Friday, October 28, 2011

BOOK II: "Advanced Underwater Photography"

Hello Everyone!

I am thrilled to announce the publication of my second book on underwater photography!

This book is a sequel to my first book: "The Beginner's Guide to Underwater Digital Photography' and its goal is to help an underwater photographer advance in their underwater photography. 

My favorite chapter in the book was written, more or less, by several of my students of UW photography where-in they share their thoughts and some things that are in their minds when engaged in their UW photography during the time they are actually taking a photograph.  The book holds samplings of some of their (most) wonderful images. I whole-heartedly thank them for their contributions and believe the book's readers will too.

I also thank Craig Alesse, Publisher (Amherst Media), Barbara Lynch-Johnt, my editor and Kate Neaverth, Sales and Marketing Manager, for their faith, efforts and work in bringing this book to life!

I am very excited about this book and it is available at Amazon and here is the link:

Be the 'first kid on your block' or 'diver on the dock' to get a copy and enjoy!  The book is informative, written in 'regular guy' terms and with some humor.

Thank you all, lg

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"March Madness" Key Largo style

Hello bloggers, scuba divers, UW photographers and friends!

When I hear the term 'March Madness' it is in reference to the basketball tournaments. It reminds me of my days playing BB and of the spring season in South Dakota which invariably meant we'd suffer one last blizzard during that time. Now days the term has a new meaning to me and in pictures I thought I'd share it with all of you.

We had a wonderfull spring break this year in Key Largo, during the month of March which continues into this month and as I type. I was fortunate in that I dove with several of my regular 'guyz' and some new to me. I will let the pictures tell the story. In no particular order thank you for the wonderfull dives and times to: Andrianna,Mike, Greg, Connie, Rob, Thao, Steve, Chris, Adam, Denis, Julia (and friends) and Jannie!

I like the Key Largo version of "March Madness".  Hope you do too.  Here is a 'roll of 24': 

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Congratulations to Connie!

Hello Everyone!

This morning I blog being both very proud of and so very happy for one of my 'guyz', Connie.
Connie entered Beneath the Sea's Underwater Photography Competition. Beneath the Sea is one of the world's largest consumer SCUBA shows and each year conducts one of the world's largest UW photo competitions with thousands of participants. Connie participated in the 'Conservation' category and received an honorable mention!

I think this is huge and am so thrilled and excited about it. I could not help but make a blog post congratulating her and to also express how happy and proud I am for and of her. 

Connie initially became interested in UW photography due to her concern over the condition of our undersea environment. Her early subjects were and still are of distressed and diseased corals and other marine and aquatic life. It was fitting therefore that she entered her photograph in the conservation category. She e-mailed me this thought about her image: "I like the picture they chose because even though the shark is wounded it is still so proud and magnificent and knows it was the good one in the encounter." I like that.

Connie uses and shoots a Canon dSLR housed in an aluminum housing made by Watershot Inc. Watershot also made a congratulatory blog post about Connie's victory and you can read theirs by following the link to their blog from here:  .

To view all of the winning images from the BTS competition open this link:

Here is her image:
And some others of her on the boat, underwater and one taken at BTS's event:

To enjoy more of her photography visit her website: 

Connie is somewhat shy and humble about her photography and about herself as an UW photographer. So I suspect I am embarrassing her and apologize in advance.  But I wanted to congratulate her and brag a bit about this none-the-less! 

For those of you who know Connie, join with me and be happy for her accomplishment.  Congrats Connie!


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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Adding to my splendid collection of ordinary photographs

Hello fellow bloggers,

During my last couple of outings, I had the great fortune of diving with two of my long time 'guyz',  Greg and Connie.  Most of the dives we did we were shooting Macro lenses.  Macro lenses are a 'hoot to shoot'!   We three all used Canon dSLRs, housed in Watershot and Ikelite housings, strobed by Ikelite, Inon and Sea and Sea.  The Macro lenses used were Canon's EF-S 60mm and their EF-100mm Macros.

I even managed to add a few photographs to my splendid collection of ordinary photographs in the process.

Here is a peek:

Thank you Connie and Greg!  We had great dives together and in good conditions for both diving and doing underwater photography.   It was also my great pleasure to photo-dive with you both :)  lg 

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Monday, February 14, 2011

January/February 2011 "Winter..."

