(and why I make them)
My Love for the Ocean
What has inspired me to spend to spend my life jumping into the ocean to take pictures? I guess I’d have to say the ocean itself and my love of it. I have always loved to be in the water, but in my twenties I learned to scuba dive and discovered what is was like to be under the water – and then I loved it even more. I would discover something new on every dive. I immediately wanted to share all the cool things I saw. ...Read More
On one of my very dives at LaJolla Shores in California, I did the sideways shuffle through the surf, dove in head first and immediately came face to face with a large Broomtail Grouper. It was probably only about four feet long, but it seemed really enormous to me. I didn’t realize how rare that sighting was. Spearfishing was a big deal back then and the large fish were harder and harder to find. Then I discovered Abalone. An abalone is a large marine mollusk with a large outer shell on top and a large foot that fills the entire bottom. A legal sized abalone yields about a pound of meat that is considered a delicacy and very expensive to buy – about $25 a pound in the eighties. I soon discovered that a local seafood shop would trade me any other seafood for live abalone and that became a weekend obsession. The limit on abalone at the time was 9, and soon, my brother and I were taking 36 abalone nearly every weekend and filling our freezers with seafood. There’s more to this story, but as time went on we help the population of divers and commercial fisherman deplete the abalone population in Saouthern California. The balance of nature was upset and sea urchins moved in to take over the reefs. The limit on abalone was reduced as the population declined – to 6, then 4, then 2. Finally a moratorium was declared. The abalone population has not increased substancially to this day. It’s hard for me now to think back on those “good times”. I eventually started shooting fish with a camera instead, and now I strive to make a difference in how people view our incredibly diverse but fragile sea.
The UW Photography Challenge
I have been hooked on photography since the eighth grade, but taking pictures underwater is entirely different than photography on land. As an amateur photographer, I quickly discovered that water absorbs all the red and yellow light in just a few feet and you have to get really really close to get a good shot. I also learned (over and over again) that backing up to take a wider shot just made everything blue and fuzzy. Instead of having sharp, vivid images to share what I had experienced in the ocean, I’d have to describe what I saw and explain why my blurry pictures didn’t really capture it. Underwater, vibrant colors get washed out – vivid red looks black!
I realized that most people never have the opportunity to see the real beauty of the ocean and as a result, they can never fully appreciate or understand the wonder of this essential part of our environment, which occupies two-thirds of the Earth’s surface. I wanted to help change that.
I spent years just learning to capture well exposed images on film, and then I worked for many more years to develop new ways to see farther than my camera could when I am close enough to see the the real colors of the reef. Now, I capture wide landscape views of coral reefs and underwater environments that allow you to see the spectacular colors and intricate details that I see up close.
In 1998, I started work on what became one of the highest resolution images ever captured underwater. It was also the first “stitched” image ever, which was made before digital cameras and stitching software existed. The image was a 1.77 gigapixel photograph of a section of Bloody Bay Wall, a world famous dive site in the Cayman Islands. The image received instant attention, and National Geographic Magazine published ”Portrait of a Coral Reef,” in October 2001.
Since then, I’ve completed numerous projects and have created many fine art pieces this way, frame by frame, I connect and manually stitch dozens or hundreds of images together in a process that cannot be rushed or automated. Digital cameras have dramatically improved the quality, and now save me from doing countless film scans, but the post-processing of these images still must be done by meticulously stitching each frame by hand. Projects can take several weeks, or even months to produce.
I want to make the end result of my unique process available to the world, so that everyone can appreciate a part of our environment that very few people get to experience.
My goal is to increase public awareness by providing the most vivid images technologically available. Then, anyone can make a connection with the beauty and wonder that lies beneath the surface of the sea. My hope is that if more people can make this connection, they will grow to love the ocean as I do, and instinctively want to protect it and contribute to its conservation.
About The Prints
Fine art quality prints on aluminum composite with recessed aluminum frame
Each print is a limited edition – entirely hand-made and hand-signed by the artist. In short, these are the highest quality archival prints that I know how to make, designed to last a lifetime. All of the prints are Giclées, printed on PET gloss film for the highest imaging quality using wide gamut archival inks, which are rated for more than 130 years of indoor life. Teach print is mounted on a 1/8” thick sheet of Aluminum composite, and backed with an elegant satin Aluminum square tube frame that is recessed 3-5” inches (depending on the print size), so that the sheet appears to float in air one inch off the wall.
hand signed by artist
elegant satin aluminum backing frame
ALUMINUM PRINT STANDARD WIDTHS 48” / 60” / 70” / 80” / 90” / 110”
STRETCHED AND UNSTRETCHED CANVAS PRINTS AVAILABLE BY QUOTE
CUSTOM SIZES AND PRINT TYPES AVAILABLE BY QUOTE