DANO Pendygrasse

odds and ends from an unusual life

Healthy Reefs Initiative Report Card.

Hi friends,

Firstly, thank you all so much for the amazing response to Captive. It's been so overwhelmingly positive. Next, I wanted to share a photo that was recently published. Usually people post their published work as an ego boost or to drum up business, but I'm hoping that you'll take a minute and look at what the Healthy Reefs Initiative is doing on the Mesoamerican Reef. The largest reef system outside of the great barrier reef.

The monitoring that HRI does is crucial to the management of the reef, and the benchmarks that are set allow scientists to track both positive and negative changes. My favourite part of the report card is that it highlights victories and not just the challenges to maintaining the reef.

So that's my photo of Ian Drysdale on the Cordelia Banks there on the cover.

Have a great day.

D.


Comments

Cordelia Banks.

Hello friends,

I’ve been back from Roatan for just a few days but life is moving incredibly quickly. It’s always like this when good things happen, they tend to happen in clusters and it’s all you can do just to keep up. I’m holding on for the ride!

When I was in the water waiting to shoot the shark release, I had some time with Ian Drysdale from healthyreefs.org and we spent it discussing the Cordelia Banks on the South side of Roatan. Recently discovered, the reef there is largely made up of staghorn coral which went through a disastrous decline due to disease in the 80’s. It’s in the crosshairs of the conservation movement because due to the healthy population of staghorn and its proximity to deep water currents, there is speculation that these reefs maybe be responsible for repopulating the staghorn population throughout the entire Caribbean. Impressive. The Cordelia Banks are a rich environment for fish as well. Grouper have been seen to use the area as a spawning aggregation site and the reef is an ideal nursery for juvenile fish.

Cordelia is also located less than a kilometre away from the Coxen Hole cruise ship dock, and about 7 kilometres from the new massive cruise ship facility at Mahogany Bay. 3 or 4 hundred times a year, thousand foot long cruise ships come within striking distance of this fragile ecosystem. There is evidence of boat strikes on the reef, but still they manage to flourish. Also, Coxen Hole is the largest population centre on the island and much of the pollution filters through the reef.

So Ian invited me to come dive Cordelia to get a sense of it for myself and shoot some photos. We’re going to try to get these out there and raise some awareness to help protect what could end up being a critical resource in the health of coral in the Caribbean. We had a small window one morning between high winds and conditions weren’t ideal, but I was lucky enough to get a look at this amazing ecosystem. Take a look.

D.


One windy boat ride. Ian smiles while Nic from the Roatan Marine Park prepares his kit.

Ian inspects a small growth of staghorn.

This coral may be as little as two or three years old.

Fields of the stuff. A rare sight these days.

And a nursery for many fish species.

Most of the healthiest parts of the reef are in less than 10 feet of water.
Comments

Maui blog

Hi friends.

So as you who follow me on flickr, twitter or facebook know, I’m just back from Maui again. It gets harder to leave every time. Having said that, it was one of those trips where my priorities were pretty low on the list, lots of family and friends things on the schedule so I didn’t dive as much as I would have liked and didn’t shoot as much either. I did however, relax a lot and read a lot which are things that are sorely lacking in my day to day life. Favourite book of the trip was Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.

I’m continuing down a road in my travel photos that I’m finding deeply satisfying. Experiments that started in Sweden are developing into rules and themes that I feel very connected and sure about. I think that one of the things that hangs over the head of creative people sometimes is the “is this valid?” question. It’s hard to answer and if you need someone else to pat you on the head and tell you that it is, you can find yourself corrupted from your intentions by the desire to get more pats on the head. I’ve found that in the last couple years I’ve been liberated from a lot of habits born from shooting almost entirely with an editorial goal in mind. In the end, I’ve come to a place where personal satisfaction is then only validation I require.

I added to three different personal groups of work this trip as well as all the underwater stuff, which I’ll get to in a second. Until then, here are some impressions of Maui above water. If you click any of them they should open in my photoshelter gallery.


Baldwin Park in Paia. An outtake from my “fields of play” series.

People react to a dead sea turtle.

Big beach

Christmas day.

Private property. An outtake from my “semi-natural states/coast” project.

Who wants to go fishing?

Palm tree from the couch.

Beachgoers.

Makawao plant.

Ok, ok. One more stupid sunset.

Then we got underwater. We did some shore dives and also did some boat dives with Ed Robinson’s and B&B Scuba. If you’ve dived with either of them you know that they are both great operations. We did most of our dives at Molokini, which always provides the chance of great encounters and one dive on the St. Anthony’s wreck which I love. I should have spent more time on the surface though. It was a very short dive.

In terms of shooting, I was rusty which drives me bonkers, so hard to push yourself when you have to relearn things every time. In the end though it came together. I was shooting a single strobe, which, when it comes to balance (both underwater and in terms of lighting) was challenging. Eventually I did push my macro forward a bit, the wide angle suffered from the single strobe but I actually don’t buy into the school of thought - that is so prevalent - that says everything needs to be super evenly and completely lit. I actually think it’s a real cop out way to shoot.

So, lots of nudibranchs, no whale sharks this time. We saw a fair amount of white tip reef sharks, heard a lot of whales and saw a variety of new creatures. No boardshorts for me this time though. The water was 75 and I was in a 3/2 wetsuit. My Roatan friends have permission to laugh now.

Enjoy the set.

d.


Waves crash over Molokini back wall.

Blue dragon nudi.

And another one.

White mouth Moray.

These guys are called Guard crabs.

More back wall.

Trembling nudibranch at Mala boat ramp.

A pair of Imperial Nudibranchs

Fried egg nudi.

This is a painted frogfish at 5 graves.

White margin nudi

Gold lace Nudi. Ooooooo, pretty.

This is a coral. An oval mushroom coral actually.

I thought this was a dragon wrasse but it’s actually a juvenile razor wrasse.

These fellas are everywhere.

This was new to me. Scaly slipper lobster.

And then home...
Comments