Hello Bloggers!

Whether anyone else does, I thought it time to do another blogpost.  So here goes:

For those living in the Florida Keys, we are all painfully aware that winter is here.  This year winter arrived early (for us) and at the beginning of December.  For those reading this that do not live in the Florida Keys, I am sure I am not receiving any sympathy.  I suppose it does not matter where I , or anyone, lives, it is safe to say none of us scuba divers are fond of winter. 

It is not all bad and could be worse.  Attached is a photograph sent to me by one of my 'guyz', Michael Fulayter of what winter can be and is like in climes further north of the Florida Keys.

Obviously not all bad because we don't have the 'white stuff' here in Key Largo.  Also not all bad because I had the great pleasure of working with both some new 'guys' and a 'couple-three' of my regular 'guyz'.  And shared the reef with some of my local friends and peers.  Pictured below are Alan and Anne who came to work with me on their photography before their trips to Belize and Wakatobi. 

Connie, one of my most frequent 'fliers' was back and as usual, shooting the eyes outta everything!

One of my most favorite and fellow instructor, Louis, was on the boat working with his student and treating us to his pineapple after our dives.

 Another regular shooter of mine, Susanne, was also escaping the northern winter (in South Dakota) and came down with her new Macro lens and gave it a go:

We also had some unexpected visitors on our reefs, the Portuguese Man-O-Wars, and to the extend they carpeted the reefs so densely there were times when we could not dive.  As such they became part of each day's reef report.
Year after year, I am the most viscious of complainers about winter.   Yet without it, I suppose I would not meet or see the people that I do meet and see.  For another example, each winter one of my 'heros' Dr Morgan Wells shows up down here.  He is among the pioneers of diving and was a diver on the Sea Lab projects back in the early and mid 1960s.  I was a teen-ager then and totally engrossed by that project.  How thrilling for me, decades later, then to meet and become friends with one of those divers.

So, while I hate winter, I suppose without it, what would I have to blog about today?  I am still diving with my guyz, new and long time, diving with my friends, hanging out with mentors, taking my photographs and all in good health.  Getting that dry suit that I blogged about earlier has made a huge difference in how happy I am these days on the boats during this time of year.

I am thankfull and thank you all for reading my blog and being part of what I do.  Here is a parting shot, until next time. lg


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Sunday, January 2, 2011


Hello Everyone! 

I could and probably will ramble on (and on) in this blogpost, but, hopefully you will bear with me.  This post will somewhat detail my (little) experience to date about dry suit diving and some early observations about dry suit diving.

A confluence of events occurred in November which were:  my birthday, my wetsuit needed to be replaced with a new one, and I had in mind the past few years to buy a dry suit, and winter came a month early.  Whether my wetsuit was new and un-crushed or needing to be replaced, I have always been cold in it during the months of January and February.  Cold during the dives and cold between and after the dives.   I think the reason for this is a combination of my age and that I am well acclimated to the water temps here in the Key Largo area.

So I placed a call to my friend Sasha who owns SoBe Divers ( and is a Bare dealer and Bare makes both wet and drysuits.   Sasha quoted me a heck of a price (ask me personally as he said he would do the same for any of 'my guyz') so I went ahead with the purchase and called it my birthday present to myself.   For anyone curious the cost was around $800 yet the suit retails for over $1100.

Ordinarly I buy some piece of UW photography equipment, lens or camera.... 

So, I had this dry suit coming and never having dove one, I put the study cap on and read the PADI Dry Suit Specialty course instructor's manual, trying to be a good student of SCUBA.  Did that homework and then counselled with several PADI instructors who both dive Dry Suits and teach dry suit diving.  Thanx Pam Wooten , Georgia Hausserman, Tom Witmer, Mike Waters,  Joe Thomas for all your tips, pointers, advice and suggestions.

When the suit arrived the first step after unpacking it was to read its manual.  I bought Bare's NexGen Dry Suit and substituted its built in boots with ankle seals.  The suit is bilaminate suit rather than any of the neoprene versions of dry suits.  The next step was trimming the seals with the neck seal being the most critical.   Thanx to Dan at Horizon Divers, for his help in getting my neck seal properly trimmed.

