Friday, August 5, 2016

My latest book is available now to pre-order at Amazon!

This is a very rough announcement just to get the word out for now.  Will be editing and elaborating later, but, for now here is the link-  (clicking on the image should take you to my book at Amazon)

I am very pleased with how well this book turned out.  A special thanks to my editor Barbara Lynch-Johnt who took my mortar and bricks (text and photos) and created such a wonderful building that can be used by underwater photographers progressing through the endeavor.  I believe this book will be enjoyed by non-divers as the imagery included covers most things we divers and UW photographers typically see.

What follows is the editing (of this blogpost) and elaborating (on this new book) promised earlier and above:

My first book, "The Beginners Guide to Underwater Digital Photography" covered the basics or fundamentals of taking photographs underwater.  A 'starter' on cameras used and settings and their relationships, along with composition and subject matter.  My second book, "Advanced Underwater Photography" was a follow-on or sequel to the first.  It defined equipment choices and the book was augmented by engaging other photographers lending their thoughts and techniques.  This book is image based and the text describes in detail the image and its making.  In a sense it is journalistic. It answers questions such as: 'What is it?' What type of camera and or lens was used?' 'What strobe(s) if any was used?'.  'What camera and or strobe settings were selected?'  In many cases, 'Where was the photograph taken?'  In addition there are sections in the work that I think differentiate this book from others.  One section speaks to using the cell phone's camera for UW photography, another speaks to taking UW photographs in fresh bodies ofwater or green water environments.  Yet another section gives some tips on how to take specific types photographs.  Given the high image to text ratio, this book is of value to non-divers and those not participating in UW photography and will provide enjoyment in the 'coffee table book' context. 

Order a copy.  For yourself, a loved one or a friend!   Aloha, Larry

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Vivid-Pix Photo Editing Program !

Oh my it has been a while since I last blogged.  Although until now, there hasn't been all that much to 'write home' about.  I recently came across a product that does excite me and is useful to me and I think it will be to many of you also, so figured this was something to 'write home' about.

It is a photo editing program named Vivid-Pix.  I first read or heard about it a little over two years ago when it was first introduced.   I again came across it within the past couple of months and noticed it has a free 30 day trial period, so thought what the heck, and downloaded and installed it.  I was working with a lot of photos and on a project with my book publisher and figured another editing tool in my box, along side of Elements and Lightroom wouldn't hurt.  And in fact it helped.  There was one photo I had been wanting to use in this project but was losing the wrestling match with it in Elements and Lightroom.  Vivid-Pix came to the rescue and I was able to satisfactorily adjust the image and be able to use it in the project.

I did a Facebook post about Vivid-Pix and provided a link there to download Vivid-Pix and enjoy the 30 day free trial period.  I will provide that same link here and near the end of my blog.  Before that I would like to tell you a little more about Vivid-Pix, its backstory and a bit how it works.

Vivid-Pix was developed and designed by two computer gurus, Rick Voight and Randy Fredlund.  Both are divers and underwater photographers.  They designed (and patented) a simple to use, yet effective, program and targeted at amateur underwater photographers.  To me, it is most useful to those of us who do not use or have a strobe and to me personally it has salvaged several photos that I took when my strobe did not fire.

The program is small and downloads quickly on either a PC or Mac, taking me less than ten minutes.  Vivid-Pix does not use a lot of my computer's horsepower to run it.  Once installed it is very simple for me to use.  You needn't be a photoshop guru of any sort to use Vivid-Pix.  I open Vivid-Pix and first select the image I want to work with:


 Once I select the photo from its folder a copy of the photo is created and displayed in Vivid-Pix in what they call a "9-Up".  Along with the 9-up (one of which I select) a dialogue box appears to guide me in making my selection:

Once I make my selection Vivid-Pix presents it alongside of my original photo:

If I am happy, satisfied with this version of Vivid-Pix's edit I simply select 'Save Vivid Pix' and Vivid-Pix will save it using its original file name with 'Vivid' added and save it back to an in the same folder the original was in.   Vivid-Pix is 'non-destructive' and my original image is left unaltered and in its original condition.  At this point, I have spent less than five minutes time with this image and mouse-clicked three times.  Once to open Vivid-Pix, once to decide on one of the '9-Ups' and once to 'Save Vivid Pix'.  I've yet to see anything simpler!

