Weekly Photo Challenge – Ornate

Ornate

Ornate

Our challenge this week is to share something ornate – “where it’s clear that the creators pulled no stops and went all out.” Okay, so how about something brought to you by the ultimate creator?

When I’m scuba diving, I find myself intrigued by the ornate structure of the many different coral species I see. Here’s a shot from our recent trip to the Cayman Islands. This brain coral is actually a living colony of tiny sea creatures – individual polyps that spend their lives cemented together into an ornate neighborhood. Their bodies are the building blocks for the ocean’s reef systems. Can you see here how this particular coral got its name?

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

Weekly Photo Challenge – Treat

Squirrel Treat

Squirrel Treat

Peter and I returned this past Saturday from a fantastic scuba trip to Grand Cayman and the outer Cayman islands. While in Grand Cayman, I did a private lesson with Addie Wee, an instructor at the Cathy Church Underwater Photography School. It was awesome! I was able to take my photography to a new level, so it’s no surprise that my treat is hanging out underwater and photographing the life there.

This shot is an extreme closeup of a squirrel fish. These guys are often very friendly and this one was particularly so. It was nipping at the fingers of the hand that I was using to steady myself to take its picture! I also thought this shot had a very Halloweeny feel. Happy Halloween, everyone!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge – Half and Half

Half and Half

Half and Half

A photo with two clear halves, this shot was taken while diving on Lighthouse Reef in Belize last fall. The structure in the foreground on which the little fish are resting is a barrel sponge.

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

Weekly Photo Challenge – Forces of Nature

Forces of Nature

Forces of Nature

No great surprise that I’d post an underwater shot for this one. There’s always something to photograph on a reef dive. One of my favorite sources of subject matter are the various invertebrates found on coral reefs. While I don’t know this lovely creature’s name, I found its soft and numerous tentacles interesting. It sits on the reef ready to capture plankton and microorganisms for sustenance. 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?

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

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.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Weekly Photo Challenge -Scale

Spiny Cactus Macro

Spiny Cactus Macro

 

Spiny Cactus Fisheye

Spiny Cactus Fisheye

I thought it might be fun to pull out my Olloclip this week for the challenge. Here are two shots of a small cactus taken with my iPhone 5s and the Olloclip 4-in-1 lenses. The first is a macro shot and the second a shot using the fisheye lens. Bear in mind that the cactus and pot are only about 6 inches high and 5 inches wide. The mosaic table (which I did several years ago) is 48 inches in diameter. Isn’t it amazing what the right lens can do?

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