Word and Image




Everyone has his thing. I chase the little trunkfish. My dive friends shake their heads. On a dive you don’t leave your buddy. Often times my buddies are headed along and don’t wait. So I have to keep up. You can’t leave your wingman as Tom Cruise said. And then the fish does not want its picture taken. You know, the thing about a large man dressed in neoprene blowing bubbles can be an awful sight for a little fish. I got a lot of shots from behind. And a few from the side. And rarely rarely ever from the front. You don’t know how I’ve tried. All you see is the final product. This image is on my short list of images to get. But you don’t just go and shoot this. You dive and dive and wait and wait. Opportunity comes. Rarely. But on this day and in this place…I think the guy was confused. Sometimes it happens. He just swam away and then turned as I pressed the shutter. It happens. It happened. I got an image. I got another. And then we parted. I got the unicorn. If I get the chance I’ll do it again. Chances are I’ll post and be amazed at myself. You will nod and yawn. And I will tell you again – this wasn’t easy!

Bird – Well…Parrot


Yes. Diving. And a parrot encounter. One of the guys brought his pet along. It raised quite a stir. This picture is absent the woman holding the bird. She turned her head and folded her hat over her face. Well, WTF. You know, she wore sunglasses and I really didn’t give much care for how she looked. Besides she’s not in the photo. Sorry. But some customs baffle me. Anyway everyone went away happy. The blur is because I have my underwater housing and the lens is wet. No, I’m not opening the housing for a potential water leak. So I take what I get. Sometimes its good and others its for documentation. I wonder why the bird did not fly away. It was docile and let me pet its beak. It’s surely intelligent. I wonder whether it’s right to capture such a fine creature as a pet. But then again we domesticate, we tame, and we eat. No matter. The parrot was docile and did not mind going from shoulder to arm to head. It got a lot of attention and tolerated the strangers very well.

Christmas Tree Worm


They come in many colors but the anatomy is essentially the same. There are two fans with feathery ends. And there is a central trumpet structure. I shot these before and always the detail was brought out with some aggressive enlargement of the image. Here I have unretouched images with just the close up lens to thank. No cropping. Nope. Cool. The depth of field is shallow. So to get the image in focus is a challenge. You settle for what looks pleasing.


This suffices until I improve and get an even more splendid image. Yup, you keep shooting and trying to get better.


Don’t Try This


I’m behind. You’d never know it. A day late and a dollar short… So this is what I did yesterday. Maybe I’ll catch up to myself soon. Diving. Tax day and other significance…. Shhh! It was the big one. Yeah, alone, but not really. But I did this selfie. My dive buddy thought I had nitrogen narcosis or that I’d run out of air. Fortunately, it was just insanity. He kept on going with just a nod to mania.


I decided to do a selfie. It ain’t easy with this rig. And it was a matter of lighting and…. Well, shoot, it worked. Those are bubbles not blemishes. And the wide-angle does nothing but distort my appearance. And the mask and the regulator don’t help either. So off with the regulator. Don’t lose track of it; or you’re gonna have trouble on the very next breath. I’m writing so I managed to do it. Auto focus does a lot. Got the exposure on the first try.


And then the pose. Well, you can’t do much better. Hey, it’s a selfie.


And what else did I do while diving? Why, I found more hermit crabs. I got the hang of it now. I find them all the time, almost at will. Imagine that. I’m a hunter. I’m a tracker. I just discovered nature. Neat So, this is out of the box and unedited. Really, no enhancement as in no plastic surgery or photoshop stuff.


I can do this but it’s still a work in progress. I need better focus technique. My subject is very small, shy, and does not wish to be disturbed no way no how.



Got your attention , huh? As a photographer, I’m usually not in my own pictures from my camera. Dave and I did a selfie. And then I shot Jules and Dave. I’m glad they grew up and are healthy and have jobs and … Yes, wedding for a day, a return to the event and a look back. I should retire. But then again I like what I’m doing. I still have skill. I was fortunate enough to have found a job in which I actually enjoyed the work. I don’t like the side stuff.


No, indeed! But on the whole I never dreaded going to work. So as long as my skill is good and my judgment is sound… There are those who might protest, but I have pulled off some spectacular saves. There are still a few left for me to do. I’m hanging in. Besides, who else is issuing checks to pay the bills. Yin and yang. There is a balance to life. Good and bad, happy and aggravated. Oh! Never let’em see you happy; someone will want to mess with your serenity. Grrrr….