However, if I think I could improve the image there are 7 sliders (including one named "Max Vividness")  that I can use to adjust the image further.  These I use to experiment with and can always reset them.  Here is an example of an 'experiment' using the sliders:

Vivid-Pix also has a crop tool.  To use it, we simply mouse curse to the part of the image we want to begin our crop at and (left-mouse click and hold and diagonally drag your cursor across the image to create your crop.  This can be re-done if not happy with the first attempt.  Here is an example of a before and after photo that there was several things wrong with it, that using Vivid-Pix, I was able to 'fix' most of.   Here is the 'before' photo:

I was in Bonaire at the end of my dive heading back to shore when I crossed paths with this Parrotfish and a Trumpetfish stalk-hunting with the Parrotfish.  I did not have time to get a better vantage point and to try to get closer.  So, I had to shoot at a downward angle to capture this fish behavior (which Vivid-Pix can't fix) and at a farther distance than I would have liked to be.  Vivid-Pix and its cropping feature helped with that.  Also as luck would have it, and it being the end of my dive, my strobe batteries were exhausted, so my photo was less colorful than it should be.  Here is the 'after' photo:

I'm impressed.  At least enough to 'write home' about.  I think you will be too.  And also think it is worth the time to download the free 30 day trial of Vivid-Pix and see for yourself with a few of your own images.

Here is the link:

Oh, by the way, it is fun to use.  lg   

POST SCRIPT Dateline January 25, 2106.  During the weeks I worked with Vivid-Pix I received daily emails from Rick or Randy about how to use their program.  And a couple asking for suggestions.  And I spoke on the phone a couple times with Rick.  Great guy.  They offered me an opportunity to become an 'Affiliate' and I accepted.  So in the interest o fair disclosure, I will receive a revenue share should any of you purchase Vivid-Pix during or after your trial period. I am also adding a couple more examples of what Vivid-Pix can do:  

The above is 'before' and the below is the 'after'-

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Long time since my last Blog!

Was away in the Black Hills for most of July.  When I got back I had received a ton of emails, like anyone else gone for a while.  One was one that I had forwarded to myself after having created the email on another machine and when I was in Arizona last winter.  I created a Picasa Album and a link to share the album or to use as a 'blog' and forgot about it.

Well, until checking my emails today.  The photos are captioned and labelled and pretty much self-explanatory.  (there are a few photos of Cyotes scaling a masonry wall that I did not take and are not mine)

Anyway, delayed as it is, hope you enjoy the story of my winter trip 2013-2014!  Here is the link:

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Return to Bonaire, 2013 !

Hello Everyone,

Well I am finally getting around to blogging about a trip diving I took to Bonaire with three good people and friends last January.  This was my second, and I hope not my last trip to Bonaire.

My first trip was in 2010 and details about Bonaire and that trip can be found here:

This trip was very much the same as my first time and am glad to report it was.  We, Wendy, Ann and Alan and I stayed at Buddy Dive Resort and our resort reservations were again handled by Andy of Bonaire Pros.  Thank you Andy for getting us all adjacent rooms. 

We flew from Atlanta and on Delta Airlines direct, non-stop leaving on Saturday and returning the following Saturday.  Our departure time on Saturday was late enough to allow us the chance to dive on Friday morning, so we had six days available for diving.  We also arrived in Bonaire early enough in the day to have ample time to get checked in, moved in, relax and have happy hour before dinner. 

Buddy Dive still has their all you can eat buffet breakfast, which was included in our package and was sufficient enough for me to carry me thru to dinner time.  BDR still has a wonderfull 'house-reef' and this time featured part of their newly established reef restoration project.  Buddy Dive runs three single tank dive trips each day at convenient times and other multi-tank boat dives can be easily arranged. 

