Weekly Photo Challenge – Motion

Blue Tang in Motion

Blue Tang in Motion

Here’s a shot taken while scuba diving in the Denver Aquarium. This was one of the most unusual dives I have ever done! As part of the requirements for the Underwater Photography Certification with SSI, we had to do a dive and take photographs with our instructor – and the closest place in Colorado was the aquarium.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the director of scuba volunteers who introduced us to our dive master Dave. He oriented us to the procedures for diving in the large tank by the restaurant in the facility and then helped us get geared up for the dives. Because the aquarium tanks are a closed system, we weren’t allowed to use our own gear – a precaution against contamination which is a danger to the fish. I usually wear a 3mm wetsuit in the tropics, but the water was cold and we forced ourselves into Michelin Man-like 5mm suits and were fitted with the rest of the equipment provided by the aquarium – all done behind the scenes and above the water in the large tank.

We were lead to a platform above the water where we donned our fins, masks and BCDs and then slid in to the large tank. As soon as we descended we realized how close we could get to our subjects. We also realized while looking out through the windows of the aquarium that we were part of the entertainment for the people eating lunch! We waved at kids while we shot our photos and harassed the captive fish (just kidding about the fish).

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

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.