I’m better. Jules is better. Or maybe she’s just used to my constantly photographing. I shoot everything. I carry an iPhone now. And I usually have a point and shoot Canon S100 in my pocket. Then there is the big one, my Nikon D610. Ready. You can’t get an image if you are not ready in the moment. So it was near sunset with evening light. And the shoot just happened spontaneously.
Jeff then Molly and soon it was a family portrait. Sweet. But you need to have a camera close at hand. I did.
I set this aside to place in a post. Red is colorful. The pattern is chaotic. Otherwise, I’m not sure what my point was. Many fish are solitary. And often I have seen this fish just floating alone. Strength in numbers I always hear. It seems to me that is it more than unfortunate if you are the one that the predator fish eats. But for the rest, life goes on.
Where do they come up with these names? And no, I did not count stripes. You would name something after your grandmother maybe? Or anything. We name surgical operations and instruments after our famous mentors. Like, Lars Leksel invented the Leksel rongeur, No, he didn’t but it is named after his design. Don’t knock it. Some nurses refer to instruments I use by my name so they keep track of me that way.
No, no, I am not famous. And I do not want a fish named after me. Oh, so this was a first again when I took this shot. Yes, there are lots of fish I have not seen. It’s why I keep going back. Same reef …different fish. Cool. Did you count five stripes? And don’t even ask about soap….
I don’t do selfies well. So instead it’s pretty simple to Photoshop. Take two pictures in the same spot with the same settings and lighting. It’s not perfect. And you don’t send it into the internet instantly. I have the patience to wait. It beats a remote control and tripod.
The second is from inside a redwood tree. You know you are on to something when the very next couple is along to imitate your technique.
And then at Morro Bay this was obviously easy to do. Except that we did not notice the pirate patch was crucial to the shot. Oh well, I did not say we were perfect. Yes, Photoshop could have been modified more. But it was the fun of the day not the accuracy of the image that counted.
Ok. I got a question. Feather duster worms are fixed to their spot. They don’t move. You see them solitary embedded in the coral. How? How do they procreate? You know, make little feather dusters. How? So here’s the answer? They are seen together. In all my previous dives, I have never seen two together. And here! Well there was a pair, and a moment later a trio. Really! Someone I know says that a lot. Really! She said it once. I’m just repeating. …and repeating…and repeating.
Timing. It’s crucial for action shots. You cannot depress the shutter and the motor drive will just get you an actual perfect shot. Nope. It’s done by old fashioned work. Oh, luck too. Ha! Yes, luck too. But mostly it is anticipating the action and then firing the shutter at the precise moment. It’s helps if you visualize and then plan your shot. Or, you just press the shutter and let fly. Didn’t I just tell you that doesn’t work?
I did it. Sure. I’m good. But Jules did too. Ah! She’s as good.
Anemone and clown fish are symbiotic. It means that the fish is protected among the tentacles which are poisonous. And the fish chase off other fish who come round to annoy the anemone. Eat the fish I say. Then eat the anemone. It doesn’t work that way. The poison rubs off on the clown fish. So fish and anemone are symbiotic. Get it? The pictures show the mouth of the anemone? I don’t know.
Anyway it is usually not covered in gooey gel. This was odd. No one could tell me about the gel either. Some things you observe and then make up explanations in your mind. It’s kind of like religion. Nope, strike that. This is not a political blog.
Not me silly, the dog, Molly. We’ve had a dog pretty much Jules’ whole life. And she inherited Molly from her cousin when she could not devote time to Molly and her first born.
So the dog is a prelude to Jules engagement and future family? It’s an interesting circle to begin again. I’m sappy that way. Meanwhile back at the beach…Molly the dog is rambunctious and full of energy so we ran her till she collapsed.
We ran a lot. Molly just did not quit.
I have lots of shots of turtles now. And, I’m getting in close too. Maybe it’s the same turtle? Familiar face? But no, this one had a barnacle on its back. But they all look alike, pretty much. And so they are common enough to yawn and not get excited. Except, they are not common to see. Maybe now and again so they remain special to sight. And they have a pattern. Like everyone else they swim away. No human encounter or curiosity for them. But they also like to swim in circles. So if you stay still, they may come around to pass you.
And if they do, you get a close up shot. Got to be ready. And got to have the light balanced for what mode you shoot in. Available light or strobe, it’s vastly different and you have a moment to prepare for its close-up. I never said it was easy, which is why it’s so neat to encounter a turtle.
