Nineteen intrepid divers joined Todd Winner for a 3-day (Thurs-Sat) dive trip on the Peace to San Miguel Island (and Santa Cruz/Flame Reef) last week. Todd (with Michael Ziegler) runs Immersed Imaging and he ran a great trip. We left Ventura on Wednesday midnight and woke up at San Miguel to bright, hot, sunny weather. We did 5 dives on Thursday and found tons of interesting critters, lots of nudibranchs, small shrimp and a several amphipods that mimic some common nudibranchs. Late Thursday the wind came up and we spent the night at Santa Rosa but Friday morning we were back for another 5 dives at Miguel. Again the wind came up and again we overnighted at Santa Rosa and woke up at Flame Reef (one of my favorite SOCAL dive sites). Three dives later we were heading for home. The crew of the Peace did their usual fabulous job, with awesome food and great service on the dive deck. The only hiccup on the trip was an odd incident where a photographer absently minded dropped a rechargeable battery in the toaster (guilty as charged) perhaps to warm it up for the cool water. During the trip Todd graciously shared his photographic knowledge (but sadly not his skill) with many of the newer photographers on board and we all had a great time. If you get a chance and you can fit into an Immersed Imaging trip you will have a great time.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I went to Maluku Divers to do a photo seminar/class with the Underwater Tribe. Mike Veitch and Luca Vaime led a group of 8, 7 photographers and my wife the videographer ( who has listened to the f/stop, aperture story for the 20th time and keeps asking what an f/stop is) for a week of diving the muck sites of Ambon. The class was held at Maluku divers and Joe and Emily showed us great hospitality, good food and lots of great diving. Over the course of the week, we had seminars on basic shooting, advanced techniques, some basic Lightroom classes. The classroom teaching was very good, Mike is a great teacher and Luca did a fine job on the Lightroom side, but it was in the water that made this class very special. On each day Mike would take 4 of us and Luca the other 4 and worked hands on with each student during the dive. Unlike almost any other photo class, neither Mike nor Luca took a camera into the water, only a slate. They would help us think about what to shoot and how to shoot it and they did lots of looking at our pictures after they were shot, writing furiously on the slate to change this or that and try again. One thing that we worked on quite a bit is how to use high power LED lighting instead of strobes or as backlighting for shooting larger critters. After the diving they were available every day for photo critique during the afternoon when we were not diving. The diving was typical Ambon with several Rhinopias in varying colors, lots of nudibranchs both common and relatively rare, lots of hairy shrimp, one green shrimp (the very tiny one), and tons of other muck critters including the very hard to shoot shrimp that lives in the blue tunicates. Overall, we had a great trip and want to thank Joe and Emily for running a great operation, and Mike and Luca for helping us all make our pictures better and for making the whole week great fun.
Our next meeting is next Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 at the Natural History museum in Los Angeles.
Jack Connick the owner of Optical Ocean Sales will be with us showing some amazing images from Raja Ampat, teaching us how to do some Close Focus Wide Angle and suggesting ways to use still cameras to shoot video (can they do that?).
Meeting starts at 7:30 at the Museum. See the website (laups.org) for more information.