Word and Image

Archive for April, 2016



Yes, Happy Birthday Dave. Big one! Thirty years ago. His obstetrician showed up sleepy eyed. She was a member of a group so I met her for the first time in the delivery room. Her name was Ida. Hey! Get it? Ida Ho. The state, the potato, one of the names I wanted for my kids. Or Ivan… She was not too comical at 4AM. And poor Aunt Audrey was there at home taking care of Jules, his sister. She had asked that Dave not be born in the wee hours. She was sweet. She came from the Bronx to watch Julia in the middle of the night. And, my chief resident had last said to me, “Don’t go into labor, we got a big operation in the morning.” And, it was a terribly difficult vertebral artery aneurysm. And of course, we postponed the operation. In order to assuage the poor patient, I told him that I had named my son after him. A year later he appeared for his post op visit and asked how his boy was. My puzzled look was followed by, “You know! Vincent! Vincent Pallazoto Jr.” Oh, yeah!


This is wedding weekend again. You just gotta love the shot. We had a muscle car courtesy of the rental upgrade in Los Angeles. A Dodge Challenger! Yes, it’s a fast car. We never did get to drive it fast. But the boys looked cool sitting on it.


And for Susan, here’s another shot of the kids as they are today. And for those who want to see the dad, here I am again.

Got Eggs?

IMG_2559-2Eggs: and those are fish eyes. Yup. So, nature, in this case, decided that vision was critical to survival. Look inside the developing fish and it’s all eyes.


I imagined this shot. I looked for it. I wanted to take it. Oh, by the way, I’d like a mermaid too… a redheaded on named Ariel would do…But really, I was thinking this morning before we dove, I’d like to go back and see the fish eggs I saw the past two weeks and see the fish inside the eggs developed so I could get a picture with the fish not yet hatched. Wish! Granted! And I found it! Wow! Yes, another wow moment.


We were swimming by the anemone and as usual the Nemos were out front guarding. But there was something on the coral wall. Shiny, tiny, and being guarded too. I got a few shots. Got wide, got close, and shot detail. Amr swam past and signaled to move on. I grabbed his fin as he was leaving and pointed out this subject. He stopped, hovered, and started taking shots. He took my camera too. He was using wide angle and I had the macro lens ready to go. I got the same images. His are better. Credit: Amr. He keeps raising my bar. Note to self: Don’t give up on a subject till you get the image you seek. Macro subjects don’t move away fast. So work the subject, get a better image. Mine were lacking in focus and exposure. Decent but not like Amr shot. Darn, I want to get better in a hurry. But that’s the point, hurrying makes you miss.

Raise The Bar


So, you saw yesterday’s post. I got some good images. And now!? My dive buddy took my camera and shot a few. This is what he got. It’s not blown up. It’s full frame. At this magnification, it is very hard to get a sharp image and detail. Things go blurry for lots of reasons. Everything is moving, photographer and subject, and current, and camera, and focus point, and it’s pretty near impossible…for me. Credit this to Amr. He just raised my bar. I think I’m good. He shows me I still have a way to go. This is fun. I’m better, not great, and not as good as I will be. At this point in my life it’s pretty nice to be challenged to do better. Good equipment helps. The right lens at the right moment helps. Luck! But it’s the photographer too. I just discovered that my equipment is fine. …and my hands shake. Not really…shhhh, I do brain surgery just fine. But I’ve been doing my day job for a long time. And I know what to do and I’m good at what I do… day job.

Served: Three Ways


This hermit crab is too tiny to eat. Someone I know loves crab…to eat. That antenna is as small as a fine hair. So! Yes! This is a small morsel. Not even a tidbit. I took the liberty of cropping horizontal and vertical.


Each image has its merits and you are left to choose which you like. And always, the question, “Which do you prefer?” You have to have a favorite.


That would be like asking me which of my two kids do I prefer. And to that I just smile. Okay, back to the post. Do you see the detail? Are you getting some enthusiasm here. Great images are too easy to find? Someone always has a better one. But! This one is mine!

Jellyfish for You


The 26th of the month is special to someone I know. And since we were just talking about jellyfish… here you are.


I tried to shoot one once. It was a disaster. The things are translucent. Autofocus just doesn’t want to play. No image. Blurred. Unusable. Drat! On this day the jellyfish were blooming or whatever it is they do. The sea was full of them. I guess they are not good eating. What did I say about touching anything? Don’t! I was careful. But then I wanted a shot. These guys were near the surface which meant the waves were pushing me to and fro. I was dizzy and nearly nauseous. I persisted, of course, or you wouldn’t have any shots to see.