One broken ankle later, Jules is running again. She ran a marathon the year before she broke it. So I am enormously relieved that she is running again. She is not competitive at least from the point of beating anyone because she must. She is her father’s daughter. She likes to win. And she was good. The ankle is still swollen. But she walks and does not appear to have major limitations. Yeah, I’m relieved she healed up.
The crystal ball as I call it is shiny and reflective. It really is a coral. I see it frequently enough and saw it in my book depicted with the same ball shape as you see. It needs a little polish, eh? And black and white? Or should I say white and black. Camouflage and confusion keep predators from targeting you. For me it is a matter of getting the right exposure. I think I’ve finally caught on. It’s like shooting snow. My recent shots are better. I always seem to over expose the light sand. No, you do not get to see an example. Trust me (I’m from the government and here to help…)
Ok, if you must, and want to, know, I use an underexposure now. Then I bring up the light to get everything to be more evenly exposed. It’s still a work in progress.
Photo opportunity. I’m a moderate. Funny to say in the world of extreme politics these days. Amateurs start off shooting the whole field of blooms. And the real purists shoot a tiny microscopic detail. I’m in between. Mostly lazy. I get in close enough to get a detail but not too close to considered a nutty professional. I have a day job and this is for me. No post processing. More and more the image is straight out of the camera minimal cropping and hardly a sign of manipulation.
Oh heavens! Some people cringe! Not raw! Heresy! HDR? I thought he was a former president. Yeah, yeah, kidding. It’s mostly because photography is fun for me. It’s technical, sure. But mostly it is what I like. Every once in a while you wake up and smell the flowers. You knew I would say that. Right?
It’s November. It’s Jeddah. It’s raining! First rain for me here this year. Yes! First! It’s panic time. Parents were told to keep their kids home from school. Really? Why? Well, it’s like this.
There is no provision to deal with rain water run off. Why build a sewer system for rain once a year. It works…until it rains. A leaky roof never leaks in bright sun. Then there is no where for the water to go. Before I got here I was told about water rising and cars floating. Rain equals panic around here.
It’s like a couple feet of snow in New York. It’s a mess. Cars immediately stop and traffic jams appear everywhere. Water overflowed the curbs. And it came as high as the bumper. I actually considered that getting home might be a challenge.
France is in the news but the US Embassy sent the weather advisory to my email instead. It was bright blue sky in the morning. An hour later it was raining and by afternoon it was over.
One day a few hours, no more rain till next year. I don’t think there will be a sewer system either. Rain is for fable and legend. It’s not a lot of water unless it has no where to go.
New! I’ve never seen this one. It’s so great. I liken it to running into a famous celebrity by chance. It’s in the book. Now I have my very own image. Seeing it in person is what really counts. And then I shall recall how and where. We were in the secret cove again. If I told you more it would not be a secret, right? And I got exactly two shots. And I wasn’t sure if I got anything in focus or with proper exposure. The fish is shy. And it’s pretty impossible to image. So I am rather pleased. You can see this in my book. But you will never know how rare this has been until now.
My dive buddy of many more dives and experience yawned and said he had seen this before. Me, I’m still pretty happy.
The Pacific Coast Highway has endless possibilities to catch breathtaking views of the rugged coast. You can stop frequently or not. If you stop, how often? Fortunately, this all depends upon an understanding companion. Fine and good, now, another observation. We stopped. I got my shot. Dramatic.
And there on the other side of the road….well it was a choice – you include the house for depth of field or do you let the fence be your foreground element of interest? Which side of the road?
Graphic subject and dramatic lighting, I used to get this on night dives. Now with the strobe and my current settings everything is more exciting. It’s hard to go back to available light.
The soft coral is just so picturesque with strobe. It’s named nephthaidae. I noticed my dive buddies would shoot this coral each time down. Some coral just look great with balanced daylight. And the feather duster worm is self-explanatory. Yes, it shrinks and closes up as soon as you touch it. Remember, don’t play with the wildlife.
TMI – too much information. See the horns? It’s an unretouched photo. Yes, it actually looked like this.
So, after yesterday’s post you have questions. The horns at the front are rhinopores – chemosensory receptors. And the frills at the back end are gills. The Spanish dancer is so named because in the water it moves like the skirt of a Spanish dancer. You can imagine the frilly edge. And it is quite colorful. And, no, we did not play with the wildlife. I would have, but too many people were all around. But it would have been fun to watch it dance. And so I took my pictures and cleared out so the next diver got his chance. What is hard for me to understand is how one is happy just to see the animal without getting a trophy image. I don’t need a stuffed head or anything. But if you saw it and don’t have an image, did you see it? I’m so excited that I saw this! And, it’s my blog and I get to post what I like.
