Recent Articles

  • Those Darling Dorids: SoCal Nudies Exposed

    Those Darling Dorids: SoCal Nudies Exposed

    Many underwater photographers love nudibranchs and I am not the only one with numerous images of these colorful creatures. We Southern California divers are lucky; of the more than 170 species found off the Pacific Coast, a large number live in our part of the ocean.  Most nudibranchs range in size from less than an inch to several inches long …Read More »

  • Just Ducky: Preparing Your Camera System for a Dive

    You’ve probably heard this quote about achieving success, “Be like a duck on a pond; always appear calm on the surface but keep paddling like crazy underneath.” I know a lot of successful underwater photographers that can relate, but in reverse. You see, we do a large portion of our paddling on the surface — before we hit water — …Read More »

  • A Rolling Stone

    A Rolling Stone

    “A rolling stone gathers no moss.” This proverb has been around since the 1st century B.C. and as is often the case with proverbs, it’s wide open to interpretation. One way for us as divers to interpret this proverb is from the standpoint of “move it or lose it.” In order to get the best experiences out of our sport, …Read More »

  • Making Sense of MPAs: A Guide to California’s Marine Protection Areas

    Making Sense of MPAs: A Guide to California’s Marine Protection Areas

    The world’s oceans are under siege. That’s not exactly news, especially for divers. Overfishing, pollution, coastal development, habitat destruction, climate change. You name it. The oceans seem to be suffering from it. And here in California, our ocean is no exception.  Scientific studies tell us that without any significant change in commercial fishing regulations, the total tonnage of finfish and …Read More »

  • Naming Names: A Diver’s Guide to Taxonomy

    Naming Names: A Diver’s Guide to Taxonomy

    As kids most of us learned the common names of many of the plants and animals we encountered in our everyday lives. We learned the common names of various trees, flowers and butterflies as well as names of iconic species such as the bald eagle and killer whale. For many years and most applications our use of common names seemed …Read More »

  • She Seas Sea Stars: Sea Stars Exposed

    She Seas Sea Stars: Sea Stars Exposed

    Lying on or crawling ever so slowly across the bottom, the sea star looks deceptively simple and slightly out of place — like it might have fallen from a child’s crude drawing of the night sky and landed on the sea floor. But don’t let the sea star’s appearance fool you. It’s a complex, fascinating creature, indeed.  For example, the …Read More »

  • ScubaChef: Savory Grilled Seabass

    ScubaChef: Savory Grilled Seabass

    The California white seabass isn’t actually a seabass at all, but is a member of the croaker family. It is also known as the king croaker, weakfish and seatrout, and is prized by commercial and recreational fishermen because of its mild flavor and flaky texture. Thanks to ongoing conservation efforts the California white seabass has received a “Best Choice” rating …Read More »

  • Spiny Skinned and Symmetrical: California’ s Sea Urchins

    Spiny Skinned and Symmetrical: California’ s Sea Urchins

    My introduction to sea urchins — on my first scuba dive — was a learning experience. I learned how easily their sharp, brittle spines pierce human skin. Most importantly, I learned to avoid contact with sea urchins, which is easy because the animals are sedentary, slow moving and not aggressive. Sea urchins are classified as Echinodermata, which means “spiny skinned”. …Read More »

  • Welcome to the Second Golden Age of Diving

    Welcome to the Second Golden Age of Diving

    I attended the 43rd San Diego Underwater Photographic Society (SDUPS) Film Festival recently. Held at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the event showcases still photographs, slide presentations and videos from SDUPS club members.  We were treated to one fantastic image after another. We saw it all from nudibranchs and squids to sharks and whales. The imagery came from destinations as …Read More »

  • Exploring a Not-So-Barren Landscape: The Sand Biome

    Exploring a Not-So-Barren Landscape: The Sand Biome

    Some divers swim over patches of sand in California as if they are trying to escape from something. The faster they go, the better. I understand the magnetic appeal of the adjacent kelp forest and rocky reef communities, but experience has taught me to appreciate, rather than avoid, the sand biome. At first glance, some sandy areas appear to be …Read More »

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