Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer of the Shark

Remember a couple of years ago when the media declared it the summer of the shark because a few people were bitten in Florida. We humans are the ones that the sharks should really worry about, not the other way around. Anyways, just a quick post from the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Will post more later about this trip, but had to get these whale shark images out because they are the first ones I have every shot. A truly religious experience diving with these gentle giants. The shark was about 18’ long and one of the images has a person in it so you can see the perspective. They are fast swimmers and it was all I could do to keep up with it for a minute or two. We have had some great time in the water and I have photographed some incredible subjects from the cenotes (underground fresh water caves), three species of turtles and countless other marine life. Playa Del Carmen, Holbox and Cozumel have been great and we have had good weather. Today we saw a very rare batfish. Our dive master has only seen three in all of his years of diving. More to come later on my summer of the shark...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Top Honors at 2009 Digital Shootout in Bonaire

Each year, underwater photographers gather in a distant ocean location for an annual Digital Shootout. This year, the event took place June 6-13th, 2009 on the small Dutch Antilles island of Bonaire in the Caribbean. Approximately 50 underwater photographers participated in workshops with some of the best professional photographers in the business and had nightly critiques of the photography.

At the end of the week, each photographer is asked to enter their top images taken at the event for a “friendly” contest. This year there was well over $10,000 in prizes up for grabs including trips to exotic locations, photography equipment and gift certificates.

The top honor at this event is the Jim Watt Award of Excellence for the Best of Show. Jim was one of the earliest professional underwater photographers to adopt digital cameras and was always there to share his passion and tips to new photographers.

This year, I was honored to be presented the Jim Watt Award for my image of a 18” needlefish on the surface. I spent two afternoons stalking the needlefish which are only inches below the water’s surface waiting to launch a surprise attack on unsuspecting schools of minnows. I used both a 12-24mm lens and a 10.5mm fisheye lens to capture the images on my housed Nikon D300 camera. The winning image was taken with the fisheye lens at 1/250th of a second shutter speed and an aperture of F-11. These are fast moving fish and shooting in such shallow waters can be difficult. Because it is such a reflective subject, strobe positioning and power settings were also key to the shot.

Three other images I submitted also placed in different categories as well. All of the winning contest images may be seen at
Make sure you also watch the First Place video. It is hilarious and I actually make a couple of cameos in it.

Jim Watt Award of Excellence - Best of Show
Macro Unrestricted - Second Place

Macro Unrestricted - Honorable Mention

Wide Angle Unrestricted - Honorable Mention

Juried into Sonoran Arts League

I have been an active member of the Sonoran Arts League for three years now and finally submitted my work to the Jury Committee for review. The league is a great organization for the promotion of the arts and the support of local artists. They put on several art shows a year including the popular Hidden in the Hills Tour in November. The Juried Membership program was created to promote professionalism and excellence in the execution of the respective art forms. The committee was comprised of art professionals, instructors and gallery owners. We were asked to submit three pieces that represented our style and body of work. They were looking for different elements that lead or move the viewer. I was honored to find out that I had been juried in by the committee.

To learn more about the Sonoran Arts League, visit their website.