Friday, November 20, 2009

Kelp Forest, Channel Islands NP

Last Dive

It seems like an urban myth, but occasionally some of the best shots of an assignment do actually come on the last dive...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

When in Channel Islands... have to walk away with a couple images of the Garibaldi.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Dives

I had one of the most rewarding dives in many years today. In addition to it being my Birthday, we took a slight detour from the shipwreck inventory to dive a location called Gull Island. The crew was gracious enough to spend some time there so I could scout for a 3D shoot next year. My objective was kelp and sea lions. I was not disappointed!
As we dropped beneath the boat, the bottom was flat and sandy, almost like a field. We swam toward the kelp and through one of the most beautiful kelp forest I have been in. Then came the sea lions. First just one or two, darting in and out of the towering kelp. As we swam into shallower water, there was a posse of sea lions dancing and playing in the shallow surf zone. Now my experience with shooting sea lions is virtually not existent. I quickly learned it does absolutely no good to try and follow there actions or swim into them to get the shot. They reminded me of a pack of teens wandering the streets. A ball of twisted gray black animals would roll by you as one or two occasionally would dart close to the camera and blow bubbles as if to say "can't catch me".
The entire dive was exhilarating. Andres, my dive buddy, was very patient as I wandered the kelp forest and attempted to capture the roving sea lion gangs. The boat crew knew it was a good dive, simply because we spent over an hour and half underwater. A very impressive little dive site and one I will be returning to with 3D HD camera systems to share with the public.

Channel Islands National Park

Monday, November 16, 2009

Channel Islands National Park

I am working for the week off a NPS research vessel inventorying know shipwrecks and scouting locations for an upcoming 3D HD shoot with the Advance Imaging and Visualization Lab at Woods Hole. Its is great to be back at Channel Islands. Diving in the kelp forest have always satisfied a boyhood dream of flying through the forests and a weightless world.
Other items on the agenda are to test out some new camera equipment and work with a photographer colleague. Its Good to be back in the cold waters of California. Looking forward to spending the week evaluating these new full frame Nikon's and swimming with some sea lions. More later.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Isle Royale National Park, Michigan - Chisolm, a bulk freighter built of wood, was built in 1880 and ran aground in the predawn hours of October 20, 1898. Large sections of the wooden hull lie scattered among the Cumberland wreckage on a reef not marked by the Rock of Ages Lighthouse. This site features an intact steam enging with drive shaft and propeller sitting in about 140’ of water. The double expansion steam engine stands about 20 feet tall an
d is near perfect condition framed in ornate iron work. The engine has two pistons, one 30" and the other 56" in diameter, that operated with a four foot stroke. - Steve Martin, ISRO Picture of the Day.
Chisolm is my favorite site in the park. This massive expansive steam engine is difficult to describe it is so remarkable. The size is the first thing one marvels, but on closer examination the ornate designs crafted out of steel that surround the engine are the most remarkable. The craftsmanship involved to create such artistry in a location that no one will ever see is amazing to me. Once you rebound from the engine, one can swim along the perfectly intact prop shaft out to the propeller. Again, size is the prominent feature. Along the i
ntact stern you can observe the water marks cut into the wood in roman numeral are visible.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Emperor was a 525' steel bulk freighter carrying a load of iron ore. It was built in Canada in 1907, and met its demise in the early morning darkness of June 7, 1947. Principal blame was placed with the First Mate for not keeping "proper watch". This was further qualified, saying that the prevailing system, required him to be in charge of loading when he should have been off-duty resulted in his being overtired from lack of sleep. Out of this came the practice of today's Lake sailors, four hours on, eight hours off, four hours on, eight hours off.
This picture is of a large windlass, used to raise and lower the anchors, and Andres Diaz, an Archeologist with the NPS Submerged Resources Center. This image was taken in about 40-45' of water. -Steve Martin, ISRO Picture of the Day

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Glenlyon Mosaic

A major goal of this condition assessment is to build on work that was accomplished in the early ‘80s by the Submerged Resources Center and ISRO Dive team. As we apply the same archeological survey techniques used decades ago, we also have the benefit of underwater digital imaging technologies. In this photographer’s opinion, digital photography has been one of the most valuable advancements in underwater survey. The ability to generate hundreds of instantly available images vs. 36 pictures on traditional film has increased the data collection and documentation of these sites dramatically. One technique the SRC has used successfully over the past few years to enhance the interpretive value of shipwreck sites is by stitching several digital images together to create a mosaic. This process offers a view of a site unavailable even to the divers from one static viewpoint limited by visibility. It also has the ability to communicate the massive size and scale of these goliath vessels strewn across the reefs of Isle Royale.