I went to Bonaire this time as much to just relax and escape the cold high plains winter as I did to scuba dive and do UW photography.  It was a luxury just to do a dive any time of day or night that I felt like it, whenever I felt like it, and on the other hand, to not dive.  I did 11 or 12 dives while the rest of the gang did 16 or more.  We had beautifull weather for vacationing and for diving our whole time there.  We missed a solid week of rain which happened and ended just before we arrived. 

Buddy Dive has different accomodations and again we opted for the 'apartment' style.  I recommend this choice.  BDR is a major property on island but its layout makes finding your way around easy and everything is close enough to easily walk to.  

The dive operation is very professional and helpful and most friendly.  Smiles from evereyone all the time.  I can say the same thing about the rest of the staff there.  Groundskeepers, housekeepers, bar and restaurant staff.  Top notch.  Food is good and they have upgraded their menu and were constantly asking us whether we were happy with our entrees.     

The diving in Bonaire is about as easy as it gets, as long as you dive either from the boats or from any of the island's resorts' house-reefs.  Depths range from 15 to a bit over 100 fsw. With calm seas, void of current, good visibility and easy entries and exists.  And the water temperature was 82 degrees.  Like last time I was fine in a 3mm shorty.  Had I done more diving I would reco a full one piece 3mm suit. 

Here are some photos snapped during the trip.  Last year we went to Roatan, in February, with some others and Allan celebrated his B-Day.  This year while in Bonaire, Wendy celebrated hers! 

Between my first blog on Bonaire and this one, I hope any of you reading these will find your way to Bonaire.  And my tips, suggestions, and experiences will help you plan your trip there.  lg

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Monday, December 10, 2012

'Life on the High Plains'


Hello Everyone! As promised this is the third of a series of blogs I mentioned doing many many months ago.
In August of 2011, after spending roughly the past 20 years scuba diving, I returned to the state of South Dakota, on the high plains.   The above photo was taken 37 years ago on my preferred mode of transportation.  Harley Davidsons.

I did this blog because some friends were curious as to what I am doing up and over this way and/or were curious about the life and way of life in this part of our country.

There is a sharp distinction and contrast in many ways between life on the high plains and life scuba diving in the Florida Keys. A cultural difference, yet people here on the plains have much in common with people in the Keys. Both seem to prefer wide open spaces, nature and wild life verses city congestion. Both like life simple and take enjoyment from the simple things in life.

During my years scuba diving, teaching it and doing underwater photography and showing others how, I unintentionaly abandoned activities that I call 'normal human being things'. I ate, slept and breathed scuba and UW photography.

A plus to being back on the high plains has been I have rediscovered these things and depicting these is a part of this blog and its accompanying photographs. Simple things like going to the movies, plays, concerts, cookouts and foods with friends, the county fair, visting a museum, a high school basketball game, the senior prom, events of sorts held at the mall, and road trips that criss-crossed the state and surrounding states that help comprise the high plains.

While I am not shooting much underwater, I have been trying to use my cameras to capture my experiences on the high plains and what it is like here. Most of you reading this have never been to this part of our country and most of you who haven't been in this neck of the woods have told me over the years that you would like to visit.

I created an on-line photograph album of my times, experiences and sites and include the link to it below. I hope the album gives you a picture of 'life on the high plains'! 

Here is the link:

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Return to Grand Cayman Island !

Hello fellow bloggers,

A couple months ago I learned that two friends, Michael W and Denise O moved to Grand Cayman Island a few months prior to that. As a joke, I asked 'what color is my room'. Their immediate reply was 'the Gates suite' is open and ready for whenever I and a travelling companion can get there!'

Well, I happen to have a friend who is a travelling companion and we happen to have a friend who is a travel agent so we booked our trip there and for a week in duration. This trip was a sudden and almost a last minute trip. As such neither I nor my travelling companion, Wendy, had any big 'must do while there' plans. My goal was to go to Grand Cayman and see Michael and Denise, enjoy the weather, eat seafood drink a few beers and do a little diving with my camera. I had not been to Grand Cayman since 1996 so thought it would be great to go back and see and dive it again.

