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Archive for August, 2014

Octopus

IMG_9749On a night dive it is special to see an octopus. I guess it is the season right now. I was fortunate to see them quite frequently in the flurry of recent dives. We caught this guy in the open! That is unusual. He was unsure whether to run or hide. So we split the difference. I was able to get the shots. I have been in the Red Sea for a while. And to see an octopus is not usual. For some reason all my dive buddies were seeing them and sharing their observations. Sometimes you just hit it right.IMG_9750


Swarming On The Reef

IMG_9463This school of fish was migrating over the reef in huge numbers. The light just didn’t let me get good detail. They were colorful. The fish seemed to be migrating. I kept looking around. There were probably big fish looking for a tasty fish dinner too. And I was not interested in meeting any large predators.

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Sunset Over Detroit

_DSC5374I get a window seat when I can. This was the trip from hell. I was flying to Detroit and landed in Chicago. I drove all night to arrive at 5:30AM and then did an interview all day. I was pretty tired. And on the flight out and headed home, well, there was this sunset. I’ve haven’t been back to Detroit. I have always said it is preferable to sit in a window seat.


Nudibranch

IMG_9351Another rule in the sea: anything brightly colored should be avoided. From my reading these creatures store poison in vesicles, which it releases when threatened. So the bright markings are a warning. The shot you need is to see the horns and the tuft. These two guys were not too far from one another. I lifted a prayer rug and there they were. Prayer rug? Yes somebody discarded a rug into the sea. And the one on the white coral is striking in contrast. The actual size is about that of your little finger nail.IMG_9354


Cousin Vicki’s House

_DSC4556Jules and I staged some shots against cousin Vicki’s Japanese maple. I got to hold Nellie. We did random sessions like this. I used a DSLR, which was too heavy for selfies. Undoubtedly that is what I would have staged now. Yes there is an iPhone and a point and shoot handy for the shot. And no, Photoshop post processing is not an alternative in this case._DSC4571


One Man’s Trash

IMG_9308It’s a jellyfish. I have never seen one like this. And I have never seen one here on the reef till now. I was following my dive buddy and he swam over it. He said he’s seen them and thought nothing of it. Well I saw it move unnaturally to the current. So I poked it. Sorry. And it moved. So it was alive. Now I lifted it? And I could see the sucker pulsating. It didn’t have tentacles and it wasn’t translucent. But otherwise it behaved like a jellyfish. So I got my first shot of a jellyfish. Looking at it on the sandy sea bottom, it really didn’t look like much of anything. It’s a moon jellyfish in the guidebook.IMG_9309


Lionfish

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I have countless shots of lionfish. But the quintessential shot is face on. The lionfish would rather swim away so it’s not common to get a head on shot. This one settled on a coral table. You can see the bulging clear corneas. It’s why they call them fish eye lenses. They don’t look particularly dangerous. But then again, don’t touch anything. Follow rule number one please.


Politics

_DSC3406This image has Andrew Cuomo current governor of NY. At the time he was attorney general. And there is former governor Elliot Spitzer to the left. His political career is legend. His brother is a fellow neurosurgeon. And the blonde is Hilary, the one and only. Even politicians walk as group politically arranged. The then current Mayor Bloomberg walked in his own group elsewhere. This was the one Columbus Day parade I attended. What was striking was how this was staged. A crowd of people walked in the avenue to the left of the politicians here. They provided a background crowd. The cameras were to the right of the politicians. This meant that as they walked there was an enthusiastic crowd of placard waving supporters always present in their background. It makes me sorry to see how the media is manipulated to give false impressions.


Collector Urchin

IMG_9102These urchins show up here and there. Unlike the spiny ones, this one doesn’t look dangerous. No matter. Don’t touch anything. It’s a rule. Every time I brush something by mistake I pay later. I now wear a wetsuit just to keep the coral from giving me skin rash. I was late to start wearing one. But I swear by it now. Compared to other things on the reef this urchin is not a common find. And it hides during the day. So this urchin also can move about. There no eyes. So this appears an easy photography target if you find one.


Monarch Butterfly

_DSC3264When I lived in West Virginia the summer was filled with monarchs. I have not seen them much since I lived in New York. Now there was a time in Maine when monarchs were a side benefit of traveling to visit a lighthouse. I’d like to say they are a frequent find. But monarchs have been in decline in recent years.


Moray Eel

IMG_9092Moray eels usually stay within the coral just showing their head. But on night dives they come out and sometimes swim in the open ocean. Since you are watching for movement they are easy enough to spot. But then the trick is to catch up and get a shot. This guy was slithering along the bottom and wished we were not spotlighting him. He was soon gone. I’d have liked a better image. Someday I’ll get one.

 


Central Park Wedding Shoot

_DSC2982Why not? People get married everyday. I guess mostly weekends are preferred dates to get married. But in a public way everyone gets to celebrate with you. This couple was rushing along to get pictures along the boat lake in the park. Okay I get the photographer dressed casually. The bride has pants under the dress and her jacket over it. The groom might need to grow into his tux. My first impression is that his shoes are not formal either. No matter, a newly wed couple is always a fine photo opportunity.


Green Eyed Dancing Shrimp

IMG_9075These guys are tiny. The trick to finding them is to poke around under the coral and shine your light until you see a reflection. It’s the eyes reflecting back the light. Then as you approach, they tend to disappear. So you have to siddle up and hope it doesn’t duck. Did I tell you this is a hard shot?