In this mosaic of the Glenlyon shot three days ago, Steve Martin examines the shaft connecting the expansion engine with the broken prop resting on the reef in 45’ of water. This image was created by stitching 34 vertical images together and provides a panoramic viewpoint of the sites most impressive feature. - Brett Seymour, ISRO Picture of the Day

Monday, September 7, 2009


Glenlyon was a 328’ bulk freighter, built in 1893. It ran aground in the early morning hours of November 1. 1924 while seeking shelter in the Siskwit Bay from fall storms - Steve Martin, ISRO Picture of the Day

The Glenlyon is one of my favorite sites of Isle Royale. The machinery is massive and visually interesting. Its also a site were you can shoot a photograph that “looks” like a shipwreck. Anchors, windlass machinery and huge boilers all communicate shipwreck. Often times with the sites I image, especially the 18th and 19th century sites, its hard to find an iconic shot to communicate shipwreck. Archeologist may get excited about rigging piles and chain plates, but the general public like to recognize a shipwreck. The Glenlyon has no shortage of images to create.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Shipwrecks of Isle Royale

Isle Royale National Park, Michigan –Few location have stir the imagination like Isle Royale National Park. When I first started working with the NPS it was one of those places that held mythical status, much like the USS Arizona Memorial. The thought of all those shipwrecks in one location so well preserved in the cold dark waters of Lake Superior. I have had the opportunity to visit Isle Royale on two separate occations in the past three years. Each project only wetted my appitite to spend more bottom time imaging these massive vessels.

So, I am for two weeks with the federal mandate to conduct condition assments. Basically, this means an archeologist swims around the site and rates the condition of the site with the appropriate terminology and paperwork as poor, fair or good. In addition, they look for impacts, human or natural, and note those as well. What this means for me is bottom time! Hit as many sites as the weather will allow with the talent park dive team from Isle Royale on my absolute favorite dive boat in the NPS – the Lorelei.

Isle Royale Park Dive Officer Steve Martin came up with the great idea to provide the entire Isle Royale park staff with a picture of the day with a brief description of the operation each day. Since I ended generating some of the best shipwreck images I have ever shot, I thought it would be appropriate to post them here as well. I will include the blat that Steve offered up to the park staff regarding the project and perhaps interject some addional prose if appropriate. Enjoy the cold waters of Isle Royale Shipwrecks.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Diving with Doubilet

The following post is from the NOAA Battle of the Atlantic web site. You can see the orginal, with all the other expedition blogs at:

Mission Log: Aug. 22, 2009

By Brett Seymour
A/V Production Specialist/Diver
National Park Service Submerged Resources Center

Boats and weather - they are a constant battle for anyone who makes their living on (or under) the water. Just as the flotilla of project boats are back on-line, Hurricane Bill skirts up the Eastern seaboard. The Battlefield of the Atlantic crew can only watch the 12-15ft swells make landfall on Atlantic Beach over lunch on Saturday.

As the waves roll in, it gives the team a couple days to catch up on the data wrangling that accompanies any given project. Plotting field drawings on the site map, a much needed wash of the dive gear, and in my case, time to work up the hundreds of images that are generated during each day. My latest batch of photographs was generated on the U-85 late last week. Although Dave Conlin and I had the opportunity to dive the site earlier in the project, on this trip we would be working with one of the greats in underwater photography, David Doubilet.

Dave Conlin (NPS) collects data on the U-85, while National Geographic Magazine Photographer, David Doubilet, takes photos
Dave Conlin (NPS) collects data on the U-85, while National Geographic Magazine Photographer, David Doubilet, takes photos. (Photo: Courtesy of Seymour/NPS/NOAA)
David’s wife, Jen Hayes, had contacted MonitorSanctuary Manager, Dave Alberg after a web hit referencing artificial reefs along with our current project. Although most people assume this term only applies to purposefully sunken vessels for the enjoyment of the dive community, the phrase actually encompasses a much greater collection of submerged resources. In the framework of this project, WWII wrecks also qualify. David and Jen have been working on an article for National Geographic Magazine addressing the topic and requested some time with the Battle of the Atlantic team to generate some images. So it was back to Nags Head, NC for Dave Conlin and I to meet up with David and Jen and charter with Bill McDermott and the Outer Banks Dive Center crew.

