Thursday, August 26, 2010

NorthWest Dive & Travel Expo 2011 in Tacoma

Apart from presenting a daytime seminar, it looks like I will  also be on stage at the fourth annual Dive and Travel Expo's Saturday night film festival. The event is sponsored by the Dive News Network and will again be held at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center on April 8, 9 & 10, 2011.  Topics to be announced at a later date.

What A Difference A Year Can Make ~ Sockeye Salmon Return To British Columbia’s Fraser River

Early predictions are this year’s Fraser River Sockeye salmon run could be the biggest run on the river since 1913! With an estimated 25-million sockeye expected, this is welcome news especially after the disastrous 2009 season when just over one million salmon returned.  Clearly, the four-year salmon life cycle is dictated by the rhythms of Mother Nature.  We can only observe and remain hopeful that future runs will remain equally strong.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jett Britnell Lands Lead Role In TV’s Ocean Hunt

Hollywood, August 22, 2010 ~ After months of auditioning actors and scuba divers, producers of Ocean Hunt, a new adventure series on the FOX network, have decided that underwater photographer, Jett Britnell, will have the chance to play the lead character, Napoleon Nelson, an ex-Navy Seal turned diving photojournalist who juggles the trials and tribulations of working as a big time undersea adventurer with the never ending obstacles that get in the way of maintaining a solid marriage (His scuba diving wife will be played by action thespian, Angelina Jolie).

“We auditioned Jett about five times,” said executive producer and the show’s creator, Matt Damon. “We pretty much knew he was our guy but the people at the network weren’t sure, only because sometimes you don’t know if he’ll just phone it in with his laptop.  He often brandishes a Macbook Pro like a spear gun. Still, there’s a certain lovable charm to him that’s undeniable.”

Other actors that auditioned for the part were Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Pee Wee Herman, Jamie Foxx and Hilary Swank.  Joining Jett on the show will be the great comedic actors, Zach Galifianakis and Betty White. Both will play diving sidekicks helping Jett (or Napoleon) flesh out his editorial assignments so they exceed the expectations of their workaholic man’s man boss, who will be portrayed by Damon himself.

According to Damon, the premise to the show came to him in a dream, one in which he was embroiled in an underwater knife fight when all of a sudden he came up with the title for a show and Ocean Hunt popped into his head out of nowhere. When he woke up, he wrote the name of the show on a pad he keeps by the side of his bed and later that day, he pitched the idea to the network.

Damon also claims he hadn’t even thought about casting Jett in the part. Apparently, Jett’s first audition was the one that won Damon over, after showcasing his storytelling abilities he has been famous for over the years. “He’s like an old young Jacques Cousteau,” said Damon. “He can dive to any depth. It’s like he’s made of Trimix. It’s been a long time since there’s been someone like that on television. I think this show will put an end to reality television and bring the adventure series back for good.”

Jett, who was reached for comment, only had this to say about his new job: “Banana pancake anyone?”

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What's The Deal With Jerry Seinfeld?

The deal with Seinfeld is he played Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre tonight, we were there, and he slayed!  What can I say?  Seinfeld is a comedic genius when it comes to telling jokes about anything seemingly mundane.  If Kenny Bania was in the house tonight, he surely would have shouted, "That's gold, Jerry! Gold!

Friday, August 20, 2010

iPad Paid For Itself In Less Than Two Weeks!

In less than two weeks, my new iPad has virtually paid for itself because I was able to quickly retrieve one my wife's emails while at a BMW dealership showroom. The dealer had to shave an additional $500 off their final price when Kathryn showed them a confirming email from one of their competitors. She's now chauffeuring me around town in her luxurious new BMW!

Urticina Piscivor ~ The Fish Eating Tealia Anemone

In British Columbia, Fish Eating Tealia Anemones can be found within kelp forests or upon rocky reefs. There are several species, each slightly different from the other as its tentacles can be either solid white or a solid red color.  Planktonic organisms and anything small enough that falls into the grasp of this anemone's tentacles are unlikely to escape.

True to its common name, this strikingly colored, dinner-plate sized  anemone employa its strong tentacles to catch small fish or shrimp. Growing to about 8" to 10" in diameter (20 - 25 cm), the Fish Eating Anemone is not a predator to all fishes.  It actually provides some protection for one small fish, the Painted Greenling.  Much like clownfish do in typical host anemones, Painted Greenlings have been observed lying unharmed in this anemone.

While I’ve yet to photograph a Painted Greenling lounging on this anemone, my undersea search shall continue.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Drank The iPad Kool-Aid... And I Liked It!