Forsythia

_DSC2488It’s spring in southern Maine. Forsythia are a classic harbinger of early spring. Bright yellow bushes flower. The rest of the year the bushes are completely nondescript. The flowers lack memorable detail. It is the essential splash of color, which catches the eye. So it is a prop against the other elements. An old fence looks a lot better with a forsythia in bloom.


Look What I Caught

IMG_9056I’ve seen this trick but never pulled it off myself. And please don’t tell the kids I was annoying the wildlife. Puffer fish get a bright flashlight beam in their face and they don’t move. So I grabbed it. It puffs. It’s not air. I was wondering. No, it’s water. The feel is like sandpaper. He was not hurt. We got some pictures. Night diving is a challenge to get exposure. The fish looked better then I did. Hey! It was my camera. But I didn’t take my own picture.IMG_9065


Santa Fe

_DSC1590Hot peppers on a bright blue door with a cross – it cries Santa Fe. At least if I had to pick a quintessential shot this would be it. I was there for a day trip. This is what I came home with.

 


Catfish Eel

IMG_8986Spooky. There is a type of diving, which I love. It’s night diving. Fish come out at night when they think danger is less than during the day. These fish were swarming on the bottom. They weren’t headed anywhere. They turned toward the flashlight. So I got a head on view. I can say it was spooky to see them just going nowhere. What were they doing? You never see them during the day. So where do so many fish hide? I have questions. Meanwhile it’s a strange encounter. And if you’re afraid of the dark…


Reflection

_DSC1605 copyI love water reflections. Still water is not easy to come by. This one reminds me of a print of a Chinese print of an arched bridge that I once brought back from Hong Kong. This shot was along the road near to Runaround Pond in Maine.


Christmas Tree Worm

IMG_8560This is a worm. At least the reef guidebook says so. They contract and disappear when danger is about. The worm is on the reef in the shallows. It seems they like the sun. It looks complicated and it surely doesn’t look like it moves. They are seen in different colors. They are tiny and easy to miss. You still have to sneak up on it or it will contract and disappear.


Gate

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Snapshots and photographs differ in what you see. Either you take in the whole scene to memorialize your presence in this spot at this time. Or you draw the viewer by engaging him in a detail. This gate is like a poem. There are many unstated explanations. Take what you will. I did not go through the open gate though it beckoned. I was in Boothbay Harbor. You shoot the harbor and the water and the lobster boats…it helps to look a bit further.


Spadefish

IMG_8632It is dive time. Carol complained gently a year or so ago that she was waterlogged. I quickly switched to fall leaves. But right now I just completed fourteen dives in about five days and each day was pretty amazing. So you will have to put up with the fishies…until Carol complains again. This large fish was part of a group that hung out in this area of the reef for a couple days. They moved slowly and majestically.

What excites a photo diver? Unusual subjects – if you don’t see this fish often. Clear water – you need to keep backscatter to a minimum. And a head on shot is preferred. The side shot is like catalog shooting. Most fish do not like a camera pointing at them. And the fish certainly object to some big thing blowing bubbles approaching. So it is hard to get that head shot.

This was a big fish and not too intimidated. I settled for what he let me have.

 


Boothbay

_DSC1462 copyShots like this are easy to see along the Maine coast. All the elements are in place lobster boat, lobster traps, and some fog. The muted light casts a mood of peace. Having been to this spot in the past I successfully returned to catch the mood in different light. It works.


Thorny Ray

IMG_7846So if you were along for the rescue lesson yesterday, here’s what we saw. I almost swam in on the surface to allow Farid to have a good dive. Bu we agreed not to separate so we shared air. It was a bit restricting and I did not expect many photo ops.

Farid has the instinct of a hunter. We came over the rise of some coral to see a giant thorny ray settling into the sand before us. As usual I did not see it at first until the sand settled. Crank up the tele – I got some shots. It was an unexpected bonus to our unintended rescue dive. I was attached to Farid by the octopus. I couldn’t approach! The ray was settled and posing. It is the only ray of this type we have seen in almost three years diving. Farid held steady and I got my shots till the ray moved onward.

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Rescue Diver

IMG_7849Farid and I were recently qualified as rescue divers. So we ended up rescuing each other on the first dive afterward. The image shows me with a yellow regulator. You do not want to be in a picture with the yellow regulator in your mouth. This is the typical color of the spare regulator called the octopus. I would not be using it unless there was a problem with my air supply.

Yes I just got my rescue diver card. With two more merit badges I will be a master diver. It is the highest designation you can get as a recreational diver. Okay no big deal. The next would be instructor, which becomes a serious expense and also it is a serious responsibility. Too many stories are told and I have seen students panic. I see enough stress in my day job.

Farid and I got cute. We wanted to maximize scenery so we swam out on the surface about a tank’s worth of air. Murphy’s law struck. The ‘O’ ring on my tank failed. We shut down the tank but now had to share air. It got us back about ¾ way and then we surfaced to swim in. It was tricky to share air over such a long distance and to rise and dive. It was also harder to blow up my BCD in order to float. Normally there is air to do it in the tank. But mine was off. We got back safe. We followed the first rule. Don’t panic.