I first met David back in back in 2000 on the USSArizona, while the National Park Service Submerged Resources Center was conducting a corrosion study on the 608’ submerged battleship. He was brought in to shoot for an article on the 60th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack for National Geographic Magazine. The story examined the current condition of the American icon and the stewardship responsibilities of the National Park Service. For a young underwater photographer eager to learn from the best, the experience was invaluable. There, as with the U-85, his eye for the dramatic was unmistakable and his laidback, yet disciplined approach to creating an image was refreshing.

We met up with David and Jen at the dock and helped them load a small fortune in underwater still cameras and lights. The hour transit to the site gave us the opportunity to catch up and plan what David wanted out of the shoot. During the previous week’s dive, I had created a photo mosaic of the German U-boat, which helped us plan the dive. Immediately David’s finger went to the forward deck gun as the shot. Agreed, I thought to myself. Not placing myself in the same league as David, seeing the shot and creating it are two very different things.

Conlin and I had some project related tasks for the dive, which including lowering a YSI environmental sonde into the open hatches of the U-boat. This instrument collects environmental data about things like dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, and temperature that will feed into corrosion studies. As we were diving closed circuit rebreathers, our bottom time was easily double the time of David and Jen on standard SCUBA cylinders, so we splashed first.

Dave Conlin (NPS) collects data on the U-85, while National Geographic Magazine Photographer, David Doubilet, takes photos
Dave Conlin (NPS) surveys the conning tower of the U-85. (Photo: Courtesy of Seymour/NPS/NOAA)
As I descended upon the U-85conning tower, I briefly made the connection between the U-boat and the first successful submarine, the HLHunley, that I had imaged not so far down the coast off Charleston, SC. So much history underwater. So many stories to tell. These stories are exactly the reason why I became an underwater photographer in the first place—it’s time to get to work.

A quick check of my rebreather, depth and time and we were off to the stern to place the YSI. We met up with David and Jen 30 minutes into our dive just as planned. Conlin’s task was to accept cryptic hand gestures that are randomly thrown out by underwater photographers when we need the “talent” to move up, over, or simply stay. His years deciphering my hand rants had paid off as he was easily able to comprehend David’s cues. I spent the dive hovering behind David shooting stills while Jen crouched behind the deck gun and lit Conlin with underwater lights.

To be honest, I’m not really sure what I expected watching David shoot underwater. After years of admiring his work, I guess magical rays of sunlight at his beck and call or the ability to usher in a pod of bottlenose dolphin to serve as a backdrop would not have surprised me (none of which happened by the way). What I did see was a professional working to get the shot. It occurred to me “that’s the key.” Work. Rarely do the portfolio shots simply come along. Most take work and working underwater is not easy. And it doesn’t matter if you are David Doubilet, an underwater shooter with the NPS or an aspiring photographer with a point and shoot camera. I have always maintained that taking a picture underwater is not difficult in our digital world. Creating an image takes discipline and work. For the remainder of the dive and some of second descent to the U-85, we worked with David to create the shot. I have no way of knowing if the U-boat images will ever see publication, but for me, personally, it was a great day to catch up with fellow underwater photographers, talk f-stops and megapixels, and reaffirm that difference between the best and the rest is two things– discipline and work.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Diving into History

Morehead City, North Carolina - U-Boats have always had a unique place in the dive community. There is a large population of divers out there who are simple U-Boat obsessed. Perhaps the success of Shadow Divers has fueled the fire, but the flames were there long before that. What I find astonishing is the lack of respect some in the dive community have treated these historic sites and maritime graves. Any artifact, features or even loose metal that can be blasted, pried, chiseled, air lifted or simply yanked off these sites has been. I guess I will never understand finder’s keepers mentality when it comes to public’s maritime heritage.