Both Michael and Denise are scuba divers and Michael has an interest in free-diving and shooting video with his Gro Pro video camera setup. Denise is a wonderfull UW photographer and former scuba instructor. I met both in 2010 during the time they spent with me in Key Largo working with her as she just purchased a new housed dSLR UW camera system.

Wendy had never been to Grand Cayman Island so had no preconceived ideas about the place and her goals were to go to a warm place, meet Michael and Denise, do a little diving and eat a lot of seafood. The only diving goal I had was to make sure Wendy got to do Stingray City. This blog is kinda akin to a trip-report. It is not very well organized but I wanted to publish the blogpost as soon as possible, while things were still fresh in my memory. I also want it to serve as part of a huge thank you and debt of gratitude owed to Denise and Michael for welcoming us into their home and island.

Our travel agent and friend, Gloria, scored us a wonderfull airfare and great itineary. We flew American Airlines from the high plains to Chicago, Miamia, Grand Cayman Island and back in reverse order. AA had some mechanical issues and while we arrived on schedule our luggage did not make it until late the next day. This was okay as I enjoyed my first day just being in Grand Cayman, enjoying Michael and Denise's hospitality and their wonderfull home on the beach and water.

We also stocked up on some provisions at one of GCI's well-stocked grocery stores and more than stocked up on adult beverages. Most of the foods we ate, we ate out. We ate at the Sunset House, Cobalt Coast, Macaruba's, Morgan Harbor, The Prime (a Brazilean steakhouse) and Deckers (all the grilled lobster you could eat) to name some of these. Foods we ate included-Mahi, snapper, triggerfish, scallops, shrimp, salmon, fish (grouper) and chips, lobster, steak, rib, lamb, chicken and pork. We hardly starved.

The Cayman Islands can be a spendee place but due mainly to the exchange rate. A Cayman Island Dollar is worth roughly $1.25 USD. For example a fish sandwich listed at $10 CI on the menu is $12.50 USD. Tipping is accepted and the average is 15% for anyone who serves you in any way. The service we experienced everywhere was excellent. CI has a departure tax as do many Caribe Islands and theirs is $20 USD and already included in your r/t airfare. Grand Cayman has a good first world infrastructure with goods and services available there that we have in the US. The island hosts a lot of divers so it has whatever a diver may want or need. I wouldn't want to drive in GCI as they drive on the left hand side of the road. If you go there and are a diver you will likely stay at a dive resort and not need to. I, staying at the 'Gates Suite, GCI' had 'my man', "Wingrave".

I have good things to say about a dive store, Divers Supply (whose staff of this well stocked dive store helped with a regulator issue), Divetech, a premiere dive operation (that we did Stingray City with), Sunset House and Eden Rock two other dive operations whose facilities we used to do some shore-diving.

The weather was near perfect during our stay. We had one rainy afternoon, which we used to simply relax at Michael and Denise's beautiful home. The rest of the time it was sunny with a slight breeze if any. Daytime air temperatures were in the mid 80s or warmer, and I never needed long pants or a jacket during the evening. Water temperature was 82-ish and I was comfortable doing 50 minute+ dives wearing my 3mm shorty. The diving in Grand Cayman Island is fairly easy. In the sense that even if currents exist or waves are rocking, sites can be found and dove where there are no currents or big waves. Divers have been diving a long time in the Cayman Islands. They, like the Bahamas (and Hawaii in the Pacific) were pioneer islands back in the day when dive travel got its start. The Caymans have all the corals and aquatic life, large and small, along with super visibility that is found in other parts of the Caribe. The Caymans, in my opinion, are one of those diver-places that if you have not been there, you should go there, and, if you have been there, it is worth going back to.

Well, I hope I gave a good enough trip report in this blog and that some of it will help you should you go to Grand Cayman. I know in this blog I can't thank Denise and Michael enough. The trip gave me a nice break physically and spiritually from life on the high plains and a chance to see Grand Cayman and dive it again. Wendy had one of the thrills of her diving life with the Stingrays and travelling to a new place. So for these reasons and many others thank you Denise and Michael; we both had a trip and time of our lifetime!

Follow this link to some images, especially Denise's, taken during our trip:

Happy diving, lg 

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