Mar 272013
 

 

I’ve had a lot of fun playing around with the “Magic Art Filters” on the Olympus TG-1 camera.  I know, I know… Real photographers don’t need toy-like filters to produce a good photo.  Go ahead and scoff, scowl or roll your eyes.  I don’t mind.  While you’re doing that, I’ll be over here having a blast with one of my twelve in-camera filters.

Kohala Coast, Hawaii Beach - Olympus Dramatic Filter

Kohala Coast Beach – Olympus Dramatic Filter

Koro Sea, Fiji - Fragment Filter

Koro Sea, Fiji – Fragment Filter

Savusavu Hammock - Watercolor Filter

Savusavu Hammock – Watercolor Filter

Savusavu Hammock - Dramatic Filter

Savusavu Hammock – Dramatic Filter

Fiji Palms - Drawing Filter

Fiji Palms – Drawing Filter

Kona Palms - Dramatic Filter

Kona Palms – Dramatic Filter

Gazing out to Sea - Watercolor Filter

Gazing out to Sea – Watercolor Filter

Every time I look at these photos, they make me smile.  I think that’s the point of these “magic filters”.  They aren’t meant to be serious.  You wouldn’t use them on a photo you wish to submit to National Geographic (or, insert name of serious publication here).

Photography is a lot of hard work.  Sure, shooting is fun, but then you’ve got the uploading, editing (which, tedious as it can be, I actually happen to love), packing, unpacking, cataloging, downloading, sourcing, software-learning, troubleshooting, marketing and selling part of the whole business.  While I’m usually really geeked out about photography, there are moments when I find it mind-numbing.  The next time that happens, I will reach for my trusty art filters and have a little fun again.

Mar 222013
 

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to go on Kona’s famous manta ray night dive/snorkel.  I was accompanied by Mr. Reeftraveler as well as my sister-in-law and brother-in-law.  We dove with Captain Nancy of Dolphin Journeys.

Mantas are seen almost nightly on this shallow dive which takes place at 30 feet (10 m).  Bright lights, which attract plankton, are positioned on the sea floor as well as on the surface.  Mantas then arrive to feed on the plankton.  Various dive boats convene at the site, and on any given night there may be up to 70 or more divers and snorkelers viewing this phenomenon from above and below.  The dive is fairly structured, and divers are instructed to form a semicircle on the rocky bottom.

Night Dive Crew Left to Right:  Mr. Reeftraveler, my sister-in-law, Me, my brother-in-law, Captain Nancy

Night Dive Crew
Left to Right: Mr. Reeftraveler, my sister-in-law, Me, my brother-in-law, Captain Nancy

Making sure to cover all angles, I snorkeled while the others dove.  Snorkeling proved to be a good choice, as only one manta showed up for dinner, and it remained near the surface almost the entire time.

Here is a silhouette of the manta with lights shining from above.

The manta briefly dove below to check out the food situation from about 15 feet.

This large moray eel came out to visit the divers.

Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Here’s a very short video of the manta, which I shot with my Olympus TG-1 with Fisheye lens.

For more information on Kona’s manta rays-

Manta Pacific Research Foundation

Mar 182013
 

We recently traveled to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii where we were lucky enough to swim with, dive with and view a plethora of marine life.  Kona’s waters are magical, even healing, for those who enjoy the ocean and its inhabitants (especially if you like the big stuff).

One of the highlights of the trip was swimming with Kona’s wild (not captive, that’s another (sad) story for another time) spinner dolphins.  For me, it was an intense experience which was deeply restorative.  Captain Nancy Sweatt of Dolphin Journeys was our guide for this excursion.  Captain Nancy runs an excellent operation.  As an ocean conservationist, she is deeply respectful of the dolphins and their natural habitat (more on this soon).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The video footage below was shot by me and Mr. Reeftraveler.

Mar 122013
 

This video is a must-watch.  It shows dive instructor Keller Laros (aka Manta Man) of Kona, Hawaii freeing a dolphin’s pectoral fin by removing an embedded fishing line.  It’s amazing footage, both from a naturalist standpoint and from a technical standpoint (it is taken on a night dive).

This footage was taken on Kona’s famous manta ray night dive, which I did last week with a group of family members.  We dove with Captain Nancy Sweatt and her team from Dolphin Journeys, and it couldn’t have been a more amazing, personalized experience.  More to come on this front…

In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful dolphin up close and personal.

Mar 072013
 

I’ve just returned from an island that has all but two of the world’s climate zones yet is only 4,028 square miles (10,430 square kilometers).

Do you recognize this mountain?

Do you recognize this mountain?

Here’s another tip – the average temperature is 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit (24-28 Celsius).

Where was I?