The U-Boats have been great dives, although, I must admit they lack a certain sense of awe. Perhaps because they have just been pillaged and plundered to death. All that remains is what couldn’t be stolen which is basically the pressure hull and conning towers. Even the deck gun has been ripped off the U-352 and is decaying outside a dive shop in Morehead City. My desire, and I suspect that of the dive community is a more intact sense of site preservation. I understand the site will deteriorate, however the pathetic argument that if “I don’t take an artifact, its just going rot away” is not valid. A few who rob the masses of a truly great experience is unfortunate.

Perhaps the other reason, less tangible or controversial, is based on my past experiences diving on incredibly historic and well preserved icons of our nation’s history. In the context of this project, the HL Hunley comes to mind. After spending months as the project photographer for the recovery of the first successful submarine in maritime history these U-Boats seem modern. The fascination of the U-Boats to the dive community is the ability to dive a true piece of history - and one that plays a captivating role. Even in there looted, stripped and broken state, they are authentic. Not an artificial reef submerged intentionally, but a physical connection to the past and our history as a nation. My career with the NPS has allowed me to do this very thing, on so many occasions, and for this I am incredibly grateful.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Battle of the Atlantic Expedition

Morehead City, NC – The next stop in a long summer of back to back projects is a U-Boat expedition with some colleagues from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The team, largely comprised of maritime archeologist, is examining the Cape Hatteras area of the NC coast often referred to as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. The goal of the project is to documenting both the German U-Boats and some of their Allied casualties from WWII. The work began last year with mapping operations on three U-Boats – the U352, U85 and the U701. This year the team is focusing on a site called the Bedfordshire, a Brittish trawler sunk by the U352. My job is to document the submerged sites and work with Dave Conlin, Chief of the SRC, on corrosion potential measurements on selected sites. Due to logistical needs and scheduling, he and I have been chartering dive boats to visit the German subs. You can learn more about the project, the team and follow the expedition on the project blog at

Monday, August 3, 2009

Random Signs of Childhood

Key West, Florida - Today we came off the Dry Tortugas enroute to the next project. As we unloaded the commercial ferry Yankee Freedom with enough Pelican shipping containers to mobilize against a small country I noticed a series of directional signs in the Key West street. Upon closer examination one destination caught my eye. Pittsburg, NH – a place I grew up snowmobiling with my dad – 1845mi. It’s not quite as far as you can get from here in the continental US, but pretty darn close.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Koza - The Best Name In Production Assistants

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida - I have spent nearly 15 years traveling around the country working with the most diverse and talented individuals in the National Park Service. The agency has a feeling of unity for those who truly subscribe to its “unimpaired for future generations” ethos. Occasionally, as with most journeys in life, you meet extraordinary individuals who possess a certain quality that you just inherently want to be around. For me, in my NPS journey, no one ranks higher than Jim Koza

A tremendous retired NPS employee who spend his career on the waters of the NPS keeping visitors safe through buoys, docks and aids to navigation. Koza embodies those old tales of sailors who reach mythical status through storms and heavy seas. He is meek soul who can humble you pretty quickly by docking a boat or tying a knot – all without a hint of intent. He has been supporting SRC operations for years, long before I was with the NPS. He is a rare breed of diver that has crossed over from the old guard who founded SCRU and new leadership currently at the SRC helm.

My acquaintance with Koza began at Lake Mead NRA on a small skiff looking for a submerged B-29 aircraft with a drop camera around 2000. My friendship began shortly after by spending several weeks on houseboats, barges and pretty much anything that would float discussing the NPS, diving and more importantly life. Koza was the engine of the logistical train in our deep mixed gas diving operations at Mead. If a dive requires hours of decompression there is a very short list of individuals I want supervising the op with an eye toward the weather. Koza is unequivocally at the top of the list...

Koza - The Best Name In Production Assistants (2)

...So, when I was looking for a production assistant for some projects in the Tortugas I thought of Koza. People always comment they would love to carry my cameras. I have heard that for years. The interesting thing about those statements is that carrying cameras (and tanks, weights, pulling anchors, climbing into boats, etc) is not that easy. Add to it a lack of sleep over several days with a rigorous operational pace and carrying my cameras is far less glamorous. Koza has always been a workhorse on our projects. I thought he may appreciate something a little warmer and not so devoid of life as our past reservoir operations at Lake Mead NRA. 

