On this page I will be showing interesting images from my recent trips. Enjoy!

July 15-22, 2006

Channel Islands, California

I spent the entire week with Optiquatics in the lovely Channel Islands - a 4-day trip followed by a 3-day trip. And what a week it was! There were many minor disasters - I tore my neck seal on the first dive, flooded a strobe, broke a gear on my housing. All in all, on the first leg (I took 2 trips back-to-back), Joe went through something like 6 neck seals, a few strobes and one camera. On the other hand, I saw more octopus than I have ever seen on a single trip. On one dive, I saw 7!

A couple of black sea bass. a dozen or so huge bat rays, my first swell shark, and a new (to me) nudibranch, the Mexichromis porterae, or Porter's Chromodorid. On one dive I was part of a huge bait ball for over 10 minutes - one of the coolest experiences I have ever had diving. So all in all it was a good trip.

A note on the dry suit - I had just gotten it back from DUI a few days before I left for Ventura. I had the zipper and wrist seals replaced. I went ahead and had them put ZipSeals on the wrists, but avoided the neck seal because a couple of folks in dive shops told me that they weren't comfortable.

Horse hockey.

Get ZipSeals all around next time you get seals replaced. They are the coolest thing since sliced bread. Luckily for me, Joe had an extra suit on board, or I would have been sitting on the boat while everyone else dived (or wrapping duct tape around my neck, but let's not go there). The borrowed suit has ZipSeals all around, and on the last day, I tore THAT neck seal. 15 minutes later, I was in the water. And that's my testimonial for ZipSeals.

Note: I am not a spokesman nor in any other way paid by DUI!

June 10-11, 2006

Monterey, California

This was the weekend of the 25th annual California Beach Dive Photo competition that NCUPS puts on in every summer. This is the first time that I have been able to attend in a number of years, as it has been on Memorial Day weekend until this year. Family time, you know!

But anyway, I managed to win a 3rd place in Macro this year with the first image on the left. I was pretty pleased. It was an excellent contest, with some fine images being taken. This is a "Day in the Life" contest - everyone takes their images the same day, in Monterey, beach diving only (no boats or floats!). The judging happens the next day, and prizes awarded then.

The images are just as I submitted them (except I resized them and added copright notices) - no Photoshop work, not even a sharpening or contrast adjustment (the basic, minimum changes for digital SLR images, IMHO) They were all shot direct to JPEG with my D70, not my preferred way to work. Gimme RAW, baby!

Ad for the "winner", I've been working on this shot for a while. The 105mm macro lens at a couple inches, f5 for a short depth of field. I think that's pretty close to the sweet spot for what I'm doing here. Maybe a little more angle to get both eyes a little more in focus. Up the exposure just a bit. Probably lower him in the frame a tad, or else push him to the side and try that. I tried some simple photoshoping (Shadow/Highlights, quick curves) and the results were so much nicer than what the raw JPEG looked like. Better color, better contrast... Ah well. Rulz iz rulz. Good to have everyone operating under the same restrictions, I guess.

June, 2005

Wakatobi, Indonesia

Along with several fellow members of NCUPS, I spent 12 days in June at Wakatobi, a fabulous dive resort in Indonesia. I cannot recommend this place enough! It ain't cheap, but I found it well worth the trip. I have a slideshow below that contains images from the trip, and a soundtrack.

Andy's Wakatobi Slideshow

You should download it (Control-click on Mac, right-click on Windows) and run it from your hard disk.

All Images Copyright Andrew Wallace unless otherwise noted