underwater

The Scuba Chef: The Magical Flavor of Fresh Sea Urchin

When I was 13 my father took me camping at Rosarito Beach on the Pacific side of Mexico’s Baja peninsula. We set up our tent right on the beach. The next day a local fisherman took us on his small wooden boat to a shallow reef just a half-mile off the coast. It is a day I’ll never forget — it was the day I discovered the magical flavor of sea urchin fresh from the ocean. The bright orange roe was firm and possessed a […]

Aggregating Anemones: Gangsters of the Sea?

Imagine what Hollywood would do with a film about anemones. Take aggregating anemones for example. They are relatively small, but these carnivores are well armed and can be surprisingly aggressive toward their neighbors, so you might imagine they’d be cast in a gangster movie — with lots of special effects like fiery explosions and crash scenes. Their tentacles can fire venomous miniature harpoons that repel potential predators including anemones unlike themselves. Mother Nature is perfect for the “good cop” role of peace negotiator. In real […]

Dive Boat: Spectre

For more than 26 years the dive boat Spectre has consistently offered excellent service to the divers of Southern California. Their loyal following of customers provides irrefutable evidence regarding their longstanding commitment to excellence.  The Spectre hails from Ventura Harbor Village dock and caters to divers on trips to Anacapa Island and the east end of Santa Cruz Island in the Northern Channel Islands. These destinations are stunning both above and below the water, and are part of the Channel Islands National Park. Almost all […]

Giant Sea Bass: Are They Really Back From the Brink?

My first giant sea bass encounter occurred off San Nicolas Island in the 1970s. I sensed something overhead and looked up. A gigantic Goodyear blimp hovered over me.  A cartoon I‘d seen recently popped into my head. Two large fish were face to face. A scuba diver’s legs and fin-clad feet protruded from the puckered mouth of one wearing a sour expression. The other fish was saying, “I told you to peel them first.” I was a new diver and didn’t know if giant sea […]

The Cold, Dirty, Truth: How to Get Good Photos in California Waters

Talk with underwater photographers about shooting in California and it probably won’t take long before you hear some comments about how much more challenging it is to produce compelling photographs in our home waters than it is in clear tropical water. I don’t disagree. But I will say that with some forethought, practice and good shooting techniques it is possible to create strong macro and wide-angle images in California waters much of the time. It’s simply a matter of employing the best shooting techniques to […]

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 […]

SCUBA Show 2012 is Requesting Film Festival Submissions

Assemble your best underwater video film footage now for the SCUBA Show 2012 underwater film festival. The 25th annual SCUBA Show is the largest dive expo of its type in the U.S., and this year it takes place the weekend of May 5-6 at the Long Beach Convention Center. One of the most popular portions of the annual Southern California SCUBA Show has been the unique continuous film festival. Films will be projected digitally in HD on a massive screen and viewed by thousands of […]

Ultralight Control Systems GoPro Video Camera Accessories

Ultralight Control Systems latest products are for the wildly popular GoPro cameras. Ultralight manufacturers a single tray and a double tray for the regular camera, in addition to a double tray for the 3D housing. The handles on the trays allow you to then add a clamp and a video light. Ultralight also manufactures cages for the housings. These cages allow you to mount the GoPro with a cage around it keeping you from having to use the tabs at the bottom of the housing […]

Bat Rays

One fine summer day years ago, a friend and I took a small boat to a shallow cove off Anacapa, hoping to photograph the large number of bat rays that had gathered there. To avoid spooking the rays, my friend advised me to “slither” into the water as silently as possible. He slipped in first and I followed.  Perhaps our technique needed work. First one, then another, then all of the rays — and there were a lot of them — rose from the bottom […]

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