Day after day, dive after dive Koza has been money. He is always in the perfect position just behind, watching my back. You might think this is an easy task but many shots have been ruined with a camera move in a different direction only to have a stunned diver swimming frantically trying to get out of the way. Watching my back is also key. On underwater shoots, I rarely demonstrates the best buddy skills. A shooter is generally focused one thing – the shot. Koza is my safety diver and underwater grip by day and my repair tech by night. After a couple of dives this week, he would surface with a big smile on his face and comment he just had one of the best dives of his life. Coming from a legendary old-school diver, thats saying a lot. A couple of days ago (he will certainly know which one) I turned around to get a second camera from him and there he was, resting on the bottom with a big grin from ear to ear. His trademark twenty-plus year old mask barely held a water tight seal the smirk was so massive. Good times. Koza – The best name in production assistances.

Thanks Koza

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Nikon Paperweight

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida - The most common question I get regarding the underwater photography equipment I shoot is always “how much does that cost?” (Well, actually the most common is “So, do you dive?” shortly after they find out I am an underwater photographer but perhaps that’s a topic for another blog). The thought of submerging thousands of dollars in electronics always seems to mystify most people. Like most thing, I suppose over the years you get more confident in your abilities and the focus is less on the cost and more on the appropriate tool for the job. I’m sure if I was handed a camera system that cost as much as my first house when I began shooting, I would have been a little more nervous. In my opinion, the dollar amount doest really play into the equation regarding the responsibility and prep to splashing any given camera system. I try to prep each camera the way I learned near a dimly lit pool at Temple University when I took my first (and only) underwater photography class. Very meticulously. The price tag may have gone up from those old Nikonos cameras, but the attention to orings and pinch points is still the same.

Orings and pinch points – the lesson of this entry. Today was a first in my career as an underwater photographer. I flooded my first camera. Not just any camera, but my best (and favorite) Nikon D2Xs system. I was going to shoot on small sunken shrimp boat populated with thousands of schooling fish of every variety. When I hit the bottom at 20’ I noticed the dome port filling with water - fast. I rocketed for the surface but I knew it was too late. Water, especially of the salt variety, is the death nail for these modern marvels of computer chips and image sensors. I had not followed my own rules for meticulously prepping a camera and an o-ring got pinched in the housing. For most reading this blog, a Nikon D2Xs means nothing except that it’s some type of camera. Let’s just say its one of those cameras that would make you ask “how much does that cost?” My reply – A lot.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Forgiveness vs Permission

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida - So, I wanted to capture the state of collapse in one of the walls of Fort Jefferson for the park curator and archeologist. I thought I could balance the right amount of intrigue with disrepair by generating a split level image. In the never-ending uphill battles for funding and support to maintain our historic resources in the NPS, I know the value of the good image (Fortunately, so does the NPS or else I would not have a job). Anyway, I also was curious about the marine life inside the moat surrounding the fort. Seemed straight forward until I heard tales of a horrific sea lice attacks on a masonry worker who had need to wander around within. I counted the costs. Of course the pursuit of the image won out. Next I queried some park staff as to the depth. The consensus was anywhere from 4 to 12 ft deep. Very manageable indeed. The next obstacle was access. Moats were not designed with entrance or exit latter for obvious reasons. A sluice-way provided the necessary location for my expedition.

So in I went. With ever prick of sea grass on my legs, I knew the lice had come to devour me. The depth estimates had proven to be quite generous. In most areas I could barley clear the bottom. I was walking inch by inch with the tips of my fingers over the sea grass. I reached the collapsed areas I would focus on. Was that lice biting me? No just underwater debris. After shooting several splitlevels in various areas, I headed back to my point of exit. I stopped to admire a large patch of upside-down jellyfish. Jellyfish - they have always been an intriguing mixture of beauty and death in the same fascination package. I needed a more interesting perspective. Being an expert in all things underwater, I knew they would only sting if touched by the tentacles which reached for the surface. If I was careful, I could reposition one and fire off a few frames. My over developed confidence soon diminished when I felt the intense pain as it gently brushed across my arm just by raising it into the water column for the sake of art.

