Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dive report - 2 dives of Pt Loma 3/27/2010

Mikey Bear above the pinnacle:

Dive #1

Date: 3/27/10
Location: Pt Loma kelp beds
Time in: 12 pm
Time under: 42 min
Max depth: 89 ft
Min temp: 54F
Vis: 15-20 ft
Waves: periodic large swells, but no problem
Buddy: Mikey, Dave Hershman
Setup for Wide Angle (hoping to see a sevengill shark)

Hermissenda crassicornis on the reef:

Dive #2

Time in: 2:18 pm
Time under: 42 min
Max depth: 79 ft
Min temp: 56F
Vis: 15 ft
Waves: swells
Buddy: Dave Hershman
Setup for macro

Highlights: Exploring two large pinnacles covered in life. Nudibranchs seen: porters chromodorid, spanish shawl, hermissenda crassicornis, tritonia festiva, stearns aeolid, flabellina trilineata, cadlina luteomarginata. I also saw my first underwater spiders. It was really nice to 'hook up' with Steve Murvine and Gayle Van Leer out on the water.

Mikey holding onto a kelp holdfast:

It was a beautiful day out on the water after a month of storms. The sun was shining brightly. There were occasional large swells, but with a really long period, they were hardly noticeable.

Red gorgonian with kelp in the background:

For the first dive, I was setup for wide angle, hoping for good visibility and a sevengill shark. Even without seeing a shark, the twin pinnacle structures that Gayle and Steve found were amazing, going from about 65 feet down to the bottom at 95 ft. In between was a sandy channel littered with shells and rocks, almost like an underwater river bed. Mikey and I did the dive together, with Dave joining us later due to some equipment issues. It was a pretty cold dive, partly due to a leaking right arm in my mostly dry suit.

Stearn's Aeolid (Facelina stearnsi):

After an hour and a half surface interval, complete with lunch and cookies and wringing out my undergarment, I switched my camera over to macro. Mikey sat out the second dive due to a leaking inflator valve on his drysuit. Right as I got in to the water, Gayle and Steve surfaced and shouted that they had seen a sevengill. But it was too late to switch the lens back, oh well... Dave and I dropped down to the same pinnacles again, looking for macro life to photograph. I didn't explore as much of the structure this time, closely examining the reef for nudibranchs. About half way through the dive, I noticed that my pictures were getting awfully dark. Turns out, my strobe batteries weren't lasting as long as they normall do. By the end of the dive, only one of them was firing... On a positive note, my drysuit stayed dry on this dive.

Mikey pointing to the reef:

About an hour after getting back to the dock, I noticed my left shoulder was a little itchy and felt hot. I looked in the mirror and noticed a mottled appearance with some reddish/black/blue areas. Apparently, I had skin bends on the same shoulder that got the Type 1 DCS hit a little over a year ago. I immediately called DAN, who recommended I go and get checked out, even though breathing oxygen was the only treatment really needed. On my way to UCSD/Hillcrest, I got a call from the diving doctor to confirm what DAN had told him. It was a busy Saturday night at the ER, but they finally got me my on O2 by about 9 pm. The rash went away pretty quickly and they decided no chamber ride was needed (yay!). Now no diving for another 6 weeks :( Our best guess is that I'm not getting enough circulation in my left shoulder, either due to suit squeeze or just low blood pressure.

Diver Dave Hershman looking for macro subjects on one of the pinnacles:

The rest of the pictures are up at:


Friday, March 26, 2010

Cloudy sunset at Bird Rock, La Jolla

I was working on finding a good composition for beach sunsets at Bird Rock in La Jolla on an overcast spring day. I could have used a little help from the clouds and sun. I like the way the halo in the clouds echoes the shape of Bird Rock, but the shot is missing some color. This spot is really special at low tide and I plan on heading back to try to catch a colorful sunset.

