Monday, December 14, 2009

Cruising Not For Me

We did our first ship cruise (Royal Carribbean - Magesty of the Seas) last week. It was a real disappointment. I know that the snorkeling in the Bahama's isn't the greatest, so I wasn't expecting much from that. But, the cruise was just too hokey from the entertainment, to the activities, to the annoying waitress. The most surprising thing was that the food at the buffet was better than in the dining room.

Still the trip wasn't a total waste. We did discover that while Atlantis was fun for a day, there's not enough to do to spend a weekend there, let alone an entire week. The best ride was the ocean (i.e. body surfing in the waves at the man-made beach). The water slides were ok and the river rapids was fun.

And, I saw my first ocean triggerfish. Unfortunately, he was too quick for me to get a good picture of him. But, I'm still hoping we got a couple of good pics this trip. Will post some once I finish working on them.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Day After

Before I recap our experiences with our first juried arts & crafts show, I want mention a great weekly blog that features Etsy artists: Each week the author picks a different theme and features items that fit with the theme. This Sunday's theme was purple and she picked one of our pictures of purple fan coral to feature.

Now back to the show...It's hard for us to really judge how things went because it snowed the first day and people in the DC area just don't venture out in snow. We made a few sales, mostly cards and handed out a lot of cards. Hopefully, that will lead to future contact.

We did learn a lot at the show. For instance we really need to come up with a background for our booth and overhead lighting. If anyone knows a good place to buy pipe and drape, we'd love to hear the suggestion. I'd really like to just purchase the pipe and make the drape myself.

We got lots of complements on our work which is gratifying, but doesn't pay the bills. And, the odd request (do you have pictures of manatees?, do you have pictures of cuttlefish?). Other artists at the show were very helpful. Hopefully, we'll get some good pictures this week to add to our portfolio.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Why I love camera RAW

Kind of sounds kinky doesn't it? So, yeah I wish they had come up with a different name for this digital format, but that doesn't make me love it any less! Without camera RAW I never would have been able to capture these amazing colors of sponges in the pristene waters of Bocas del Toro, Panama. And, I couldn't have let them shine without Adobe Lightroom. Sorry, if I sound like a commercial, it's just that we are leaving Monday for the Bahamas and I can't wait to capture more images in RAW. Keep your fingers crossed that the snorkeling is good!!!
So, please excuse a little more praise for Lightroom. For RAW editing it kicks CS4's butt. And, that library thing is good too. :) I have to thank my instructor (guru) Eliot Cohen for showing me the light (pardon the pun). BTW - You can find Eliot's work at
And, don't forget to check out our photos at where you'll find more great pics from Bocas, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Grand Cayman.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Framing Madness

Ok, so you decide that you're going to mat and frame all your own photos for your first juried art show. So you go out and by some mats and frames. Then you find out that your frames aren't standard sizes, your mats aren't archieval quality for colored photos, and your backing board isn't either. So, you find a supplier who can get you all the right materials and now all you need is a mat cutter, glass and more frames. Oh, and don't forget the acid free framers tape and double sided tape. Or, the blades for the mat cutter and the photo trimmer (cause you have to print the photos smaller than your sheets of premium glossy photo paper to leave a nice boarder for signatures). And, maybe you need a glass cutter too and btw, how are you going to hold your fabulous mats, photos and backing board in the frame. That's right you need a point driver too. And, you cross-fingers that all this stuff that you just spent a small fortune on will arrive in time for you to put it all together and hopefully sell some of your limited edition photos to cover the cost...
Wake me up when the show's over. :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Too crop or not to crop

Cropping is so subjective and I seem to be stuck on standard sizes. Everytime I stray from them, I end up recropping to a standard size. The pics above are a good example. The last crop is the one we are selling. I like it because its a standard size for easy framing and it shows the whole school of blue tangs in context. The first image is a close crop suggested by a friend of mine. I think it makes a nice abstract image, but looses context. The second image is a closer crop of just the school, but I don't think its a better crop than the one we're selling. Hope I made the right cropping choice.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Reef Squid Cute?

Yeah, I actually think they are. Especially when they are hanging out in rows at the beach or snuggling up like these two. Plus, the way they can change colors is awesome. Unfortunately, they are very hard to photograph. Which is why we don't sell this photo in our Etsy shop ( But, I'll keep trying. One of these days I know I'm going to get the perfect shot. That's what keeps me jumping back into the pool!

And, as much as I like photographing fish (yes, squid are technically fish), it's the creatures that are really starting attract more and more of my attention. Like the red flame scallops and split-crown feather dusters that we saw in Panama. And, the Christmas tree worm hiding in lettuce coral in shallow water that was just too choppy for a good photo.

I hope I get a chance to photograph more creatures in the Bahamas! We're heading out in a little over a week and it's been a long time since I've had the chance to snorkel there.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Getting Ready for a Juried Show

We've been busily printing photos in preparation for our first juried art & craft show. So, I thought I'd share one of our photos that's only available at the show. Beautiful Teenager is a fine art photograph of an intermediate stage French angelfish. I took this picture while snorkeling in Grand Cayman in November, 2006. I recently went thru some of our older photos and reworked them in photoshop and got some amazing results. The only thing is that they were taken with 5 meg underwater cameras so they don't have enough pixels to be enlarged. Still it's nice to revisit these photos and make them available as 5x7s or 8x10s.
About nine years ago while on a fishing trip to Walker's Key I talked my future husband, Terry, into trying snorkling. The water was choppy and we were on a dive boat with about ten divers and two other snorklers. When asked if we knew how to snorkel, I immediately said yes without thinking that this was his first time. Trooper that he is, he got out in the swells and immediately fell in love with snorkeling. We've been snorkeling ever since.

Soon we started getting interested in trying to photograph all the incredible fish, coral, sponges, rays and other creatures we were seeing. This blog is about our journey into the world of underwater photography. I think our journey is unique because we don't scuba, we free dive. We can't sit on the bottom and wait for interesting fish to come out of their hiding places. We have to literally swim them down. We are trying to capture the perfect image while our subjects are moving, the water is moving and we are moving. I hope you'll click the picture to see the results of our efforts in our etsy store. And, that you'll come back to hear more about our adventures as I discuss our photos and our process.