I managed to not so gracefully climb out of the moat by scaling the brick wall where I entered. Feeling pleased with my execution of “operation moat” for the sake of photography I walked back to the fort. I was dripping wet with a stinging arm and some still undetermined bite sensations in various places around my body. As I entered the interior of the fort, I passed one of the interpretive rangers from the park. “Get some good images?” I started to construct the perfectly worded response of my conquest but all I got out of my mouth was “Yes, I was in the moat…”. “The moat?” was her reply. “You’re not allowed in the moat”. Forgiveness vs permission. Not the first (and mostly not the last) in pursuit of an image.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Worth the Pain

The (painful) upside down jellyfish in the moat.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Resources, Resources – Everywhere Resources

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida - One of the great things about the Dry Tortugas is the amazing diversity of resources inside the park. If you go to the Dry Tortugas just to scuba dive - you’ve missed it. If you solely focus on masonry construction, turtle nesting, nurse shark mating, pristine coral reefs, shipwrecks, rare birds, recreational fishing, or sailing you have missed the entire magic and experience of the Dry Tortugas. Combine these resources, and you have a sensation overload that has always ranked as one of the most spectacular places on earth.

While I have been working at the Dry Tortugas, I have had the opportunity to photography the release of a few baby loggerhead turtles. Kayla, a very talented bio tech and turtle researcher is permitted to dig existing nest areas three days after the young turtles make there escape. Today as I was photographing a release, I thought how screwed this tiny little turtle must have felt. First, the little guy attempts to dig itself out of the sand – unsuccessfully. Next, gentle hands dig you out and place you in a bucket with even more sand to make you feel at home. After a bouncy boat ride (the collections were on adjacent keys) you arrive at another beach and released. You struggle to the sea, giving your fins the there first test. Finally, you reach the water, get pummeled by a couple of monster waves (4”) only to be greeted by me, a very intimidating creature yielding a massive black camera that flashes like a disco strobe as you seek deeper water. I felt bad that this little guys only sensation of land for the next 20 years was so traumatic. Well, after culling the hundreds of shots my guilt quickly subsided. This little guy is going to be famous in the parks interpretive and educational materials. Swim hard my little friend.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Where it all began

Dry Tortugas National Park is a special place. I first saw the Gibraltar of the Gulf appear out to the azure waters back in 1994. I was wet behind the ears as a film school grad who had patted his resume to get a spot with the legendary NPS SCRU team for a summer project. It was that summer that I found my career. Well, at least I though so - it took an additional seven years to convince the NPS. Returning back to the Fort this summer for a three weeks has given me the opportunity to visit the sites I spent so many submerged hours working with the archeologist to map. It feels like visiting an old friend. It has also given me the opportunity to realize just how little I know about underwater photography when I first started.

Sure the photography world has changed. We are shooting several hundred digital images on a card with the instant gratification of an LCD screen. It’s difficult to remember the pains of 36 exposures on the film-based Nikonos systems. More than the technology, it was my approach to the discipline of underwater photography. When I started, as with most new uw shooters, I was satisfied to create a properly exposed, well framed image and simply replicate an underwater scene. Today, I find myself viewing a landscape or shipwreck in my minds eye and trying to create that, not the image the camera wants to give me. I don’t want to get all philosophical and pretentious about underwater photography as an art, but there is a difference in those who take a picture vs those who create a photograph. Since that first summer in the Dry Tortugas, every dive, every frame, I have worked to be the latter.

So, I’m back where this photographic journey began for me. Much has changed in my life, little has stayed the same. I thought when I began this adventure there was no greater joy than traveling the world and shooting underwater. Of course that was the mantra of transient youth. Today, I know there is no greater joy than having a loving wife and two awesome sons to share the travel and assignments with. I have great hopes of a couple of camera assistants in the future. The fact they can put up with the transient adult lifestyle constantly amazes me. The next time I find myself at the Fort, they will be with me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Seymour Family Portrait

Chase, Elizabeth & Cameron pose for our traditional family photo.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Family Business

Nassau, Bahamas - When Mike from Ocean Technologies System called and asked me if I would be interested in a Bahamas shoot, you might wonder why I would even have to think about it. The issue was I was already committed to nearly three months away from my family. The solution? Bring them with me of course! Mike, being the class act he is, moved to accomidate the increase in the production team. The result has been on the the best vacations of our life. I could generate dozens of posts with pics of my boys in the pool day after day after day after day after day. Perhaps the water thing runs in the family? While I was out diving with sharks and shipwrecks, so were Cameron and Chase in there minds eye logging nearly enough pool time in to require decompression. Each night I would share a dive story from the day while putting them to bed then spend a couple hours alone with my beautiful wife Elizabeth. Would it be possible to run each assignment like this?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Working??? with OTS

