Word and Image


Odd and Ends – Get it?


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.

Random Flowers


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?

Rained – Two Feet of Snow


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 To Me

IMG_3520Pixie Hawkfish –

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.

Other Side of the Road


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?


Feather Duster Worm and…


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?

Bixby Bridge – Your Call


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….

Do This

IMG_7159 copy

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.



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