Wednesday, December 22, 2004

IGFA Tournament of Art

Well, I've been invited to participate again this year in the International Game Fish Association's "Second Annual Tournament of Art". The goal of this event is three-fold: to establish an annual fundraiser for the IGFA, to help promote the artists that have supported the IGFA, and to increase museum attendance and awareness. The event begins with a preview party for the artists, sponsors, and their guests on Friday night, February 25th from 5:00-8:00 p.m. The Tournament of Art will be held in the Greats Hall at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Dania Beach, FL on February 26th & 27th from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. I'm not sure who will be attending this year but last year's show featured: Dr. Guy Harvey, Carey Chen, Don Ray, Steve Whitlock, Kim Rody, Caren Stevens, R.J. Boyle, Pasta Pantaleo, William Boch, Pierre Pierce, Tim Borski, and myself. Please join us to support the artists and the IGFA in what is becoming the major event in the marine and wildlife art community. For directions or more info go to

Here are some photos from last years event:

A modest beginning, this was my first real show.

Some of Steve Whitlock's work. He paints right on the nautical charts, very cool stuff.

Guy Harvey had a beautiful display.

Dr. Harvey is on the Board of Trustees for the IGFA.

Pierre Pierce demonstrating his sculpting techniques.

Don Ray was well represented with some very high quality fine art.

Carey Chen is an incredible marine artist and he's a really nice guy.

My friend Kim Rody who got me involved with all this. Thanks Kim!

Caren Stevens was a dear. She painted all the kids faces.

This year's event plans to be bigger and better so come on out and support the IGFA on the 26th & 27th of February, 2005. See you there!


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Playa Del Carmen

Another blast from the past... July 2004

In my line of work vacations usually mean getting as far from the ocean as possible. Maybe a ski trip to Colorado, backpacking in the Sierras, or even white water rafting in Wyoming. But this past summer I took a dive vacation. Yes, a real dive vacation. No students, no customers, just my girlfriend Nancy and myself. Boy did we deserve it! We wanted to stay off the beaten path yet still didn't want to spend a long time in transit. We chose to go to Playa Del Carmen, a town about 45 miles south of Cancun on the Yucatan peninsula. We stayed at the "Blue Parrot" and had the most beautiful room right on the beach. Our room is the upstairs room in this photo.

We booked all of our diving with the dive shop on the premises and could not have made a better choice. Everything about The Abyss Dive Center was very professional and the service was spectacular. We spent a few days diving the local reefs with small, intimate groups led by Oscar and Mitch. Here are some of the shots:

After a few days diving the beautiful reefs with Mitch and Oscar we were ready for the highlight of our trip, the cenote dives. We loaded up the van early in the morning and headed out for our adventure. After a 45 minute ride we arrived at a site called "Dos Ojos". It's a great spot to try cenote diving without all the hassle of a hiking expedition. You follow a stone stairway down to a well-built platform that you can giant stride from. You start out in a big cavern that allows everyone to gather up and practice some buoyancy skills. Your guide is a certified cave diver who is allowed to guide four open water divers at a time through the system. It's well marked by guidelines and signs and is truly a unique experience. The water is so clear that you can't even see it.

Our guide "Diego" briefing us for our dive.

Playa Del Carmen is a perfect spot to get away from the crowds and high-rises and enjoy some truly great diving.

The dive shop is right on the beach at the "Blue Parrot".

The six-pack dive boats or "pangas".

It was an incredible trip, great food, good friends, and awesome diving. We'll definitely be coming back.


Zion Train

Since this is a brand new blog and I have lots of content, I think I'll fill in the slow days with some past events. This one goes back to June 2nd, 2003.

It was one of those days when you wake up twenty minutes before the alarm goes off. One of those special days when you can't wait to get to the boat. A quick cup of coffee and out the door because you prepped everything the night before. We're going to sink a wreck today!
Palm Beach County's Department of Environmental Resources, led by Julie Bishop, is sinking the wreck of the "Zion Train" northeast of the Jupiter inlet and we're going out on the press boat. Captain Paul Benzler welcomed us aboard the dive boat "Temptation" and we quickly got underway. A small handful of boats were there on scene to watch the sinking.

We hit the water within five minutes of her sinking and did we get a shock. A freak thermocline moved in and as soon as we descended the water temp dropped to 68 degrees. Brrrrr. It was really an incredible experience to dive a wreck in such a pristine state.

WPTV cameraman Tom Special shooting for Channel 5 News.

Jupiter Dive Center owner Randy Jordan

Channel 5 News reporter Jay Cashmere

Jay Cashmere shot this one of me. Thanks man, great job!

I'm glad I got these shots because she has really deteriorated lately especially after our hurricane season this year. That's it for now...


Monday, December 13, 2004

My Camera System

I didn't get to shoot any pictures this weekend but I did have the pleasure of certifying three new divers. Our water temp is starting to cool down to about 70 degrees and we had a cold front move through so it made for a pretty chilly weekend. Time to break out the hoods and dive parkas!

My first underwater camera system was a trusty Nikonos V with a 15mm lens and an SB-102 strobe. I then went digital with an Olympus C 4040 Zoom camera (4.1 megapixels) on an ULC flip tray and two Nikonos SB-105 strobes on ULC arms. I took hundreds of beautiful pictures with this system and still use it for teaching u/w digital photography but I'm happy to say that I just got a brand new system. I'm now shooting a Nikon D-100 with a Nikon 16mm fisheye lens in an Ikelite housing with my two SB-105 strobes on the Ultralight Control arms. What a difference! Shutter lag is a thing of the past. I can now truly choose the exact moment to take the shot and can shoot 4 or 5 pictures in the same time it took to get one shot on my old system. I've got an ulta fast 2 gig compact flash card and can shoot 206 raw images without coming up for air. I've got a short learning curve with the new system but here are some shots from my first week:

Check back often as I'll be posting new pictures a couple times a week. Take care, blue skies...

Friday, December 10, 2004

Art Show Schedule

I have an exciting schedule of appearences this season, come by and say hello!


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

First photo post

This is one of the first pictures I shot with my new Nikon D100