Nassau, Bahamas - Over the years working underwater I have come to depend on certain manufactures to deliver the best in underwater equipment. The guys at Ocean Technologies Systems are at the top of that list. After the company president, Mike Pelissier did the NPS (an me personally) a huge favor by working a recient PBS NOVA program we were shooting on the USS Arizona we discussed future projects. With the relese of the best underwater full face mask ever designed (the Guardian) they were looking for a shooter to help out with some catalog shots. Based on a combination of talent and being a cheap date, I find myself in Nassau, Bahamas working with the OTS crew at Stuart Cove's. Its been five days of clear blue water, sharks, shipwrecks and talented models. Did I mention sharks? The crew at Stuarts have been awesome and I have no shortage of images to capture. Did I mention sharks?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Greatest Dive

Islamorada, Florida - As an underwater photographer, I have done my share of diving. I know, all divers throw around numbers of dives and c-cards like a badge of honor. This isn't about quantity, but quality. The other day I had what can only be described as my greatest dive. There was no 300' vis. No schooling bait ball with charging swordfish. No big animal encounters like a whale shark meandering through the dive site. There wasn't even any shipwrecks - and that doesn't happen often. This dive was in 4' of water, under a dock at my good friend Jim Bernardin's resort, Pines & Palms in Islamorada, Florida. There were a couple of the smallest eels I have ever seen. A schooling snapper population the size of matchboxes and a handful of lobster that would have a tough time not being boiled, dipped in cocktail sauce and getting eaten as an appetizer. What made this dive so amazing? It was my son Cameron's first snorkel.

If your a parent, you'll get this. If your going to be a parent, be prepared because it will happen and it's awesome. I'm talking about seeing the world, your world, through the eyes of your child. When Cam and I drifted under that unimpressive little dock not on any map or visitor guide I got to experience the underwater world through his eyes. His anxious points at EVERY fish and the muffled grunts through his little snorkel made my senses heightened. He wanted to make sure I saw it all too. His very cautious approach to a hiding spotted moray not 6" big made me realize how cool those creatures are. His little finger gently touching the modeled shell of a cowry made me ponder there design. The way he flinched when I pointed out an upside jellyfish made me respect there sting. The surprised eek he gave when a barracuda, the largest he had ever seen underwater (maybe 8"), streaked by us was exhilarating.

Civil War submarines, WWII wrecks, pristine stagehorn coral, or schooling sharks can't compare to a 4' dive holding Cam arms under the dock and seeing the underwater world through his eyes for the first time. I'm betting it wont be our last dive together.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Really, another blogger????

Denver, Colorado - So, a good friend and fellow photographer told me years ago that I should think about posting a blog. She has been been in the blogging world at Blue Pompano Photography for years. I check in from time to time to see what adventures life in the Virgin Islands has brought about. Until recently I didn't think much about posting as the world seemed to have to many bloggers clogging up the web already. But with countless miles and frames both passing in a blur (well at least the miles) I have been looking for an outlet to share my travels and images with family and friends. I have no agenda to indoctrinate anyone with my world view - just my underwater world view. I'm not selling, just sharing. In the upcoming three months alone I will be imaging historic shipwrecks in the Florida Keys, German U-boats off North Carolina, and the massive wooden and iron hulks in Lake Superior. The occupation that God had provided and allowed me to passionately pursue with the National Park Service grants access to some of the most amazing underwater resources in the world. I think there are some stories there. After nearly 15 years, I certainly know there are some images.

So, to answer the title of this first blog, yes the world has yet another blogger. I'm not sure if I have a lot of catching up to do or I'm late to the party, as I'm pretty sure this blogging thing is no longer trendy. Everyone has moved on to FaceSpace, MyBook, or whatever the next great social networking will be. I promise, if you check back from time to time, you'll never see a tweet from underwater. My life is just not that exciting. You will see some diverse images and travel unique waters areas around the world. Enjoy.