Thursday, August 13, 2009

Batman Spotted in Scottsdale Neighborhood Last Night

Batman Spotted in Scottsdale Neighborhood Last Night
It was reported by several sources in Scottsdale last night that they saw Batman swimming in their pool. It was also reported that there is a new skateboarding super hero that Batman has partnered with that only goes by the name of Noah-Hawk. This crime fighting duo seem to defy gravity and possess many super powers. The following images were captured by professional underwater photographer Ron Watkins of All Wet Portraits who was called to the scene for a supposed 5 and 6 year old boys underwater photo shoot. "I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the Batman jump into the pool", Ron told reporters, "and Batman seemed to have picked up some of Aquaman's super powers because he could hold his breath forever." Seconds before the Batman sighting, a young Alex was nearby, but all he kept saying was, "I am Batman! I am Batman!". Although there is a striking resemblance, that claim could not be confirmed at the time of this press release.

The other superhero appeared to be showing his latest crime-fighting skateboarding tricks to Batman. "With moves like the ones he showed last night, I feel a lot safer sleeping at night knowing that Noah-Hawk is on our side", said Scottsdale Resident Karen. Ron Watkins snapped these images of the young Noah-Hawk as onlookers watched in amazement.

For additional information about the Batman and Noah-Hawk sightings in Scottsdale, you can contact Ron Watkins directly at or visit You never know what will happen at one of his photo shoots, but the kids and parents always have fun.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

All Wet Portraits Site is Live

I just realized I had not put a blog entry up for my latest adventure in underwater photography. With the launch of “All Wet Portraits,” I have been creating artistic images of people underwater at home pools, swim clubs, or community pools. The reactions to the images by the clients are so rewarding; it means a lot to me when I see the large framed or canvas prints hanging on their walls. Since most Arizona children spend much of their time in a pool, an underwater portrait is a unique and artistic way to naturally capture that moment in time. Visit the new website at to see some of my recent work. Here are a few of my favorites:

Summer of the Shark (continued)

In June, I wrote about my adventure swimming with an 18' whale shark off the Yucatan peninsula and teased that there would be more shark action to come. Tonight I watched the first night of Shark Week on the Discovery channel and I saw the boat and possibly some of the same sharks that I had just swam with in mid July aboard Jim Abernathy's boat the Shear Water in the Bahamas. There are a lot of great shows during Shark week, but it is always a little corny how they over dramatize the danger of shark attacks and how deadly sharks are to humans. The Discovery channel is responsible and between commercials run a nice piece on the Ocean Conservancy and how the viewer can help save sharks from over fishing and the dreadful practice of shark finning. I always look forward to Shark Week, but the purpose of this blog entry is to tell you about my very own Shark Week.
From July 13 to the 20th, I set out on a sponsored Photography Diving expedition in search of Sharks and Dolphins. 8 other underwater photographers from England, France, Australia and the US rounded out the participants we all got our fill of both dolphins and sharks. But since this blog is titled "Summer of the Shark", I will only share the shark stories and pictures with you for now. More on the Dolphins day and night on a future blog.
After a 7-8 hour crossing to the Bahamas, we started out on a couple of reefs diving with as many as 20 reef sharks at a time. The action was fast and furious and photo opps ample. It was great to have so many sharks coming in so close with a backdrop of such a nice reef. Here are a few pictures of reef sharks.

On Day two we had a Tiger shark show up, but he mostly swam around the perimeter of divers, so although we could all marvel at the site, it was difficult for pictures. Towards the end of the day, I was on the sandy bottom photographing the 6-7' lemon shark when the 10'+ Tiger shark came towards me for a closer look. He swam directly at me and then after getting within 3' of me broke off to the side of me and swam overhead. What a thrill and then he did it again. Although our trip was billed as a "tiger shark" trip, this lone shark turned out to be the only close encounter I had the whole week and I was fortunate to get some pictures of him. We did see a few others and one at night while snorkeling at night which was a little scary.

"We are going to need a bigger boat!"

The next sharks we dove with were the toothiest ones I had ever seen, lemon sharks. These 6-8' sharks are beautiful with catlike eyes and typically show their teeth. We were in the water with up to 20 at a time and you really had to keep your eyes on them because they were quite curious and would come very close if you weren't watching them. they swam very slow and methodical and were a lot of fun. I typically use a wide angle lens when photographing sharks like my 12-24mm, 10-17mm fisheye or 10.5 fisheye, but I was encouraged to try something different and photograph them with a macro 105mm lens. The results were some up close and personal shots. Here are a few of my favorites of the lemons.

I have saved the best for last! There is a very hard to get photo called a lemon snap. Sounds like a piece of candy that grandma would give you, but although very sweet, it has quite a bite. You dangle your camera off the back of the boat while the crew pulls bait through the water to bring the lemon sharks in close to you. the plan is for them to bite at the bait just as your camera snaps away. It is all about timing and a little luck to have the shark bite at just the right time. I hope you enjoy these parting shots and remember, "fish are friends, not food!"

Cave Creek Film and Arts Festival First Place

On the evening of July 18th as I slept in my little bunk aboard the Shear Water somewhere in the Bahamian waters in search of Tiger Sharks, my wife Heidi was accepting the Golden Coyote Award for my first place Photograph in the 4th annual Cave Creek Film and Arts Festival. I knew I was a finalist before setting sail, but unfortunately was unable to attend the Golden Coyote Awards Festival. I learned that I had won after we docked back in West Palm Beach and actually got my hands on the Golden Coyote a few days later. It is a great honor to win this award and I am very grateful to all of the long hours the volunteers put into this event. It was especially cool because a good friend of mine Gil actually hand makes each of the Golden Coyote statues and I had seen them in his studio weeks earlier midway through the process. You can read the entire press release by clicking here. This is my winning image.
"Raja Ampat Turtle"

ImagesAZ Magazine Runs Feature on Ron Watkins

The monthly publication Images AZ ( ran a nice feature story entitled "Underwater Artist – Photographer Ron Watkins". It was published in the July 15 issue written by Writer Paula Theotocatos it provides a look behind the scenes of how I came to be in Phoenix and learned to photograph underwater. Have a look at the online version of the article by clicking here.