I have seen this nudibranch, technically not a fish, the famed and almost mythical Spanish dancr. I see it every time I dive. There is a picture on a poster at the dive center. It’s not rare. Other divers have seen it. You don’t see it during the day. But on a night dive this is something like a quest for the unicorn. I have seen this nudibranch once in three years and many night dives later. In other words everyone jokes with me that we will see one and I never do. So it was “world night dive” night. Everyone went on a night dive together at 20:15 in keeping with the current year. How nice! Twenty plus divers under the sea with lights and noise and flash and…. So no way we are going to see a Spanish dancer. This is a big nudibranch – about a foot in size. Most are tiny tiny, not this big guy. And bright red and just sitting on the coral waiting, oh my. Yeah. We all got shots. One is enough. They all came out. No fiddling with the camera. The exposure was good from the first image. So I got my shot. And I will tell you it was an outstanding dive. And I will tell you that the next night dive I will quest once again. Have I told you how many divers I know are afraid of the dark? You dive with a buddy – always. I tell my buddy if my light suddenly goes out, it means that he is shark bait. You’d do that to yours too, wouldn’t you?
You can make many choices when you shoot an image. And if you do, it’s no big deal. Film was expensive. A digital image is not. Horizontal or vertical, crop or zoom, you have many ways to capture an image. Why not experiment. Of course if you are perfect, no need. I take single images often. And at other times I am a redundant shooter. Many times I get a wide angle overview. I tend to edit for the close up. This is usually the shot less seen.
But in a scene (word play) one must remember the key elements. The shot of the Bixby Bridge has been done many times. It is the bridge for which the image is famous. So you have to have the bridge.
Even so there are still choices. Of course the choice is yours. Or else I pick and there is only one image today. Ah, too many choices….
Jules discovered this trick in Photoshop while we were editing our underwater images. It’s a shortcut. Command shift L. Hit all three keys at the same time and you autolevel. It punches up color like nobody’s business. Really! It works so often that it is the first thing I do with underwater shots. Suddenly the image has contrast and looks so much better. How? I really don’t understand how the algorithm does its magic. And if you ask Jules, she would faint to speak of a mathematical term. She artistic. Which means she only needs to know the end result and how to do it. How and who figured this all out? Well, it was the good fairy.
It’s an eel not a snake. Looks like a snake, huh? But snakes don’t breathe underwater and we are definitely under the water. This slippery guy is hard to catch. It hides. And it stays out of the open. It can slip into a tiny opening in the coral and be gone before you can raise your camera.
We do not mess with the wildlife, remember? “Don’t touch nothin’!!!” So I was very happy to capture these images. You just have to be alert or have a good dive buddy who points and gesticulates and then gets out of the way while you go for it. Yeah, this is pretty uncommon. But like all things, I have seen this eel before.
And now you are too, again. I don’t mind telling you that this is not something you just go down and yawn, “Been there done that.” That said, look closely at its face. He’s a butt ugly bastard.
How do you like your landscape, with or without? The conventional wisdom is to use a foreground element to give depth to the image. So the presence of flowers and a fence helps to convey depth to a scene. I like both images. No particular preference for me. It’s a nice view on the California coast. Yay! But Nat Geo will only publish one. Which? Hey, it’s my blog so I can show you two. Yes, mine.
One fish, two fish, Dr Seuss… Mostly the fish swim singly. There are schools. They swim in bunches. Lion fish and porcupine fish are solitary. Lion fish will sometimes be seen together. But rarely have I seen two porcupine fish together. This might be odd. After all where do little porcupine fish come from? But you just don’t see them together. Maybe they are nocturnal? I can’t ask and they won’t tell.
There is nothing picturesque about an artichoke in the market. You can barely make one out behind this flower. So you can imagine (maybe not) my amazement to see this flower and find out it was an artichoke blossom. Ok, if you’ve never seen an artichoke, just smile. I find that most people are unfamiliar with the vegetable and how to eat much less prepare it. There really isn’t too much to do. It’s what you season with that counts. Garlic or garlic and lots of bread crumbs, either way it’s gonna taste good. And no, I will not tell you exactly how to eat it. Look on the ‘net. Meanwhile this is an artichoke flower. Neat! I learned something too.