kelp

Here, Fishy Fishy: How to Photograph a Fish

Own an underwater camera system and dive in California, and before long you’ll find yourself trying to create a great photograph of a fish. After all, with more than 550 species of fishes off the California coast we have a lot of great subjects. You’re practically guaranteed to have greater success if you develop a strategy for photographing fishes. I’ll share mine in this article and I encourage you to ask other photographers for their input. It’s wise to trade little bits of strategy, philosophy […]

Scuba Chef — A New Twist on an Ancient Recipe: Sheephead Ceviche

Serves 4-6 Ingredients: 1 pound fresh sheephead fillet, cubed 8-9 limes, juiced 2 tomatoes, diced 4 green onions, minced 2 stalks celery, sliced ½ yellow bell pepper, diced ½ chopped fresh parsley Freshly ground black pepper 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro For garnish: avocado or mango slices, corn chips, cilantro sprigs Directions: Place sheephead in a medium-sized nonmetal bowl and add lime juice, making sure the fish is completely covered with juice. Cover and refrigerator at least 4 hours or […]

Good, Better, Best

Few places on earth are as inviting as a California kelp forest in autumn. When diving conditions are favorable, as they so often are in the fall, we enjoy a wonderful opportunity to observe a diverse mix of as many as 800 species of marine creatures in an absolutely stunning setting. We have it all from playful herds of California sea lions to schools of silvery jackmackerel making their way through the forest maze to a dazzlingly colorful exhibition of rainbow colored nudibranchs on the […]

Nicoise Salad, California Style

Classic Nicoise salad hails from the southeast coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea. Its name means, prepared “in the style of Nice” but I’m giving it a California makeover, featuring fresh-caught local kelp bass instead of the traditional tuna, and topped with goat cheese and dried figs and savory vinaigrette dressing. I encourage you to mix it up a bit and put your own twist on this classic as I did. Be creative and enjoy this delicious summer meal that’s sure to become a […]

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 perfectly sufficient when it came to communicating with our peers. Aside from cartoon aficionados that sometimes referred to the speedy and often mischievous Road Runner […]

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”. The 6,000-member phylum also includes sea stars, brittle stars, sea lilies and sea cucumbers.  Five is a magic number when it comes to echinoid body […]

The Spice of the California Diving Experience

Mention California diving and the first thoughts of divers around the world are likely to be about our kelp forests. Their reaction is proof that just seeing a photograph of shimmering rays of sunlight dance through a golden undersea forest can get you hooked on California diving. And as so many California divers know, exploring a kelp forest in real life is a magical experience.   More than 800 species have been documented to inhabit a healthy forest of giant kelp. Those creatures include the […]

Swell Sharks

What can I say? I am a sucker for cute and interesting faces underwater (other than divers, of course). And fortunately, for California underwater photographers we have many. But for me, I am especially drawn to our bottom dwelling sharks, specifically horn sharks and swell sharks. What fascinating faces! Of these two sharks I find the swell sharks to have the most interesting faces. Especially striking is the metallic golden colored eyes. Their flat heads spread out their funny “smiles” underneath. “Nostrils” just above the […]

The Value of a Dive Mentor

Kim, my wife and usual dive buddy, has been laid up lately from a severe back injury. Upsetting as it is I have since found it to lead to some new opportunities. With Kim being out of the picture I decided to turn lemons into lemonade. I was going to find some new dive buddies.  I remembered that some guys from my church had recently been certified, a young college kid and a middle-age family man. They were both looking to gain more diving experience […]

Tell the Preservation Success Stories

While I think we should always be presented with the bad news so that we can act to reverse the negative, we must also accentuate the success stories, places where we have done right by nature.  In my nearly 40 years of diving I have seen the California seas do some pretty wild oscillations within marine life populations, unfortunately, many of them downward. But here I want to emphasize the success stories because they reinforce what we can do (or not do) to improve the […]

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