My second day in Monterey, Jamil and I got a chance to dive off backscatter owner Berkley White’s boat! I took my wide-angle camera setup and we went out to the end of the breakwater, jumping in the water with the massive sea lion colony that resides at the end of the pier. On the dive, the visibility wasn’t good enough to get any close up stills of the sea lions, so I realized I had to find something a little more interesting to focus on. I spent the rest of the dive looking for cool foreground subjects that I could use with a sea lion silhouette in the background. This strategy worked, and I managed to get this cool photo of the sea lions swimming by!
For the second dive of the day, we got to use Berkley’s boat again, traversing along the California coast a mile or two until we found a shallow section with a teeming kelp forest. I focused on my wide-angle photography, getting up close to subjects like big fish-eating anemones, and framing them with the kelp forest behind. About halfway through the dive I also realized that the big swell was making whole bunches of kelp flop back and forth over the rocks. I soon found an ideal location, where a sea star was being routinely covered and uncovered by a whole mat of kelp. This was my moment to work on shooting with a slow shutter speed. I set up and stayed there for at least 10 minutes, taking countless shots to balance the perfect movement in the kelp, while keeping the sea star in focus below.
On the way back from our dive, we ran into a teeming swarm of sea nettles, all drifting slowly near the surface. I had my dry suit on with no weight belt, but I jumped in with my camera anyways, flopping around on the surface, trying to get down low enough to get some cool photos.