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Member Since 25 Sep 2007
Offline Last Active Apr 26 2014 04:23 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: competitions whats your motivation.

24 April 2014 - 05:58 PM

I don't come on here for a very long time...and then I do and see this question.  I'll answer and explain how I view them - please be kind...


There are a few reasons I enter competitions.  The first might seem silly to some, but it is by far the main reason for me: I dive and shoot with my husband a lot (a longtime pro UW shooter), and he is very skilled - so skilled that sometimes, it can be just painful to see what comes out of his camera (I commonly walk away from his downloads muttering, "I suck!" to myself).  However, we work together a lot - both shooting and writing.  I could do this and simply work off of his reputation, but I didn't like the way that felt.  I wanted to develop my own reputation separately from him; competitions are one way to do that.  The second reason is that when I am very fortunate, it can help subsidize my obsession, which is quite pricey ;).  The third is that when it works in my favor, it is a complete and total thrill.


The problem? Competitions can be expensive...and there are just so freakin' many of them!  Also, they are pretty much a crapshoot.  You can enter a photo somewhere and get a huge placement and turn around and enter it somewhere else to not even have it get to the final round of judging.  But this is art, and art is subjective, and you never know what the judges will or won't like.  I do feel that luck is a big part of every win, whether it takes place in the water or in the judging room or both.  Not placing really isn't losing, although I know the feeling and have had to remind myself of this.


Competitions are a lot like gambling.  As such, I have a budget for competition entries, and I stick to it very strictly.  (Some competitions are off-limits because I don't like the rules or reproduction policies. Some are more attractive because I admire the judging panel. But after x dollars have been spent, that is IT for the year.)  I assume that I will be donating that money.  Sometimes it works out, many times it doesn't, but no matter what, I have learned a lot and feel that I have done at least a little bit to achieve some of major objective #1, at least that's my hope.   All that said, I am well aware (as are all savvy photographers) that those entering competitions represent a very, very small subsection of the skilled, fabulous shooters on this earth - most of whom, like you, can't be arsed with it.  That is plain fact. 


Like Tim, I am a huge fan of shootouts - same water, same conditions, same sites, same day, limited processing - that is as pure as it can get in this day and age.  I wish there were more of them!



In Topic: Lembeh vs Anilao

23 September 2013 - 07:02 AM

We have been to both places on multiple occasions.  The macro/critter life is excellent at both places, and it is true that Anilao is easier to get to from the states.  However, in my opinion, Lembeh has the edge in terms of resort quality, conditions, critter density - and especially (sorry, Dustin) wide angle sites.  There are sites along the edges of the Strait and the backside of the island that are phenomenal, and there are a couple of nice shipwrecks in the Strait, as well.  Steve Williams wrote an article on WP recently about returning to diving after a medical issue, and he posted lovely images as well as a trip video that demonstrate  some of Lembeh's W/A. 


Note - this is a matter of opinion - I know many divers who love Anilao and return often! 

In Topic: Dive options - mid May in Califoirnia

31 May 2013 - 06:25 AM

Hi -


I dove warm water for 10 years before I ever pursued cold water - and I am a wuss like you wouldn't believe.  I took my drysuit class north of Boston the week after Thanksgiving when the air and water temps were in the 40's - and I knew the water was cold, I could feel the cold on my face - but once I knew I could handle it, I was fine. 


If you are willing to accept the additional/different gear (and give yourself time to get used to it), cold water diving is for anyone.  Conditions in California can be widely varying, and I think it is fair to say that every dive here is not Bonaire awesome (and may, indeed, involve 10 ft vis) - but you have an incredibly rich environment very close by, and on a good day, absolutely nothing beats a local dive.  Bonaire included, IMO :)

In Topic: N. Sulawesi: Bunaken or Gangga??? (following 10 days at Lembeh)

29 May 2013 - 10:14 AM

Another vote for Bangka over Bunaken, but I wanted to add something else...


My husband and I just ran a great workshop with a small group in Lembeh focusing on wide angle imagery - May of 2013, so we are just home.  Lembeh Resort helped us put this together, so they will know where we went and have guides adept in finding wide angle subjects and sites for you (I am sure other ops could do the same, of course).  There are FANTASTIC w/a opportunities to be had in and around the Strait, so don't discount it as all macro.  Following is a video we made using images from our participants - Andy and I each stuck in about 8 images, as well.





In Topic: Dive options - mid May in Califoirnia

06 May 2013 - 10:08 AM

Hi, Julian -


(Sorry for the delay - I tried to reply last week but was having trouble logging in...)


Gina is right on about May.  In general, IMO, March through May are not ideal in California. Springtime = storms and upwellings, so although we sometimes get great nudibranchs and jellies...they are often in mucky, green water.  We dove Catalina a week ago, and although we found pockets of decent vis, it was not great by any stretch of the imagination, maybe 40 ft max at one site; I heard that wreck alley had 10 ft vis max on the same weekend.  We also dove twice in La Jolla over the past week, but San Diego's been experiencing a south swell, so we've had weird currents and less than optimal visibility. 


San Clemente Island is consistently good and can range to incredible, but the biggest issue this time of year is the crossing - you need calm seas.  If it's iffy, you can cross to find yourself trapped in one lame anchorage for the whole trip. 


The oil rigs are one of my favorite So Cal sites, but I try to avoid diving them between February and about July simply because I can - I've experienced worse visibility and current in the spring than any other time of year - the rigs are daunting on a good day, and on a 15 ft vis day with a 1+ kt current and/or lots of surge, it is tough to see what the fuss is about. 


In short - while the weather/vis here is always hit or miss, if you can plan a trip for August through October, you're giving yourself the best chance to get a great day.


For San Diego, we love Waterhorse Charters for the wrecks/day trips.

For San Clemente, if you can do a multiday, Horizon out of San Diego is a nice boat; if you're farther north, check the Sundiver (out of San Pedro) schedule to see if they are running to SC and/or Santa Barbara.

For the oil rigs, Catalina (including Farnsworth), and even day trips to San Clemente, we use Selky Charters (out of Huntington Beach).  This is a six pack operation with no compressor on board, and you'll have to prearrange any gear needs (including tanks/weights), but the captain will tailor to your wants/needs - book ahead, as she is in demand.  The Sea Bass (out of San Pedro) also runs rigs and Catalina day trips, and they have a compressor on board (EANx was being fixed last time we were on, but he should have it running by now).


Hope this helps you plan future visits - California is incredible, even with the hit-or-miss nature - keep coming back, it is worth it!  Hope you enjoy Point Lobos - what an incredible site.