Bird Rock, La Jolla (green arrow is approximately where the photo was taken):

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Saturday morning on Mt. Baldy

A couple of weeks ago, I was staying near the base of Mt. Baldy, so I took a morning drive up the mountain. I only had a couple of hours, so I didn't make it all the way up to the ski resort. Along the way, I stopped to take a short hike down to San Antonio Creek, which was running pretty good from the snow melting.

I continued up the mountain, looking for scenic spots to take photos. I ended up needing a one day adventure pass for the remaining hour I had. I just made it out of the ranger station with the pass, when a whole troop of Boy Scouts came marching down the road and lined up to go inside. There were hikers and other people up on the mountain looking for snow to play in.

A little further up the road, I came across a really scenic spot with the San Antonio Creek running through a beautiful grove of trees, complete with ivy covering some of the trees. It was about 9:30 in the morning, so the shadows were still long and they were wreaking havoc with the photos I was trying to take. It was one of those spots that was really scenic, but I couldn't figure out how to make a good composition between all the trees and the bright and shady spots.
I'd like to go back to that area again some day and figure out how to capture the beauty. I ended up with the following photo of the creek bed, as the trees made it way to busy:

Further on up the road, there was a parking area next to the trail that leads to the Ice House Canyon. I didn't have much time left, so I parked quickly and walked down to the trail. The San Antonio Creek was running alongside the trail and there was snow/ice in the shady areas. I walked down the dry part of the creek bed to see if I could line up a shot of the snowy peak, the creek and the snow nearby. I never found such a lineup, but I did stumble upon a massive amount of ladybugs. They were bunched up in the bushes and on low hanging branches in the hundreds to maybe thousands. As I turned around, I realized I'd probably walked over/on a few of them. They were mostly in large bunches but there were a few stragglers scattered all over the place. I ended up with them landing on me and the tripod. Trying to photograph large bunches of them didn't turn out too well, so I decided to take some macro shots of just a few that weren't crawling around quickly:

The large mass of lady bugs were at the green arrow on the map, just off the trail near the parking lot:

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Flowers in the desert

Desert Sunflower with Sand Verbena in the background:

I'm finally sharing some of my flower closeups from Anza Borrego. The sun was a little harsh on Friday but better on Saturday with cloud cover. The sand verbenas were my favorite of the flowers that were in bloom. Hopefully there are more in bloom now that the weather has warmed up and it hasn't rained in a whole week. The desert mustard had to be weeded out of the small patches of flowers that were in bloom.

Sand Verbena macro (click on the picture to see a larger version):

The sand verbena flowers are about the size of a cotton ball. Another favorite are the Desert Lupine, of course with sand verbena in the background:

A few more photos:


Monday, March 8, 2010

Desert landscapes

Sunrise breaks through the clouds:

I took an overnight trip to the Anza Borrego desert this past Friday to check out the spring wildflower bloom. It had been way too long since I'd camped out and I really enjoyed getting back to nature. It sure opens up a lot of possibilities as far as cheap mini vacations to good photo spots.

Sunrise and wave clouds:

The weather on Friday was nice and warm, with high clouds. On Saturday, it started out overcast and the sun took longer to break out, but the clouds were spectacular after that. Conditions were good all around and the rain waited until after we'd left. The flowers are just getting started and should improve with all the rain. The blooms were sparse and we had to explore a lot of different areas just to decide where to shoot the sunrise. We went off-roading into the badlands area just east of the airport and into Coyote Canyon. It's unfortunate that sahara mustard weed is taking over the area. There were whole fields that usually bloom that were covered in the weeds. The weeds grow faster than the flowers and smother them. In the area where I shot the top photo, a nice lady was weeding the flower patches.

Mountains near the park visitor's center:

This was my first attempt at some landscape photography that didn't involve the ocean or water. Let me know what you think! Next up will be some of the closeup flower photos that I took.

A few more landscape photos are up at:

The top two photos were taken at a small patch of flowers along Henderson Canyon Road:

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