Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone!

I wish the very best to any and all of you during the holidays and in the coming new year. I have much to be thankful for and much of it has to do with every one of you!

(about the photo: This photograph was taken by one of my longest time scuba students, photography student and great friend, Scott. And taken many years ago. I wanted such a photograph to use to make that year's Christmas cards with. We determined to scuba dive on a Coast Guard cutter, the USS Duane, which was sunk for diving in 1987. It rests a few miles off shore from Key Largo and in roughly 125 fsw. It is a beautiful wreck encrusted with orange cup and other corals and is home to schools of fish of many species. On a right day:good vis, calm seas, and no current; it is one of the best dives in Key Largo. Scott got a nice capture of a not so great subject, disguised as Santa. Kudos to Scott!)

If you want to leave a comment; 'mouse- curse- and- click' over the time stamp below and it will open this post in a new window enabling you to do so.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Welcome back to Key Largo, Rob!

Many, many years ago, and soon after I launched my website, one of my very first scuba students to come to me through my website was Rob and his wife, Tammy. They had completed the academics and confined water portions of their Open Water Diver course up in the frigid north (Iowa). They engaged me to help them complete their course by doing the four requisite open water training dives. We had a very successful outcome and an enjoyable time. While here, he, being a techie type and me not being one, helped me install my first ever photo editing application on my computer. At that point I considered him to be my new best friend!
Rob and Tammy went back home to Iowa. And I continued teaching my scuba and underwater photography and the years went by. A couple weeks ago, Rob contacted me and was headed back to Key Largo and wanted to do his Nitrox course and Dry Suit Diver course with me while here! We set this up and in the process, I learned that he had since gone on to do his Advanced course and his Rescue diver course. And he and Tammy had been continuing with and in their diving.
I have the credential to teach Nitrox. I do not have the credential to instruct dry suit diving. So, I hooked Rob up with Pam W. who is a friend and a PADI Course Director. Pam learned to dive in NC and they use dry suits up there, more than we do down here. I snapped the photograph above, while Pam was working with Rob in the pool and during his Dry Suit Diver course.
We had excellent diving conditions as he managed to catch one of the few window periods here, in 2008, where the winds had abated. Rob saw his first shark while we were diving at Snapper Ledge!

Rob successfully completed both courses and like many of you reading this blog, is a good student of scuba. He will be taking advantage of the new knowledge and skills he learned here as he dives in Lake Superior. He intends to return this summer bringing Tammy, as she is like me, and prefers to dive in warm waters and sans the need for a drysuit!

So after all these years, I was able to welcome Rob back to Key Largo and will see both he and Tammy again this summer!

If you want to leave a comment; 'mouse- curse- and- click' over the time stamp below and it will open this post in a new window enabling you to do so.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hector logs his 1000th scuba dive!

One use I have found to make use of 'My Blog' is to recognize achievements and accomplishments of 'my guyz'. I met Hector a little over a year ago. He had recently been discharged from the military and was in Key Largo doing his Instructor Development Course. Shortly after his successful completion of his IDC, he participated in my underwater photography course. Hector did both these through Ocean Divers,, the dive charter company I engage. After leaving me and Key Largo, Hector packed his new instructor and photo credentials, scuba and underwater camera and moved to Hawaii. He is engaged as an instructor and photographer at this time and on the island of Oahu. Two of Hector's images, photographed there, are featured in my website's Contributors Gallery. A short while back Hector sent me the photograph above, which was taken on the day he did his 1000th scuba dive! That is a heck of a lot of diving Hector and kudos to You!

If you want to leave a comment; 'mouse- curse- and- click' over the time stamp below and it will open this post in a new window enabling you to do so.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tee-shirt Contest Winner!!!

