To quote Frans Lanting, one of the world’s top nature photographers, “Every picture tells a story.” It is our task as photographers to distil down all the “fluff” that competes for our
attention in the images. The viewer of the final photograph will then spend the effort to “listen” to the narrative we are trying to convey. The challenges and the successes have made for a pretty
rewarding - and
humbling - journey
so far.
I believe that humans are not separate from nature, and thoughtful interaction is our rightful place in the grand scheme of things. Many of my images have special people in them to provide grounding for this idea. Unfortunately, “Manifest Destiny” poured out of Europe hundreds of years ago, and it’s alive and well in the beginning of the 21st century. Fighting this man vs. nature conflict will only ultimately result in our loss. We may like to think we can conquer the world…but we cannot.

My revelation on this topic happened one early morning on a pink sand beach in Bikini Atoll. You would never know about the malevolent history here unless you were told. For eight years nature took pretty much all the nuclear nastiness we could dish out, and after 50 years - a blink of an eye in earth time - she has nearly erased the destruction without our meddling. The background radiation is less than what you’d receive from a single transcontinental flight across the U.S. In a few more “blinks” of time, she will have reduced the cesium 137 half-life contamination currently concentrated in the plant life to insignificant levels. The concrete rubble and rusting steel will be deconstructed to sand and ferrous compounds, as will the fabulous
ships in the lagoon as they become part of the seabed. I came away from Bikini with the thought that despite our arrogance as a species we will not be able to destroy the earth. We can and have been making a real mess of things that could potentially make it a very sad place to live, but Mother Earth will continue on. We do not need a plethora of draconian directives to live in harmony on this planet. We just need to think about our actions a little more carefully – kind of like what most of us were told somewhere around kindergarten.

I started blowing bubbles in 1967 at the age of ten when my father rented a two-hose regulator and tank from a gas station/diveshop in the small town of Yucaipa, California. The influence of Sea Hunt’s Mike Nelson and The Silent World of Jacques Cousteau were just too much to ignore. Over the years, I’ve been involved with many types of diving, including instruction, research, and technical sport diving. Somewhere along the line, the idea of taking expensive cameras and immersing them in saltwater seemed like a good idea. I’ve been making images and writing professionally for the last eight years.

Living in Thousand Oaks, California, allows me to frequent the kelp beds of the Channel Islands — which on a GOOD day is my favorite place to dive. I’m married to Janine McMurdie, who also happens to be my number one model and proofreader. Having newly retired from a molecular biology career at the ripe old age of fifty, my plans include staying as wet as possible!