Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A First

I have been a member of the Orange County Underwater Photographic Society for nearly a year now. There are some really amazing photographers in the group. Each month there is a photo contest based on a set theme. This months theme was "yellow". Tonight was a proud moment when I took my first 1st place win for this photo of a seahorse, taken on my recent trip to Roatan Honduras. Yay!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Inspiration, Impulse

 My warm water wetsuit has been hanging dry in my closet for about 8 months now. Other than a few local outings, my camera rig is begging to be pushed a little for use. I can feel the familiar pull. The itch. The need to get in my zone. Me, my camera and a beautiful reef in warm clear blue.

A few weeks ago I was invited by an accomplished underwater photographer to join a small group to explore what is becoming known, within the circle of underwater photographers, as one of the most productive areas in the world for photographing rare and unusual marine creatures. Places like PNG and Lembeh are already legendary for the amount of bizarre critter encounters found there. But this was something different. This was Anilao and Puerto Galera, Philippines. And the images I've been seeing and types of creatures being photographed there were stunning. With curiosity piqued I wondered, how would it stack up?

Though I have a lot to be thankful for, 2010 was a rough and difficult year for me, for a number of reasons. So, with everything going on, when I was given this sudden and last minute opportunity, it was very difficult for me to find a way to commit, on such short notice. It was a photo safari to some lush reefs and critter rich muck sites with a small group of top-notched photographers. It was a chance for me to learn and shoot in my favorite region in the world, the coral triangle of the Indo-Pacific. But it was a big decision to make, with too many factors to consider in a short period of time. I spent a week or two of researching, pricing flights, crunching numbers, discussing, working out logistics, going back and forth, never being able to find a good reason to just throw caution to the wind and just go for it.

Then one afternoon I was channel surfing and came upon a documentary film called "Edge of Never". The film was about big mountain skiers and Kye, a 15 year old boy who's father, an extreme skier, died on the treacherous slopes of Chamonix, France. Kye heads to Chamonix to be mentored by several of the worlds top extreme skiers to conquer the same slopes that took his father just 9 years before. The film follows several passionate and legendary skiers and a young boy who is given the opportunity to learn from these same icons that his father had utmost respect for and to enter into their world, allow them to take him under their wing and to share their passion.

I realized that this was an opportunity for me to share an experience and to gain and exchange knowledge with a group of respected and seasoned underwater photographers, divers and naturalists in a place considered to be a haven for U/W photographers. So as 2010 came to a close, I decided that 2011 should begin with a much needed kick start. An intense diving experience with people sharing a similar focus. And for me, my camera and the warm clear blue.