Book work done and seals trimmed, the next phase in this grand expirement was the pool training.  Armed with the Dry Suit and an instructor slate full of performance requirements, off to the pool I went, where I spent the better parts of two mornings getting acclimated to the suit and diving in it.  Tom W was pool side and keeping an eye on me and for my safety :)   Friend Mischa was there with a camera to photograph any comedy or tragedy that may have arisen while I sort out diving in this type of suit.  

Finally, got the weather and opportunity to do (now) 7 dives in the open water in the dry suit.  Including a staff dive with Ocean Divers, thanx OD, for the invite  Obviously it is 'different' (than diving in a wetsuit).  The DS itself does not keep you warm, only dry.  So undergarments are worn and enough to keep you warm.  The kind, numbers of layers, of these you wear affects how much weight you need to wear when diving in the DS.  I normally wear around 8 to 10#s of weight diving in my wetsuit and wear anywhere between 16 and 22 #s of weight diving in the DS.  I dive with a minimal amount of air inside the suit.  Just enough to keep the 'squeeze' off.  More on this later.

I use my BCD for buoyancy control both on the surface and UW.  The suit that I bought was not so bulky as to require me to buy a larger BCD than the one I own.  And because I ordered ankle seals I can still wear my full foot fins when diving 'dry'.

A person can buy undergarments made specifically for dry suits.  I chose not to for a number of reasons, and one was cost.  I have a 'darlex' dive skin made by Body Glove that I wear and when necessary I layer tee-shirts, fleecies, or polartech underwear, depending upon the water temps.  Most of the DS specific undergarments that I have seen are thick and therefore hold a lot of air and therefore require additional weights to be added to my weight system.  Although these undergarments are more comfortable insofar as displacing suit squeeze.

Some observations:  While I do not yet have a routine or system down pat yet, donning and doffing the DS is no more or less problematic or work than my donning/doffing my two piece FJ with hooded vest.

There is a saying:   'There are two kinds of divers- divers that pee in their wetsuits and liars'.  I am not a liar and this urge was a concern of mine when  contemplating diving in a DS.  So far I have not had the urge, and this was told to me by other DS divers (that I would not have), and that is the truth!

Given my limited experience, the suit is somewhat restrictive to move in compared to my wetsuit.  The water pressure helps squeeze the air from the suit thru its vent valve(good thing insofar as less weight being needed) but once that is done, the thick, sturdy material of the suit wraps around me.  It does not pinch me because of the layers of undergarments I have, but it does make moving in it more of an effort.  I still have full range of motion and can contort myself any way I need to do take UW photographs, but, it is still a bit cumbersome.  This is hard to explain, and, it is getting to be more comfortable with each dive I do.  I suspect then, that this is something a diver 'gets used to'.   The suit does create more drag in the water column and on the surface, so my movements are slower to prevent over-excertion.  I would not want to do a long surface swim in my DS in any substantial waves or current.  (well for that matter I could say the same thing about my wetsuit)  I am more agile, so far, when diving my wetsuit. 

I thought or expected buoyancy control to be a lot harder for me to gain some mastery of than it turned out to be.  The suit, in this regard, was much easier than I expected, to learn to dive.  Figuring out and dealing with the nuances of the DS's buoyancy was actually a lotta fun and I did a lot of laughing at myself.  

The DS is more maintenance intensive than is the wetsuit.  There is a rigid protocol involving its care and the care of the zipper and seals.  Every two or three years or so, the seals need to be replaced and this is not without cost.  I calculate replacing the seals in my suit will equal the cost of my buying a wetsuit, which I do every three years. 

The dry suit has been a joy for me to own and dive in.  It does, as advertized, keep me dry.  And I am not as cold, if at all, underwater diving it as I am in a wetsuit.  Equally important, I am warm, not freezing cold, when back on the boat between dives and after dives.  So, the trade off seems to be for now, I am warm and dry with less mobility, comfort, and agility during my dives.  I expect that with more dives I will become more comfortable, mobile and agile in the DS.  These are very early impressions and observations.

So:  For me a great trade!!  Thanx Sasha, and Everyone who had a hand in making it possible for me to dive dry. If you are diver who gets cold during dives and freezes on the boat after dives, I highly reco the dry suit.   Pics below for the fun of it:  



A special thanx to my buddies:  Rich R and Connie Z. 

Warm and safe diving to you all in 2011.  lg

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