tame now.


There have been several or more hanging around the dive platform. So I have gotten images almost at will. The fish are not afraid. And they mooch bread when the divers come to feed the fishies.


Common or not, it is not a fish you see anytime anyplace. They are probably not good eating. I don’t see them in the market.


_DSC3255 a

It’s fun. We’ve been doing this for years now. I don’t jump too well. Old man. The secret is to bend your knees. You look a whole lot more graceful. We were stopped along the road to take some pictures of the rugged California coast.

_DSC2564It was a crisp clear day. Photo ops were everywhere. Gorgeous. Too much beauty, we were on overload. So details here and there made things interesting. _DSC2517And then there is always jumping. If you do it right it looks like you are over water and it’s really dangerous looking. No we were not that good.


Someone expected we would be by. They left messages in rocks down below. It was as if they knew we’d be by for the view.

Open Mouth


I have a lot of dive time logged. And I’m still learning. For instance, my equipment is old enough to need service. My BCD inflator is malfunctioning. Don’t worry if you don’t understand, it’s not important to the story. I have noticed it but did not fix it. It did not affect my dive. Until I figured out that it does. It slowly inflates my BCD. By the end of the dive the air in the tank is less and you float a little. The extra air in my BCD makes you float more. I did not put it together that this was occurring because of my malfunction. I automatically compensated. The upshot? Well, now I will have to fight less at the end of the dive. I fixed the problem. Buoyancy – always an issue – solved.IMG_8764

Open mouth? Well for a change I have several. Your mom told you not talk with your mouth open when you ate? It is not too common. I’ve been diving long enough to realize that certain behaviors are not commonly seen. I don’t see fish actually eating one another. I don’t see starfish eating the coral. I see stuff and probably don’t recognize its significance.

IMG_8786 Anyway fish swim, they don’t speak, and they keep their mouth shut.

More Action


Happy happy. One pair two pair. Is it fair to say two pair if a couple are a single unit? Most all the other seals were just soaking up the California rays and chillin. But there’s always someone who wants to play around. They tell me it’s not mating. That happens at another time and it is quite noisy and competitive. This time of year everyone’s mellow.



Elephant Seal


Playing around. We missed the mating and the fighting. It was a very quiet day when we arrived. There were lots of spectators. I’m not complaining. But I had the wrong camera lens. No telephoto. _DSC2413But you do what you can. And the spiffy lens allows me to enlarge quite a lot. I don’t know enough about seal behavior to comment. Mostly they lay like lumps occasionally rousing to move a little. It was a much fun as watching a tourist tan._DSC2219There weren’t even that many seals. Of course it would help to read the signs and directions which told us to go right. We went left. To the right…. ah, well, it did finally sink in. More seals!

Red Sea Bannerfish – snack


Someone takes a bite, you’re gonna notice. It doesn’t seem to hurt. But when I can’t tell one fish from another, it helps to have a piece missing. IMG_8792These fish usually are paired. In this situation they were grouped happily swimming near the edge of the reef. I have been here again and did not see this one special bitten fish again. IMG_8790Maybe the ogre came back and finished the job. I can’t imagine the fin is a good snack. But hey, I’m not a fish eater in general.


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