Word and Image




Generally any portrait is focused on the eyes. With fish it is not too much different. But there are times when the fish would prefer anonymity.IMG_8478

So here is a flatfish. The eyes are on one side and barely visible. In fact the whole fish would rather wish you to never seem him at all. I usually have a dive buddy spy him first. So the camouflage works for me.


Then there is the technical problem of color balance. I was lucky enough to shoot this subject on two different dives.


Same set up and same strobe gave me two different results. I could not seem to expose and get out the green tint. The green is more natural to what I actually saw underwater. The first set is more natural color to my eye. Ether way the fish is just trying to avoid my plate.


Side view – regal angelfish – yes, they eye matters. You’d never accept a tail view. Head on is better. But the fish generally avoids a big air bubble blowing diver. This is more a catalog shot for ID. Ok, the mouth open gives some interest.


Goatfish. Don’t ask. I don’t know why the name. The eyes are wide. The pattern of them resting on the bottom is not too common for me. They were just holding there. I swam up slowly and got a couple shots. It was the behavior that struck me. …all nice and calm resting on the bottom. Fish rest?


Supermoon Eclipse

_DSC4486aOk! Live and in color! The supermoon and lunar eclipse. Got it? Have you been under a rock? It occurs rarely. _DSC4361a

I think that I have been involved with the recent ones through sheer luck. This was the last supermoon that occurred recently.I just happened to be home. And where I am in there are no clouds. Lots of haze is about. But there are no clouds mostly.

_DSC4436aThe humidity is so high that my lens fogged immediately. Ah! But the object is not to complain but to adapt and adjust. The sliver of the moon was fast disappearing. _DSC4440aGet a shot. I did! It’s not the best. But it is. What I needed is a tripod. Instead I used a garbage can (it was the nearest available) and propped my camera. It’s far from perfect. But ingenuity. I used a long exposure and high ISO. _DSC4481aThe image is fuzzy. I adjusted my settings and got something. Digital is amazing. I could get something my eye could see but ordinary film would never record. It’s not much but I would not have a backstory with an image, eh?_DSC4494aIt’s always good to get something. It’s better than nothing. Right? Yup!_DSC4418aThe start of it all. I don’t get the ending because the sunrise coincided with my work day. But what do you know? I got shots. Not good but they are better than a blank sky. Sorry you missed this. There won’t be another till 2033.

The View


El Capitan camp ground. North of Santa Barbara and it’s a wedding destination Jules and Jeff found and arranged.


The lower campground has a large firepit and tables that will be set up for eating. There will be a dance floor. The nice thing is that the guests will arrive and stay for two nights. So the party will go on and on.


The ceremony will be at the top of the hill with the ocean as background. Yes, that would be the Pacific Ocean over Jules’ shoulder. There will be a bus to ferry guests up the hill. It was a nice walk from the bottom but you don’t want to make the guests do any work.

Glamping – yes it’s a term


Jules is getting married next year. It’s called glamping, which she tells me is glamorous camping. Ok! Three styles for your approval. A cabin, it’s cute and has a bed and loft.


The tents have wooden floors and are pretty civilized. And then there are yurts which are round and larger than the tents. They look pretty good to me. And there are amenities – pool, gift shop, grocery, and café. Choose wisely. It sure looks like fun.


The kicker is that camping is communal showers. I like things like floor and ceiling. So it’s the cabin for me.

Starfish In The Sea


There are several types that I see. This one is a pebbled sea star. The other is a Ghardaqa sea star. Arabic does not follow the convention of “u” after ‘q” so it is disconcerting to type, especially names.


Nice. Cute. Solitary. Frequently found under coral. They aren’t too special to me since I have seen lots of starfish in the aquariums I have frequented. But I’m still having fun finding them during a dive.


Natural light does not make the background fade. It gives an overall tint of green with reds washed out. Digital white balance can compensate. Flash gives a more natural look. But then again, why are the animals red at all. At depth the natural color fades and red is not really seen. Or it is dull. So why then be red? There’s a question here somewhere. If you can’t see red are you invisible. Or, does sea life adapt anyway and not see red? Or are fish color blind? I’m not wiki so I will let you look this fun fact up.

