Celebrating Jacques Cousteau’s Birthday

One hundred and four years ago, to this date, Jacques-Yves Cousteau took his first breaths. But it would be his countless breaths underwater from his self-invented Aqua-Lung that would leave the most impact.

As a filmmaker, diver, explorer and conservationist, Cousteau brought the mysteries of the underwater world to the big screen and christened an entire generation (and generations to come) into the sanctuary of the oceans.

So here’s to Jacque-Yves 104-year birthday—let’s celebrate with a few quotes and pictures.

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

“People protect what they love.”

“If we were logical, the future would be bleak, indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope, and we can work.”

"When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself."

"The sea, the great unifier, is man's only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat."

Memorial Day: Palau’s Ghost Fleet

In addition to hot dogs and hamburgers, Memorial Day is a time to remember the brave men and women who have served in the United States Armed Service. 

Underwater photographers are fortunate to get a first hand look at the sweat and sacrifice of those who have served for their country in battle—scattered across the Pacific, WW2 relics make for compelling and haunting images.

Jake's Sea Plane is just one of a handful of Japanese aircraft left over from Operation Desecrate One.

There is perhaps no better example of the prowess of the United States marine than the Ghost Fleet of Palau—more than 30 Japanese ships and planes sunk during Operation Desecrate One. Along with the attack on Truk Lagoon (Japan’s Pearl Harbor), Operation Desecrate One marks the biggest attack of the US Navy during WW2. 

I had the chance to photograph the Ghost Fleet last summer on an assignment to Palau. It is a reminder not only of the American’s victory in the Pacific front, but also the harsh realities of war—that history is more than just about the winners. 

The Teshio Maru is the largest known wreck in Palau, whose large bow cuts through the gloomy waters of the inner lagoon. 

Japanese helmets and other supplies are all that's left on the accurately nicknamed "Helmet Wreck"

Coral-encrusted guns are littered about the wrecks--along with gas masks, saki bottles, and ammunition.

A diver explores a plane wreck in the shallows of Palau.

Massive guns still guard the wreck of the Iro Maru, which lies in 100-feet of water. 

The Iro Maru is perhaps the most famous wreck of the Ghost Fleet, brimming with life such as these schooling silverside fish and a resident shoal of bar jacks. 

The Iro Maru is perhaps the most famous wreck of the Ghost Fleet, brimming with life such as these schooling silverside fish and a resident shoal of bar jacks. 

More images of Palau's Ghost Fleet can be seen in the gallery below. Happy Memorial Day!

Everybody Loves Turtles

This week marks one of the biggest holidays in the world. No, it’s not Memorial Day for you Yankees out there. Nor is it National Escargot Day for the French. It’s National Turtle Day!

I thought I’d give it a s-hell of a celebration by posting some of my favorite turtle encounters underwater captioned by the incomparable Crush from Finding Nemo. So there’s only one question left: “Do you have your exit buddy?”

                             "First you were like WHOA! Then we were like WHOA! and then you were like ..whoa.."

                                              "RIGHTEOUS! RIGHTEOUS!"

                                                        How old are you?

                              "Hundred and fifty, and still young, dude. Rock on."

                           "Oh, man. Hey, no hurling on the shell, dude, ok? Just waxed it."

                           "Oh, man. Hey, no hurling on the shell, dude, ok? Just waxed it."

                           "Grab shell, dude!"

                                                                             "Gimme some fin. Noggin. Dude!"

                                                                             "Gimme some fin. Noggin. Dude!"

                                        "Dude, Mister Turtle is my father. Name's Crush."

Happy International Turtle Day 2014. For more info on endangered turtle species like the Hawksbill and Green Turtles pictured above, visit the Endangered Species website

Photography Feature Writing Tips

What does a photojournalist do when he has a couple of months without a field assignment? Edit, pitch stories to editors, rinse and repeat.

So much effort goes into planning your trip, nailing some good shots and pitching your stories (images) to editors, that by the time you've gotten the "Yes" email from publication X, Y, or Z, the task of actually writing the article seems a little scary.

Fortunately, I find myself in that very position with 6 feature stories being published/having a deadline in the month of October. So I thought I'd use this opportunity in the next few weeks to share my top five tips on crafting photography features.