After staying in Newfound I flew directly to Monterey, California, for the Monterey Shootout hosted by Backscatter. This shoutout is very similar to the one in Roatan except it’s only 36 hours. I was greeted at the airport by Becca Boring who is the operations manager at Backscatter, and an amazing photographer. Becca brought me around saying hi to all the people who work at Backscatter and some of my old friends from Roatan, it was great to see them again. Also there was Mike Lodise who runs Backscatter east, and the person who helped me first learn how to set up the underwater housing system. Later that night Becca brought me over to Chuck Davis’ house where I would be staying. Chuck is a Sea Rover and an extraordinary underwater photographer. He is a B&W film photographer who has his own dark room that he prints his photos in. Chuck is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet, and it was an honor to stay with him.
The next morning I got right into the water with some of the crew from Backscatter. As we dropped down into the green murky water of the breakwater wall the massive kelp forest appeared out of the green. I started shooting. I got some shots, not good ones though. On my surface interval I sat down with Jim Decker the CEO of Backscatter and he looked over my images and gave me a few pointers about lighting and strobe placement. Jim is one of the judges for the competition and a really good photographer so I listened really well to what he had to say. The competition wasn’t going to start for a few days so I had some time to practice and get the hang of shooting in Monterey. Each day I set out from the shop and walked down to the water to dive the breakwater. The breakwater is mainly divided into three areas; the wall, middle reef, and the metridium field. Each is different and I wanted to dive each before the competition so I could see where I wanted to focus.