There’s no denying that underwater photography is a gear intensive pursuit.  Along with digital DSLR cameras, underwater strobes, underwater camera housings and an arsenal of lenses, one also requires a state of the art computer system to download and process all those images.

In 2007,  I switched from using PC’s to a Macbook Pro laptop and I have never looked back.  MACs seem designed to easily handle the rigors of diving photojournalism and photo editing.  So yes, you could say that I’m a die hard Apple devotee when it comes to electronics.  

We are now several months past (released in Canada on May 28) Apple’s impressive release of their latest technology marvel, the iPad. At first, I resisted being an early adopter, but all that ended last week.  I drank the iPad Kool-Aid and sprung for the top of the line iPad 64GB, Wi-FI 3G model.  For a diving photojournalist, the opportunity to present digital media to editors and potential clients proved irresistible.  I drank the IPad Kool-Aid.

The iPad can do several cool things.  Apart from the simple art of reading emails on the fly, it is a great ebook reader that will allow taking a virtual library of book with us wherever we travel.  Toss in the ability to play the off game or watch movies makes this a worthy tool.  With its Multi-Touch user interface, large screen and high-quality graphics, the iPad will run almost all of the more than 225,000 apps on the App Store.

One feature I would like to see in the next model release is a built in hi resolution camera for adhoc image making.  This will come, I’m sure.  And when it does, my lovely wife will inherit the current iPad. Just imagine, she can then either update her blog when her Macbook Pro is in its briefcase, or perhaps even order that new pair of simply gotta have it  black stilettos from White House Black Market while we are driving in the car.   Hmmm... maybe I should rethink that one?

Monday, August 2, 2010

It Was 20 Years Ago! ~ Fisheye View Magazine


August 1990 – It was early in my diving photojournalism career when I received a call from  the editors/publishers Rob & Robin Burr of FISHEYE VIEW Magazine. Back then this was an upstart new diving magazine on the block that was hell bent on giving the traditional bigger diving magazines a run for their advertising buck. FISHEYE actually gave a start to quite a few diving photojournalists whose names are now commonplace in the diving world. Anyway, Robin Burr contacted me to ask if I would consider going to Vanuatu for them on a magazine assignment? "Hell, yeah!", I said.

I felt honored, as up to this point, I only had three published articles in three diving magazines to my credit along with two magazine cover shots.  Anyway, Robin stated they recently had to pay a stock agency for some underwater images because the writer/photographer team they had just sent to Australia came back with a nice story, but their pictures were crap. She went on to say that both my writing and photography were great! Her parting words were, "Bring us back a great story!"

Well, as it turned out, I did just that. My words and images were given feature treatment in the magazine and I also snagged the magazine's cover shot; a vertical image of a chromodoris nudibranch. Another wide angle image of mine was selected to be used in an advertisement for both the charter operator and Sea & See Travel's full page ad.  My article and cover shot in FISHEYE was also printed as a handout that was circulated at the Diving Equipment & Manufacturers Association (DEMA) that year, which resulted in several other overseas assignments for me.

Bob Bowdy, the dive operator, commented, "The response from Jett’s article in FISHEYE VIEW was much greater than we had hoped for. We feel this is entirely due to the quality of the article. If as they say a picture is worth a thousand words, this was an eloquent article to say the least."

So, all in all, a truly rewarding and memorable experience.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Straight Information About Hawaii Shark Attacks and the Risk To Humans

Shark Attack Hawaii 
Thriller movies portray sharks as ferocious predators that aggressively attack and kill innocent swimmers. The truth is much less exciting--or dangerous. The chances of a Hawaii shark attack are extremely low.

Sharks are not unpredictable, deranged killers. Rather, sharks play an essential part in the ocean's balance by removing the weak and sick from marine animal populations.

Basic Facts About Hawaii Shark Attacks
Tiger sharks are responsible for most Hawaii shark attacks on humans. This large shark species regularly eats human-size prey.

When seen from below, swimmers and surfboarders are perhaps mistaken for the fat bodies of sea turtles–a favorite treat for sharks. Splashing creates irregular ripples in the water below, which entice the shark to attack an apparently injured animal.

The most common type of Hawaii shark attack is the so-called "hit and run" assault. This shark attack, a quick bite and release, whereupon the shark disappears, is usually a case of mistaken identity. Because humans not part of a shark's normal diet, we are quickly abandoned for better prey. These shark attacks usually cause leg injuries below the knee and are rarely fatal.