Guarding Eggs


Fish eggs. Who’d have guessed. It seems that right out in the open, it’s a temptation for any other passing fish. Free food! Ah! But no!


The father? Stays around and guards the unborn offspring. How’s that work? Or is it the mother? Can’t say. But it sure is a nice picture. I swear I see the eyes of one precocious developing fish. Yes, close up lens has opened up a new world. I need a steady hand. Did I tell you that I’m moving and the current is pushing and the … is moving. Oh well!


Shoot early shoot often…nope, there’s a bit of skill needed. You don’t motor drive and hope for the best. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be so special. Right?

IMG_1119For some reason the fish like to lay their eggs on a cylindrical object. So this metal bar acts as a depository. You’d pass this by every time. Amir called my attention. Nice light good exposure. Given the choice I would not leave my eggs out in the open to any passing predator.



This is a close-up of the nudibranch that started the series of hermit crab shots. When you are in focus, you are. There’s no way to fake it. And so you know pretty much whether to keep an image. I could have done better. But while I was shooting this guy, a shell twitched. I’ve learned to watch for movement. Actually it is a primitive sensory input for defense. Anything moving is a potential threat. You knew that, right? And so the eye picks up movement first. Anyway, I saw the shell move. No kidding. That led to a chase and a half. And I was shooting the hermit crab, this nudibranch all but forgotten. See, there was a story somewhere to tell.

IMG_0503I see this particular kind from time to time on the reef. So it’s always fun but not extraordinarily special. Never pass up a shot nature provides.

Crab – No, Not Hermit


Three maybe four inches large, tiny guy, not on par with a tiny hermit crab but he was small. And he was shy. All that hard shell protection and they are very afraid to be out in the light. Which begs the question, where do they catch all the crabs in the market? When they are big enough to eat, are they more stupid too? We were on a night dive. These crabs are sometimes seen at night if you manage to surprise them. The problem is that when you see one you are surprised about as much. So I got a shot. Not much else, and then he was gone. I only posted a single image because that’s all I got. Bye. No second chance.

Night Dive, Hermit Crab, Shrimp


Here is an example of how pitiful things can be. See the eyes? I was pretty clueless. And this was only this past summer.


I got these images on a night dive. That would be diving under water in the dark. No, silly, we use flashlights. This is an entirely new and different experience. Yes, your imagination runs wild. I have friends who are afraid of the dark. Really? Yup! The usual, a shark will get you. He sees the light and comes for dinner. Well, you know that I have been told that the shark sees the light and thinks you are a bigger fish. So they stay away. To which I ask, “Whoever spoke to a shark to find out? And did all the sharks read the same rule book?” My strategy: Always dive with a buddy. Duh! Basic diving 101. And…if a shark comes along, turn off your light. You might have to explain how your buddy was eaten…. So, I got a hermit crab. I saw a shell tumbling. In the dark! And it was a hermit crab! Neat! I got a really bad picture which I was pretty proud of until now. Yes, it’s a pitiful picture considering the luck I’ve had lately. He read the same rules about sharks that I suspect is closer to the truth. Be ready to turn off the light….shhhhh.


And then there was a shrimp inside a coral. Their eyes reflect the flashlight. The problem is that they retreat from the light. So you’ve got to play peek a boo. Well, about all I got was the glowing eyes. Yes, it is only a matter of time before what you thought once was good, was not so good after all.

Hermit Crab Again, Again, and Again


So what are the odds…in the very same next dive. You know the second dive from yesterday’s post. Following along here? Yes! Ali found this at the end of the dive. Oh! Ho hum…ahem.


Another? Yes! And red! And feisty. We’d turn the shell over and this little one held onto the coral! Yes! My exposure and focus were good. And we were at the end of the dive again. How much luck can one have in a few dives. I don’t think I’ll see this again. But wait!


Oh well, the next dive I did see another hermit crab. No shot. Drat. They all look different if you’ve been following and paying attention. No doubt there, right? But my dive book is woefully poor at distinguishing the names. So for now we’ll just go with generic hermit crab.


Hey, it’s about the image, right? I got color, focus, action, exposure, detail, what more? Priceless. I know. I’m congratulating myself. It has been a wild sequence.


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