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Category Archives: Photography

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On May 4th, 2013 I dove with 4 other underwater enthusiasts off “The Sanctuary” dive boat.

Split shot of "The Sanctuary"

Split shot of “The Sanctuary”

sanctuarycharters.com

The sea was flat enough to waterski on, so I tried some over/under photography.  The air was chilly, and the water temp was 48 degrees! I wore a 7 mm wetsuit with a hooded 5 mm vest, and a heated vest under all the neoprene.  If not for a heated cabin, a cup of noodles & a hot water hose to flush the cold from my suit, I would have missed a second dive.

My dive buddy did not get his PADI dive certification replacement card in time, so he could not come aboard this time.  I had to hang with another couple for safety. We were at a 90′ depth at The Pinnacles dive site which is why I got so chilled on the 1st dive.  Some surge was noticed, but not like the usual washing machine spin-cycle effect that I have become accustomed to diving in Monterey.

The water was a dark green with about 50′ visibility.   The rocky pinnacles were covered in life & color.  There were many starfish in all shapes, colors, & variety. Crabs, Nudibranchs, Turban & Jeweled Top Snails, & various Rockfish were abundant.

The second dive was at “Fire Rock”.  Again, flat & good Viz.  I worked on more split shots of the kelp under the surface & the boat above. There was a light current which carried me past the boat at one point so I dove down to 40′ depth to photograph the hearty, young kelp towers while the sunlight at the surface came shining through.  I got a few shots of a Giant Kelpfish as well.

I did not feel as cold on the second dive, but I was finning around quite a bit more to find good shots & to position myself for optimal lighting.  I had 2 fun dives, and had a smooth ride all the way out of the Monterey Bay past Pescadero Point.  No one chummed the water with their breakfast this time which is unusual (in my experience) on a Monterey dive boat.

I snapped off a few decent shots in spite of my testy Sea & Sea DX D200 UW housing which won’t allow me to change shutter speeds underwater. I have had the thing adjusted numerous times in the past without a permanent fix to the problem.  Perhaps a larger hammer?  🙂

I used the Nikon D200, Sea & Sea housing, Tokina 10-17 mm WA lens, Dual Inon D2000 strobes on 12′ arms, and a Sola 600 focus lamp.

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Transparent ShrimpNew photos posted in Monterey gallery today. We did a dive at Wharf 2 in Monterey.  The visibility was about 8 feet, the water temperature was around 52 degrees.  This was a macro photography day.

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I was within arms length of the ocean's most feared apex predator!Swimming with Great White Sharks
Metallic Archival Print 24″x 36″
© 2011 Karen Schofield, R.N.
$225

Solstice Light Portal

During the winter solstice, the setting sun is correctly aligned to shine directly through this natural rock portal at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California.

My Great White Shark photo adorns the window in Carmel By The Sea.
Carmel Camera, San Carlos & 5th Avenue.

  I have been honored with the distinction of being chosen to show my photography at the
Carmel Art Institute’s International, Juried Photography Competition & Exhibit.
A handful of photographers were chosen out of hundreds that entered.  Some photographers
had but one photograph chosen for the exhibit, some had none chosen.
I am delighted to say that the judges chose five photographs from my Point Lobos portfolio.
  Opening night for this exhibit is Friday September 28th, 6:00-8:00 pm in the Carmel Barnyard.
Luganos will be serving hors d’oeuvres & wine selections.
  The exhibit runs from September 28th through October 18th, 2012.
Twenty percent of all photography sales goes to benefit The Point Lobos Foundation.
I hope you will visit the exhibition and see why it was named
“The Magic of Point Lobos”.

Nassau Grouper Steals the Spotlight

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Great White Shark Diving!

When I was asked about my vacation plans I told my friends & colleagues that I was headed to Mexico for a dive trip.  They smiled and said, “That sounds nice and relaxing.” To a non-diver, the words “Guadalupe Island” means not a thing. They figure it is just another vacation destination in Mexico.

Not until the very last work day did I give up any details.  As I finished my shift I said, “I hope I get some good photos of the Great White Sharks there.”  At first there were glances around the silent room, each coworker looking to see the reaction of the other, each assuming I was kidding.  Then one shouted, “Oh my God, you are not kidding!”  Shock & disbelief fell over the room.  Warnings about the dangers of those blood-thirsty apex predators with razor-sharp teeth, and tales of scuba divers being dismembered, or swallowed whole, and of course the movie “Jaws”were all mentioned.  Did I mention “Shark Week” just aired on a TV special this week too?

Explaining that sharks are not interested in hunting or eating humans, AND that I would be protected by a metal cage did nothing to ease their concerns. Someone said, “Can’t you just go visit one at the Aquarium on Cannery Row?”

Well, I made it back in one piece thanks to a very knowledgeable  and professional crew aboard the Solmar V. Safety of both diver & shark is priority and I would recommend this trip to any diver who wants to see these awesome creatures in their natural habitat.  We had about 8 different Great White sharks show up during our 3 day stay at Guadalupe Island.  We even had some breaches which was a spectacular show.  We had a great group of people on board as well which made the trip a lot of fun.  I would love to do a trip to Socorro in the future to view & photograph the Giant Mantas.

The great thing about Guadalupe Great White Shark diving is that you only need to bring your 7mm wetsuit, hood, gloves, boots, and mask.  No regulators, snorkels, tanks, or fins needed.  The 2 cages attached to the stern are 8′ deep.  The cage diver wears a harness (provided) with about 50lbs. of weight or so.  I wore 40lbs and felt like a burro trying to climb in & out of the moving, floating cage.  It was a little less than graceful, but I managed.
  They have a Hookah system so that it is easy to stay submerged for a long time while observing sharks or taking photos. The water temp was about 65 which is warmer than I am used to here in Monterey.  The air temp during the day was 75-80/nights down to the 60’s.  The vis was about 60′-100′ depending on what the tide blew in.  When the sun was out, the rays penetrated deep beneath the surface. This made the water column illuminate like a huge fiber-optic lamp. It was mesmerizing.  The light rays would sparkle on the otherwise drab, grey shark hide creating
a beautiful dappled appearance.  It was like no other experience I have had diving.    
  Certified divers may also utilize the submersible cage which descends on a crane system down about 40′.  You still use a Hookah system for your air supply.  This lets you observe the big picture as the sharks circle around the surface cages, the ship, and the bait.
If you go shark diving, be sure to go on The Solmar V.  They are the only outfit licensed to bait the sharks.  The Great Whites swim so close you could reach out and touch them………..BUT I kept my hands to myself in spite of the temptation.