Yes, tricky. I got a lot of images. Mostly out of focus. There’s not much to focus upon when your subject is translucent. Did I say that already? This has sort of become a dive blog. And the interesting images I get are accumulating faster than the days I have to post. I no sooner get one good image and another comes along right after it. By no means is this my day job. So the learning curve for underwater photography has been stimulating and challenging. Thankfully, I’m hooked up with some photographers equally passionate (crazy) who are pushing my skills to become better.

Wow! Yeah! I’m Impressed and You Might Be Too


I got eggs! Be suitably impressed please. I don’t think anyone has this shot. And if they do, great and good luck to them. I have another somewhere. I’ll post it when I edit it later. But this was an unexpected find from the dive I made this past weekend. The senior and more experienced dive photographers as making fun of me. I have discovered what they have known about before me. I just discovered how to find hermit crabs. Ho hum. No big deal. Right! I’ve been tormenting all the hermit crabs that will come out to play on the reef. The others just shake their heads and photograph something else. I’m old. My vision is not what it was once. Add motion, and blurring with a dive mask, and then a gentle current pushing you around, and finally a subject that would rather you leave it alone. You cannot stage this. You can’t even know what’s going on. You certainly can’t see the eggs when you shoot the image. This crab is small. The eggs are miniscule. Yeah, wow! I have to say that this is pretty good. Right place, right time, luck is a great thing. Or as our neurosurgery departmental motto went: “It’s better to be lucky than good.”

More Bubbles


Hey! I found this all by myself! I’m working this subject to death. And I’m sure if you don’t dive – enough! And if you eat shrimp – get on with it! This thing has claws! It’s not even a morsel. It’s way smaller than some fish poop I swim through. I’s like a small piece of lint on the coral. That’s what makes it so damn hard to see, so hard to find, and so hard to photograph.


If you don’t look you will never see it. And if you look you will usually not find it. And if you are old and wear glasses…well, good luck to you underwater. They do not wear glasses. Things are magnified through the dive mask. But there are so many other ways to mess up vison. Your mask fogs. We use shampoo. A few drops and it coats the lens and fog is much less. You just blurring from the wavy soap. For some reason the camera and the glass stay pristine.


So the images I shoot are better than what I see. You need faith. I need religion but that’s another issue. Hey! This set of images were on another dive and I am better at finding than I ever thought. I actually got a chance to shoot this shrimp as it moved over the bubble coral.


And I got detail. …the claws. Not quite as good as my expert dive guru. But it’s more than decent. Just not great. But I’m better…just not as good as I will be…

Oh no! More shrimp…


My shot. This would be my usual till now. I’m not too good at getting in on top of the subject yet. Focus and technical details still elude me. I am still closing my eyes and hoping for the best. Don’t get me wrong. This is special stuff. And I’m getting much better. Learning on the fly is pretty fascinating. I don’t have any formal lessons. I just go and shoot. Click, adjust, shoot, and adjust, all done on the fly. I constantly am impressed at how I’m able to come away with something decent. Now I’m working on better. Bear with me. Oh, you don’t see these guys often even though I’ve posted something three times recently. I was just thinking of seeing one with my close-up lens and my wish was granted. So, fingers crossed…I’m thinking I’d like to see a mermaid!

Bubbles – the Coral Shrimp


You think the last one was good till you see the next. I got one of these shots. And my dive buddy Amr got the other. He’s my photo guru. Eyes that miss nothing. He joked that he got an image of the shrimp’s brain.


Wizard of Oz – “If I Only Had A Brain.” It doesn’t. So I don’t think there was much to demonstrate. Except there are those scales. This is detail! Everybody is afraid to be eaten. This speck would barely be a tidbit.


Definitely not tasty or worth the trouble. What I can tell you, I am not skilled enough to do this shot. Yet! But half the trick is understanding how they did it. And now to leap off the cliff…it won’t hurt a bit. The landing – that’s another matter to discuss…

Bubble Coral Shrimp


I confess. I can’t see this guy. My dive buddy points it out when he sees one. By now I know the drill. He signals and I move in. It’s a dot among the bubble coral. Tiny, tiny, you have to take my word. Oh! See the claws. I would have thought that crab and lobster have claws. But they call this a shrimp. Close-up lens, yeah! It takes a great image. My other buddy tried. He couldn’t see it either. I guess the first one with x-ray vision is the winner. It ain’t me. I’m so grateful to have a buddy who sees things. No he does not have an imaginary friend. The next few posts are about bubble shrimp and my observations and evolving skills. It’s interesting because within a few dives I discovered that things changed. So, I can string together some images which look the same but are vastly different in terms of my skill and ability. This starting image would have been great for me. Then the bar went higher.