Santa Barbara Beach Art


Sunny California. There’s a drought on. So yes, it’s sunny. We were on a tight schedule. No time to dawdle. So we got to the beach and had to get a move on. The reason is that we had to get to the drive-in movie by dark. Wow! So I got a couple pictures. Hey, I live on the Red Sea. So the lack of time at the beach was not too terrible. Of course you don’t see artwork on the beach where I am.


From abaya to nude art, that’s a pretty big leap from where I am. Ah, there’s plenty of sand in the dessert but no naked mermaids in the sand. They have to be here already, right?

Boxer Shrimp


Night dive. Told you, they are fun. These colorful guys are attractive snacks so they stay hidden. Well I wouldn’t know. They seem to be all shell to me. But they are impressive. Of course the veteran divers are pretty blasé about it. To me they are still a thrill. But I’ve shot a lot of them too. Still, I’m excited because they are not easy to spot and hard enough to shoot. No, they are not snack material for me.


I couldn’t resist another shot posted. There’s a lot of color and the antennae are striking. My ability to get a close up does not permit an eyeball view. I live within the limits of my gear. It’s pretty neat anyway.

Chocolate Maya World


Santa Barbara. It’s a beautiful city. California coast. Wealthy. Lovely downtown. Lots of shops. There was a full blown protest march in progress on the sidewalk. Live and let live. The protesters mingled peacefully with the shoppers. We were on for a short stroll before heading up the coast. Down near the beach we passed a little mall. I noticed this store. I see Godiva and walk by. But somehow this store had the right appeal.


I’m also a sucker for toffee lately. Don’t read the recipe. It’s full of sugar and butter. It’s definitely bad for you. But moderation… I keep saying moderation. And then I eat another BLT. Well dark chocolate is my other sin. And the combination was too much temptation. We bought and ate some on the spot and then got a bag to go.


We worried that bag and hoarded it all the way to the end of the trip. No sharing. It was our secret. Good to the last melted piece. It was a car trip. Sure, it was gonna melt.

Twin Chromodorid Nudibranch – How Nice!


Each dive brings something interesting. And on night dives, which happen infrequently usually something spectacular happens. After a while you get used to the unusual. No big deal. I’ve done more than 250 dives. That would be a lot for someone who only dives on vacation. But there are divers with more than 5000 dives. It was during Ramadan. People don’t dive much during the day because they are fasting. So this group showed up to dive at night. How wonderful! We did two this night. That is unheard of. We only do a single night dive. But they came to dive and were doing two. They were gracious as they broke their fast. I was invited to pot luck dinner. Everyone brought stuff and I shared.

Two photographers I knew well. The other two were new to me. And then the last guy showed up late. He arrived as we were ready to go into the water. All the others ribbed him but we all waited patiently. He smoked a cigarette and then we were off. Down around 70 feet we found this nudibranch. It’s relatively bigger than what I am used to seeing. And everyone got shots and video and …. One guy hovered and video lights blazed for a good 15 minutes. And two guys wandered off in the other direction, got separated, and missed this subject entirely. It’s big! I have not seen one since and never before. It was special. And here we are. A single shot among many I made. One. Pick one. I refrain from showing all the other nice images. But then among them, I had to choose one…oh the agony. I look at this one image and the memory of that spectacular dive comes back. It was pretty special that night.


Topanga Canyon


Everyone knows this place. Jules did not mention it. Have I been under a rock. No. It”s a funny and very twisty winding road to the top. And Jules was prepared. She brought some non alcoholic ginger beer to calm her stomach because she got dizzy. She was the driver! We shared the beer. No alcohol for me either.


No. I am not going to show you the canyon. I missed all the shots. My camera was not ready. This was a chance encounter when Jules headed up the twisting winding canyon road to avoid traffic. I missed all the hippie artwork and village. I got some very straight evergreens. And finally we made the 101. Up the road and she had smartphone in hand. Right? Jules refused to go back down on the way back.


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