Weekly Photo Challenge – Early Bird

Morning on the Prairie

Morning on the Prairie

I love sunrises, and I am so blessed to live in a place where they are so beautiful. Here’s a shot of Kathy Fromme Prairie Open Space on the south side of Fort Collins, Colorado taken from my deck!

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Afloat

Afloat

Afloat

This is certainly not one of my most artistic shots, but it captures an interesting moment at the end of a dive when one is glad that the boat is afloat! Last fall, Peter and I did a 10-day scuba trip to Belize aboard the Sundancer II. As with all scuba dives, it’s important to stop for three minutes at a depth of 15 feet in order to allow the body’s tissues to release nitrogen before surfacing and getting back on the boat, and that is what you’re seeing here.

The Sundancer II is equipped with a bar that allows divers to hold on for their three minute safety stop before going to the ladder at the back of the boat (which you can see the top diver approaching). Dubbed “The Hang Bar of Awesomeness,” we had never experienced anything quite so thrilling at the end of each dive.

Why, you might ask, was it so thrilling? Well, because this boat SWINGS a lot! Single hull boats have a tendency to swing back and forth while at anchor due to the influences of wind and current – and the longer the boat, the more it swings. Our floating home was 130 feet long and she swings so fast and so far, that we would have to approach from the front and try to stay underneath the boat to get to that wonderful hang bar to do our three minute stop. If we didn’t get to the hang bar before the boat reversed direction, we’d have to wait until she came back – several minutes, and she would race away so far that we couldn’t see or hear her. We’d just have to stay put and trust that she was coming back, which of course, she always did. It was a bit disconcerting until we learned how to catch her.

Once we caught the bar, the boat would swing so fast, that we would have to hold on tightly in order not to get flung off. You can see here how the diver with the black and yellow fins is being swept away from the direction in which the boat is moving. And yes, when I took this shot, we had to wait for the Sundancer to return from a swing before we could get on that awesome hang bar. This wild ride was reenacted after every dive. At first it was intimidating, but after a few dives, we did get used to it and rather enjoyed it.

To learn more about the Weekly Photo Challenge, click here.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Fresh

Fresh Flower

Fresh Flower

I’m late to the party this week. Peter and I were up skiing for our last trip of the season. It was so great at Breckenridge yesterday that we stayed all day and got home late. Anyhoo…here’s my offering for this week’s challenge.

I had some time in the studio last week so I was delighted when I saw the word “Fresh!” For those photographers out there – this photo was shot with a Lensbaby Composer Pro using the Sweet 50 optic and the macro converters on my Nikon D600. I LOOOOVE these lenses. They allow me to move the sweet spot of focus around on the frame instead of just in the center and this wonderful company out of Oregon has created an amazing array of optics that are interchangeable with the Composer Pro. I also have a Composer Pro for my Olympus micro four thirds camera and I can use my optics on either camera. Check it out: Lensbaby.com Warning: these things can be addictive! Also just to tease you some more, they have created a lens for your cell phone. I haven’t played with it much yet, but I’m enjoying the effects that I’m getting.

To learn more about the Weekly Photo Challenge, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Wall

Coral on the Wall

Coral on the Wall

To a Scuba diver, a wall means something very special. Jumping into the water from the back of the boat, we descended to about 30 feet and finned along a sandy bottom for a short distance until we came to the edge. The sandy bottom disappeared and below us was the vertical wall descending to what seemed like infinity, and along its structure, amazing corals, tiny shrimp, anemonies, fish. Frequently swimming along the wall out in the blue, we saw Eagle Rays and sharks – they seem to like to cruise at around eighty feet.

Certain parts of the world host coral reefs living along these walls – Grand Cayman is famous for them – with the wall extending several thousand feet into the depths. This particular lovely coral lives on the walls of Belize in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll system. I love the textures and colors of these amazing colonies of creatures. So here is my offering for this week’s challenge – and it seems to be celebrating the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day, doesn’t it?

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Orange

Many sea creatures living on the coral reefs adopt a very effective camouflage strategy. Believe it or not, they utilize the colors in the warm range – bright oranges and reds to protect themselves from predators. How could orange be a camouflage color, you might ask? Well, ocean water absorbs light – the greater the depth the darker it gets in general, but the water also absorbs wavelengths of light in a specific way. Longer wavelengths are absorbed first and on the light spectrum, those wavelengths produce the colors of light. From longest to shortest in our visible light range we see red, orange, yellow, green, blue and finally purple. So at a depth of 15 feet, reds disappear, and our color for this week’s challenge, orange, disappears at 25 feet!

Our fishy friends have evolved to display brilliant colors that literally blend with their environment – the water! This strategy helps to protect them from larger predators including Mr. Shark! Here are just three wonderfully orange creatures from my underwater adventures. Oh, and by the way, most divers carry an underwater light with them (mine’s on my camera frame) so they can see these spectacular colors in the muted ocean waters even during daytime dives.

 

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To learn more about the Weekly Photo Challenge, click here.