For the past ten years and around Thanksgiving, I send out a mass emailing to my students of scuba, of underwater photography, to my 'guyz' who regularly dive with me, associates, peers, photography clients and customers, 'mermaids', family and well; just_plain_ole_friends!
I do this after I have finished making my annual changes, additions and edits to my website. I accumulate ideas during the year and begin making the changes beginning after Labor Day, when diving in Key Largo slows down a bit.
The email serves many purposes from just being a way to better keep in touch with everyone to promotional. Like diving, the undercurrent is, it is also for fun. This year in the email, for fun, I conducted a 'contest' and the prize was one of my logoed tee-shirts. To win, the contestant needed to be the first person to email me and in their email identify three changes I made to my website. I mentioned, in this year's emailing, I would announce the winner of the contest here in 'My Blog'.
This was the first ever contest and this year, the contest winner is Mike and Kara. Kara has been diving with me for years and taken many scuba courses from me, including her Divemaster course. She is a great little scuba diver and now a mother and she is also a horsewoman. I feature her here in this blogpost competing in another contest that, I believe, she took third place in.
Congratulations, Kara (and Mike) for winning not one contest but two!
The changes 'they' noted to my website were: that I added two new images to my Gallery, 'Big Mouth' ( a Moray) and 'Natalie's Queen Angelfish' (self explanatory). Somewhat ironic that Kara would notice 'Big Mouth', as Morays have never been her favorite 'critter'! They also noted a new image on my Fun Top Side page: that of Mary M with her camera system. I made additions to the Contributors Gallery and they noticed those, and among those were: Jessica's 'Eye of the Octopus' and Melissa's 'Eyes of the Ray' (validating my premise that in UW photography, the 'eyes have it'). They also noticed links to a 'guyz' ability to order my way kewel logoed tee-shirt, and I believe that their seeing these compelled them to enter the contest. And, of course they noticed my addition of this- 'My Blog'.
Great fun to 'conduct' this contest and not sure what I will do next year! Me being unimaginative and not very creative, will likely do the same thing. So, if you missed out this year, there is always next year. Or, alternatively, you can just order a real kewel dive tee-shirt now!

Thank you Kara and Mike for noticing these changes to my site and I hope Mike enjoys wearing the tee-shirt. Congratulations to a winning couple!

If you want to leave a comment; 'mouse- curse- and- click' over the time stamp below and it will open this post in a new window enabling you to do so.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

An interesting photo shoot.

Once in a while I get contacted to photograph subjects that are not underwater and it is always an interesting shoot. I never know where my own diving and underwater photography will lead me, only that it will be 'interesting'. A week or so ago a local friend of mine, Rick, was contacted by an individual who needed some photographs of his gemstones taken to use in the individual's advertising campaign to sell these stones.
This week, I spent parts of days engaged in photographing some very beautiful and ornate gemstones, Turquoise and it was a new challenge for me. The individual, Capt. Shon, who, along with his partner, Lee, also own a restaurant here in Key Largo, Captiain Shon's Seafood Grill and Pub. They had already purchased all the photographic equipment necessary to do this type of photography and shoot.
We used a Canon dSLR and its 100mm macro lens and a 'shadow box'. Once we got organized the shoot went well. I learned many new things and most of which was about the stones themselves. I did not know how popular they are and as such, there are only three mines in the world that contain enough turquoise to make the mining of them profitable. I had no idea how valuable these gemstones are but learned it when we would weigh each one and weigh them to the 100th of a carot.
Interesting life's experience for this scuba diver. Camera settings were ISO 1600, AWB, F-Stop of F-22 and a Shutterspeed that varied from 1/60th of a second and faster, and varied only due to the reflectiveness of the stone photographed. The camera lens was set to manual focus and each stone focused individually. The shadow box had different types of light choices, and the photos were taken using the halogen choice. We mounted the camera to the box and I used my remote control to trigger the shutter, to avoid camera shake and out of focus photographs.
I wish Capt Shon great success with his endeavor and it was an interesting experience for me to be a small part of. Thank you Rick and Capt. Shon and Lee and for her help in organization!
If you want to leave a comment; 'mouse- curse- and- click' over the time stamp below and it will open this post in a new window enabling you to do so.