This is just a quick post to announce that I have updated my California Gallery to include recent photo contest winners, and new images taken in the California coast. Please click on one of the the links (or any of the images below) and have a look!
Waterdog Photography Galleries/Southern California (NEW!)
I’ve always wanted to be an award-winning person. It hasn’t ever mattered what the award was for, as long as it was something I earned and had some kind of value. Well, I recently participated in the Monterey Shootout. Now, a shootout is a photography contest that is restricted by time and/or location. In this case, this contest was restricted to 36 hours and photographs had to be taken under water in Monterey, California. Participants could submit up to six photographs in four categories.
The photograph above was entered in the unrestricted wide angle category. This means that the photograph could have some changes made to it via photo editing software. In this case, I removed a few fish that were facing the wrong way. I believe the photo is also cropped by five percent.
The two photos (above) were entered in the wide angle traditional category. This means that the photograph could have only a few global changes to it. In both cases, I bumped up the contrast slightly, and made minor brightness and color enhancements. These are pretty much straight out of the camera.
This nudibranch image (above) is my favorite from the shootout. It was entered in the macro unrestricted category, although I needn’t have made any changes to it. I removed three small dots of backscatter (particles in the water that show up as white spots), and increased the contrast. I had to wait for this slow moving slug to get into position, but it was worth the wait.
Finally, two more traditional macro shots. The one above is a photograph of a top snail. They are so beautiful for a snail that is only the size of my thumbnail. The photograph below is of a hermit crab that really didn’t like my focus light shining in its eyes. After this shot, it turned away from me and refused to show it’s face to me again.
In this contest, points were given for each photograph that placed. Then the points were added up. Those photographers with the highest number of points were able to choose their prize first. Because all six of my photographs received a place, I had the highest number of points, so I had the good fortune of being first to pick my prize. There were lots of fantastic prizes! They offered several different dive vacations, as well as dive gear, camera equipment, and gift certificates. I chose the top prize: a 7 night stay at Misool Eco Resort in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. I look forward to diving there and taking many more photographs!
One of the unique things about diving in California is the opportunity to dive on the oil rigs. There are only a few rigs available to divers and permission to scuba dive on them must be granted by the oil companies that own them. Currently, divers can visit Eureka and the “twins” Elly and Ellen. These rigs are 8.5 miles off shore in Long Beach, California. Eureka, sits in 720 feet of water. The support system for the rig makes an excellent artificial reef and offers shelter for schooling fish and sea lions. Recently, I had the opportunity to dive on Eureka, where I saw the largest school of anchovies I have ever seen.
The structure supports all kinds of life, such as starfish, muscles, scallops, anemones, and mating fish. In the photo below, two Geribaldi aerate their nest of eggs.
Divers enjoy the opportunity to photograph all the life on the rigs.
On this dive, a Cormorant came down to 60 feet deep looking for a meal.
Sometimes, the waters around the oil rigs can be treacherous with large swells, currents, and of course the depth and the hazards of open water. It is recommended that only advanced divers visit the oil rigs. Those that are qualified, will not be disappointed.
One Little Speckled Frog (fish)
Sat on a speckled log
dangling the most delicious bugs,
Frogfish are one of the more fascinating fish to observe. They are equipped with a lure just above their mouth that they dangle like a delicious bug to attract other, smaller fish. They have fins that resemble frog feet that they actually use to “walk”, or “hop” around on! Their speckled camouflage closely resembles the speckled sponges that they hide among, and their shape also resembles the lumpy sponge. They can be a variety of colors, including black, yellow, red, green, white–there are even hairy frogfish!
This was one of the first frogfish I had ever seen. At the time I was photographing it, I wasn’t aware that it was in the middle of a hunt that would end successfully. After a few minutes observation I noticed a tiny fish swimming just to the right of the frogfish.
My subject noticed it too and turned toward it. I started to adjust my camera to a new angle, when BAM! Just like that, the little guy was gone.
The following photograph of a satisfied frogfish was taken 3 seconds after the above photo.
Looking straight down on frogfish, you can see how it uses it’s “feet” to anchor itself in the rocks.
Here, a black frogfish waves it’s lure above it’s mouth.
This white frogfish has freckles that look just like the pores on the sponge it inhabits. Amazing Camouflage!
The following video was shot by Brian Peterson, of a frogfish hunting and catching it’s prey: