Blue Water Images: Blog en-us (C) Blue Water Images (Blue Water Images) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:04:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:04:00 GMT Blue Water Images: Blog 120 110 CephalopodPerDay in Febuary One of my favorite critters to photograph is a cephalopod (octopus, squid, and cuttlefish). And, with my 2017 goal to learn more / study the critters I photograph, I thought it would be fun to tie the two together. So, for every day in February, I chose one cephalopod interaction, logged it on iNaturalist, and then wrote up a detailed post with the information. Then, I posted it to facebook / instagram / twitter; it was great fun! But, a bit more work than I expected.  

To complete the entire process, I've now added all of the high-res images - with their details, their iNaturalist observation link, plus additional references - on BlueWaterImages. In a few cases I've also uploaded multiple versions of the shots because I've been printing some square metal images and I love what you can do with these around the house (making "tile" patterns, etc.).

So... here's a quick log of the critters by day as well as a short "Ripl" (video) of the top 8 (by Instagram likes).

Feb 1: Coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)

Coconut Octopus vs. A Single Scallop Shell (1 of 3)Coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) Coconut Octopus vs. A Single Scallop Shell (1 of 3)Coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) Coconut Octopus vs. A Single Scallop Shell (1 of 3)<strong>Coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)</strong>


Feb 2: Another coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)

Scallop Shell Testing (1 of 3)Coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)

Scallop Shell Testing (2 of 3)Coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)

Scallop Shell Testing (3 of 3)Coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) Date taken: December 22, 2016 at 6:16pm Dive site: Aeprang 1. Lembeh Strait, Indonesia


Feb 3: Well... I was on a bit of a coconut octopus craze (Amphioctopus marginatus)

The Curly Coconut OctopusThe Curly Coconut OctopusCoconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)


Feb 4: OK, well, at least I'm consistent! Yes, another coconut octopus craze (Amphioctopus marginatus)

Coconut Octopus and Unworthy Scallop Shells (1 of 4)Coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)

Coconut Octopus and Unworthy Scallop Shells (2 of 4)Coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)

Coconut Octopus and Unworthy Scallop Shells (3 of 4)Coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)

Coconut Octopus and Unworthy Scallop Shells (4 of 4)Coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)


Feb 5: OK, well, I couldn't end my coconut octopus craze without showing one in a coconut (Amphioctopus marginatus). And, this one is with her brood of eggs too.

Dedicated MommaCoconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)


Feb 6: Broadclub cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus)

Sparkly Broadclub Cuttlefish - Eye See You!Broadclub cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus)


Feb 7: Bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana)

Beautiful Bigfin Reef SquidBigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) Date taken:September 3, 2014 at 6:48pm Dive site: Cheeky Beach (one of our FAVORITE dive sites in the WORLD!!), Buton Area (SE Sulewesi), Indonesia


Feb 8: Berry's bobtail squid (Euprymna berryi)

Blue Berry's Bobtail SquidBerry's bobtail squid (Euprymna berryi)


Feb 9: Blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata)

Blue Rings in FlightBlue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata)


Feb 10: This was one of my favorite days... I was able to find a video of the first time I fell in love with a cephalopod; specifically, a Hawaiian day octopus. In this case, this video is from just after I received my Advanced Open Water certification. I was in Kona, Hawaii. 

Hawaiian Day OctopusDive site: Turtle pinnacle Kona, Hawaii


Feb 11: a still of a Hawaiian day octopus (Octopus cyanea)

Paul's PresentHawaiian Day Octopus (Octopus cyanea)


Feb 12: Caribbean reef octopus (Octopus briareus)

Caribbean Reef Octopus in Flight (1 of 3)Caribbean reef octopus (Octopus briareus) Date taken: May 25, 2010 at 8:46pm Dive site: Lea Leas Lookout (Bloody Bay Wall) on Little Cayman, Cayman Islands

Caribbean Reef Octopus in Flight (2 of 3)Caribbean reef octopus (Octopus briareus) Date taken: May 25, 2010 at 8:46pm Dive site: Lea Leas Lookout (Bloody Bay Wall) on Little Cayman, Cayman Islands


Feb 13: Broadclub cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus)

Coral CuttleBroadclub cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus) Date taken: January 14, 2012 at 8:31am Dive site: Bird Wall, Waigeo Island, N. Raja Ampat, Indonesia


Feb 14: Dwarf cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis)

A Tiny CuttleDwarf cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis) Date taken: January 14, 2012 at 8:33am Dive site: Bird Wall, Waigeo Island, N. Raja Ampat, Indonesia


Feb 15: Blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata)   [NOTE: I skipped Feb 15 and "made-up" this day on Mar 1]

Blue-ringed ChillBlue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata) Date taken: September 15, 2015 at 3:28pm Dive site: Punta in Dauin, Negros Oriental, Philippines while diving with the Atlantis Resort


Feb 16: Mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus)

Magical Mimic Octopus - Arms Wide OpenMimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus)

Magical Mimic Octopus - I'm not an octopus!Mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus)

Magical Mimic Octopus - Back to the BurrowMimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus)


Feb 17: Wunderpus (Wunderpus photogenicus)

Wonderful WunderpusWunderpus (Wunderpus photogenicus)


Feb 18: Algae octopus (Abdopus aculeatus)

Algae OctopusAlgae octopus (Abdopus aculeatus)


Feb 19: Pfeffer's Flamboyant cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi)

Dazzling Flamboyant CuttlefishPfeffer's flamboyant cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi)


Feb 21: Mototi octopus (Amphioctopus siamensis)

Hard-coral Cover Close-UpMototi octopus (Amphioctopus siamensis)


Feb 22: Broadclub cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus)


The Colorful Life of a Broadclub Cuttlefish (1 of 3)Broadclub cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus)

The Colorful Life of a Broadclub Cuttlefish (2 of 3)Broadclub cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus)

The Colorful Life of a Broadclub Cuttlefish (3 of 3)Broadclub cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus)


Feb 23: Broadclub cuttlefish couple (Sepia latimanus)

Cuttlefish CoupleBroadclub cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus) Date taken: January 20, 2012 at 7:43am Dive site: Magic Mountain, South Raja Ampat, Indonesia


Feb 24: Dwarf cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis)

Dwarf cuttlefishDwarf cuttlefish (Sepia bandensis) Date taken: January 21, 2012 at 8:23am Dive site: Algae Patch 2, Batanta Island, N. Raja Ampat, Indonesia


Feb 25: Starry night octopus (Callistoctopus luteus)

Starry Night OctopusStarry night octopus (Callistoctopus luteus) Date taken: January 18, 2016 at 7:18pm Dive site: Our favorite in Lembeh - Jahir 1, Lembeh Strait, Indonesia

Starry Night OctopusStarry night octopus (Callistoctopus luteus) Date taken: January 18, 2016 at 7:18pm Dive site: Our favorite in Lembeh - Jahir 1, Lembeh Strait, Indonesia

Starry Night OctopusStarry night octopus (Callistoctopus luteus) Date taken: January 18, 2016 at 7:18pm Dive site: Our favorite in Lembeh - Jahir 1, Lembeh Strait, Indonesia

Starry Night OctopusStarry night octopus (Callistoctopus luteus) Date taken: January 18, 2016 at 7:18pm Dive site: Our favorite in Lembeh - Jahir 1, Lembeh Strait, Indonesia


Feb 26: Longarm octopus (Octopus defilippi)

Lanky Longarm after Earthquake (1 of 2)Longarm octopus (Octopus defilippi) Date taken: December 14, 2006 at 3:58pm Dive site: Black Magic, Sangeang Island, Flores Region, Indonesia


Feb 27: Bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana)

The Most Uncommon Bigfin Reef SquidBigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) Date taken: August 8, 2013 at 9:06pm Dive site: Garden Eel Cove, Kona, Hawaii

The Most Uncommon Bigfin Reef Squid Bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) Date taken: August 8, 2013 at 9:09pm Dive site: Garden Eel Cove, Kona, Hawaii


Feb 28: ME! OK, I had to have a bit more fun at the end of the month... so, I posted this image. 

This is a drawing done by the creative and clever Jonathan Crow 
* Website: 
* Twitter: 
* Instagram: 
Background: In October 2016, I learned about a wildly wierd and wonderful series of paintings - each displaying a US Vice President with an octopus on their head. Obviously, I had to learn more. Well, there was a Kickstarter for a book and I just had to support it. Jonathan certainly explains it better but it resulted in Veeptopus! And, it boils down to "Odd Art for Odd People" and well... I couldn't resist.
I backed his Kickstarter campaign to receive a book and at the level I chose, I also was to receive my own painting... of you guessed it ME WITH AN OCTOPUS ON MY HEAD. Seriously, there was no way I could resist that. And, this is the absolutely fantastic result.
This makes me sooooo happy!

And that's a WRAP for February...

Or, so you thought... you might have noticed that I missed Feb 20?! So, I decided I needed another make-up day. I thought I'd add a few details behind the photos that inspired the artwork that Chris Thompson has done on my lower right leg (this is always the one I enter the water with; this is my way of having some extra good cephalopod juju ;-)...



Finally, I created a little video based on the votes on instagram (as of March 3). Check it out:


Thanks so much for checking out these images! You can also find me on facebook | twitter | instagram and I hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks for reading,


(Blue Water Images) Cephalopod Cuttlefish Octopus Squid Sun, 05 Mar 2017 16:13:00 GMT
Goals, Learning, Identification, and Sharing Information - Oh my!

One of my goals in 2017 is learning! In my diving world what that translates into is that I hope to learn a lot more about: the critters I photograph; the environment in which they live; our impact on the oceans; and what we can do to help. I've always been interested in the critters but now I want to dive deeper, learn their specific species name, read interesting facts / information about them, and finally log the observation so that others can get insight as well. I've been struggling with where / how to do this.

Fish Surveys and REEF.Org

I love the idea of REEF surveys but that's not really the right fit for me as I often prefer to photograph inverts over fish and my general goal is spending more time with fewer specific critters rather than trying to get an overall survey of the health of a reef (in terms of biological diversity and abundance). Having said that, if you're interested in helping out with reef surveys, you should definitely check out REEF.Org and their Volunteer Fish Survey Project. I've got a friend that's amazing at it. She's in the Golden Hamlet Club and she's also the number one surveyor in Indo Pac and South Pac; she's an absolutely ferocious data-collector in action. It's truly cool to see but there's a reason we call her "no spine, no time" Janet as she's always interested in the fish! Personally, I'm kind of more into the inverts (nudibranchs and cephalopods being pretty high in my list). To be honest, once I see an octopus... well, I can spend the entire dive watching it, if it will let me! So... I'm not sure I'd be any good with fish surveys! I'm so glad people like Janet are into it. As a result, it's really cool to see such fantastic data out there. Explore their data here

Sea Slug Forum

Somehow I stumbled on this fantastic reference from the Australian Museum (link for SeaSlugForum) when I was trying to identify a nudibranch. There was a lot of activity on the Sea Slug Forum from 1998 until June 2010 when they were unable to continue funding the site. But, I still find some of the posts very helpful and I'm happy that they've kept the information online and available. Unfortunately, it doesn't accept new messages/posts so there's no way to log sightings or to post messages or to get help with an ID. But, it's still a good reference!

WoRMS: World Register of Marine Species

I've ended up on this site only a few times (WoRMS); it's been invaluable at helping me diver deeper on some very obscure stuff but it's been most useful when I already know what I'm looking for (see, sometimes this is the hardest part - finding someone who actually know what something is... I've got a story about this BTW, I'll get to that in one of my next posts! ;-) ). So, if you know the species in which you want more information, definitely check this out - you might be able to find some very cool references. 


I'll always hit the wikipedia page for a critter. I'm constantly impressed at the wealth of information that's there. It's entirely community driven so if you can donate a small amount to them, that's awesome. But, this should always be a stop on your quest for information. And, if you have the time and/or want to become a contributor - that's really cool too. I'm thinking about doing that!

Just googling / bing'ing it

And, of course, I always try to see what else might be out there. I'll enter a critter name plus a country (or a regional area for diving [or a specific dive site]) and then I'll walk through a few links and see what they have to offer. It's really fun to see other shots, other blogs, and learn more about the diving in various places around the world! In fact, I'm sometimes shocked at how much might exist for a dive site or dive location; there's truly a wealth of information out there!

And, I like to observe critters above water too. So, what can I do?! Where could I log all of this?! Well... I recently stumbled on The barrier to add observations is low (ANYONE can add an observation as long as you adhere to a few rules) and there are already millions (4M+) of observations online. To document an observation, what they prefer (for research / scientific purposes) are photos of the critter for ID with specific location details (GPS when possible), etc. Hey, I can do that!! Check it out, I'd love to know what you think!


There are a few other FANTASTIC references too, but I'll save those for another post. I'd love to get more insight into what you do and how you ID critters? (Or, if?)

My current plan - as I go through and post photos - will be to also log critters on (I might even go back and update some of my prior posts). So, you might start seeing an observation ID on my posts to Facebook!


Where do YOU go for marine critter IDs and/or information? 

Do you have a marine critter-related goal for 2017?

Thanks for reading; thanks for commenting! I'm especially interested in YOUR research/references/links!

(Blue Water Images) CritterID Goals Tips iNaturalist Tue, 17 Jan 2017 05:37:00 GMT
Fun with Photos One of the many things that we did in 2016 was complete a remodel of our master bedroom as well as a refresh of our common areas. We had some walls painted, painted some of the trim, re-carpeted (oh my was that a HUGE difference), and then spruced up some areas around the house with artwork. One of our favorite things to do is brighten a room with wild colors and/or amazing critters. For creating large prints, it helps that I shoot RAW images of a very high quality; later I process them for printing and submit high quality jpgs for professional printing. For framing, I generally choose simple mats and then room-tailored frames. Here are a few of my favorite images brightening our walls and giving us a daily reminder of our beautiful world and its amazing critters!

In the living room, we have two 16x20 images each printed as Kodak "Metallic" prints with Lustre coating; these are NOT metal prints (I have a couple of those too) but instead these are paper prints with an incredible depth and shine to the pictures themselves. These are the living room images (to the left and right of the TV, respectively):

What do you want?Clownfish in anemone; Apo Island, Philippines

Home Sweet HomeClownfish in anemone; Balicasaq Island (Bohol), Philippines

Both images are mated with a simple white mat (double-mat with a small inner border) and then framed with a cherry frame. We have cherry in the kitchen and living room and originally picked this frame because of how well it matched the first shot we framed for the remodel:

Fly ByGreen sea turtle; Palau, Micronesia

But then I was most clearly bitten by the bug of remodeling / refreshing as well as adding artwork to our space so that we could have a constant reminder of these wonderful critters. Framing our entrance to the master bedroom are these two prints:

Hanging OutImperial shrimp on sea cucumber; South Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Steller's Sea Eagles at Sunrise 01Steller's sea eagle; Rausu, Hokkaido, Japan

For these, we framed them in a dark frame to match our updated trim (which was painted in a dark espresso brown). The mat color / sizing is consistent with all 5 of these images; you don't have to be matchy/matchy but I think it's useful when images frame something like a TV or an entry door. 

While I can't say that every thing in the remodel went incredibly smoothly, I can say how much I love it now that everything's done. Remodeling often makes you feel quite uneasy during the process (people in the house, lots of noise, having to avoid parts of the house and/or even have to "move" out of an area for an extended period of time...) it's all quite unsettling.

But, it's all worth it in the end! And, the refresh (which was minor compared to the master remodel), made a HUGE impact. I find myself constantly gazing at the artwork we've placed around the house. It makes such a difference to our day to be able to stop and think about such beauty!

And, don't think I have only my photos fluttered about the house - we have some wonderful paintings (definitely not by me!) as well as other photography (Deron Verbeck's Manta/Akule Ball on the right) as well as an original drawing (humpback whale on the left) done by my friend and freediving instructor Shell Eisenberg. These two sit right by each other in our master bathroom:

If you're ever in need of an update and you want to brighten your walls with some amazing critters, shoot me an email and I can help you come up with some ideas!

Thanks for reading,

UPDATE: Last night as we were watching a movie, I realized that the photos look so much better when they're lit up. So, I thought I'd also add a couple more quick shots here. The metallic prints are almost electric-looking; they seem to glow with a small amount of light on them!

Home Sweet HomeClownfish in anemone; Balicasaq Island (Bohol), Philippines

What do you want?Clownfish in anemone; Apo Island, Philippines

(Blue Water Images) Framing Goals Remodeling Sun, 15 Jan 2017 17:43:00 GMT
Happy New Year 2017 Well... best laid plans. Last year I had hoped to blog more but life got in the way. Don't get me wrong, I did a lot of work. I did a lot of diving. I did a lot of travel. And, I wasted some time too. To be honest, writing has always been difficult for me so blogging is often at the bottom of my list of wants/To-Do. But, I'm going to work hard this year to change that. 

I'm not a new year's resolutions kind-of-person but I do hope to spend more time writing, posting images, updating this website, and learning more about this incredible world in which we live (especially the critters that fascinate me both above and below water). I'm also trying to learn Bahasa Indonesian... wish me luck with that one!

Also, if you're much more into instant gratification - check out me out on one of the following. I try to post photos / information more regularly:


So... not a long post - just a quick post to let you know there's more to come and that I wish you a wonderful, prosperous, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sampai jumpa lagi (see you soon),

(Blue Water Images) Goals Sat, 14 Jan 2017 21:49:33 GMT
2016 is off to a wonderful start as we return from diving in Indonesia Boy, am I behind!

2015 was an incredible year of ups and downs. I had back surgery in January and that started me off with a lot of down time and a lot of recovery time. I was able to get the first phase of the website set up but then I didn't get back to it much after that. I have tried to do a bit of the Blue Water Images Facebook page but even that’s been inconsistent. For 2016, I’m going to make a concerted effort to blog more often and post regular pictures on Facebook (and Twitter) – I hope you’ll like my FB page and join in on the discussions there!

As for my blog here, I'm going to start with a few "trip reports" as we're just on our way home from an absolutely incredible trip in Indonesia. I did 66 dives over 19 diving days with an average bottom time slightly over 70 minutes and a total of 4660 minutes underwater. That put me in the water for over 77.5 hours searching for critters! And critter searching we did. But, this is a quick report, more critter details in a future post(s).

The trip had two parts – part 1 was on land at the Lembeh Resort (diving with Critters@Lembeh) and was all about muck in the Lembeh Strait. As for the muck diving in Lembeh... WOW! I've posted a few pictures on the Blue Water Images Facebook page and for now, there's tons of info on the Lembeh Resort site. But, suffice it to say that we WILL be back (both for the diving AND the resort); it was absolutely incredibly fantastically wonderful! Check out the view from our room... stunning!

Part 2 was on our favorite liveaboard the Dewi Nusantara where we boarded in Sorong and headed to south Raja Ampat around Misool, then on to Kofiau and finally, Batanta on our way back to Sorong. If you're interested in seeing a bit more about the islands of Raja, check out the wikipedia page here. I tried to do a good job using my GPS when I took photos above water but I wasn't as consistent as I would have liked. But, here are a few places where we spent a bunch of time (the numbers represent how many photos I took there - again, above water). And, I didn't really take all that many above water shots so these numbers may seem very small but they still give you an idea of where we were wandering about:

Lightroom's GPS map from our South Raja trip

Above all, I want to give a HUGE thanks to our wonderful trip leaders for our Raja trip with Our Beloved Seas. It was our 3rd trip with the somewhat newly-formed partnership of Dr. Richard Smith and "cruise director" / divemaster-extraordinaire Wendy Brown and as ALWAYS, it did not disappoint. Richard will have a trip report posted on his site: and you can read the general trip details here. He also posted a couple of photos of our wacky group here. This photo was taken on our very last morning after we packed our bags and while we were waiting in the Sorong harbor in the heat with no diving to cool us down. And, it was HOT! A few of our group had already left but we still managed to wrangle folks up to the bow (in the direct / hot sun, no less) for one more shot:

So, that's it for now. We still have 4 flights to go... And, I have quite the backlog of trip reports so I’m going to work to get back to those, reliving our trips through photos and the blog posts.

Finally, thanks for your continued reading of my blog! I hope you're off to a good start for 2016!


(Blue Water Images) Indonesia Trip Report diving Tue, 02 Feb 2016 00:56:19 GMT
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1% of that sale goes to a global network of non-profit organizations
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With over $100 million given so far, 1% is a really big number!


Blue Water Images is proud to be a member of One Percent for the Planet. All purchases made through Blue Water Images contribute to our annual commitment of donating at least 1% of our GROSS to conservation, wildlife, and approved charities. For more information, check out

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(Blue Water Images) Environment Sat, 11 Apr 2015 23:31:46 GMT
Meatless Meals - Something to try! One of the things that I feel is critical to our planet's future is taking some of the strain off of it. There's no denying climate change. Whether or not you believe that humans are the cause of it is another debate. However, whatever your stance, you can't argue that reducing our demands on it cannot be a bad thing.

One of the ways that I think a lot of people can help tremendously is by reducing meat consumption. Even just a relatively minor reduction in consumption would have dramatic and positive effects - if everyone cut back just a bit (at least one day per week). There are many sites / articles / presentations that discuss the positive benefits of reducing our dependency on meat but these are some of my favorites:

And a small amount of searching will yield even more resources to help you better understand the effects of our diet on the planet. And, my additional hope is that if we can reduce our demand and consumption on animal products then we might be able to reduce the cruelty under which a lot of these products are produced. By reducing consumption, I believe we can bring back compassion and make both our planet and ourselves - healthier.

Having said that, this post is about a recipe that I use as a staple for so many things:

  • Add taco seasoning and make tacos with it
  • Add marinara sauce and use it on pasta
  • Add it to lasagna
  • Use it in wraps to make a sandwich
  • Use it in puff pastry and make fun sandwich snacks, appetizers, or breakfast buns  
  • Use it with pita bread and dips like hummus and/or baba ganoush
  • Really, anywhere you use a loose ground beef mixture - try this one!


The mixMeatless Meals Made EasyA wonderfully tasty base that you can refrigerate and use in all sorts of recipes over a couple of days.

Meatless Meal Base

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 regular onion, chopped
  • Vegan meat substitutesVegan meat substitutes One package of the Lightlife Gimme Lean Veggie Sausage (check the site for "where to buy" and then select this under Meatless Breakfast)
  • One package of Trader Joe's Beef-less Ground Beef (or, if you can't find Trader Joe's, any other meat-less ground beef substitute)
    • NOTE: I find mixing different types of meatless substitutes gives you a more interesting flavor. And, while the Lightlife sausage is labeled as breakfast sausage, I think it has a nice flavor - especially when combined with a ground beef substitute. 

  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • Salt, pepper, and additional seasonings to your preference
    • Sometimes I'll add mushrooms...
    • Sometimes I'll add sage / thyme / poultry seasoning...
    • Sometimes I'll add spicy red peppers


  1. On low to medium heat, combine olive oil and add the chopped regular onion
  2. Add the Lightlife sausage in chunks and then use a pan-safe spatula to break down the sausage into smaller chunks
  3. Add the beef-less ground beef
  4. Add your seasonings and continue mixing for about 5-10 minutes while the mixture browns
  5. Once it's almost ready, add the chopped green onion
  6. Taste, and consider adding additional seasoning...
  7. Remove the amount you're not using today and refrigerate
  8. Mix in anything else that you're planning to use for today's mixture

And, that's it - you have a great base for so many other meals. And, if your family is still trying to get used to the idea of eating less meat or meat-free substitutes then consider going the taco or marinara direction for the first meal or two.

As a Comfort Food

Here's the end result (and not-very-pretty-looking) puff pastry filled with the meat mixture. I filled the dough with a just-cooked hot mixture and what I learned is that it's very hard to form the shapes without them breaking and making a bit of a mess. Consider making these from the cold / refrigerated mixture instead:

Ugly, but VERY tasty!Ugly, but VERY tasty! I used two packages of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (Original) and each pastry is actually two pieces together. Play around with the shapes; it all tastes the same! And, while there's some debate about there being trace amounts of animal-derived ingredients in the Crescent Rolls it's very close to being vegan and definitely vegetarian. I prefer making vegan choices but I also want to have something easy to create on a "school night" and crescent rolls filled with this mixture and baked for 15 minutes is definitely super easy (and incredibly YUMMY). Just add ketchup and yum... a great snack, breakfast, dinner, etc... And, yes, it's not the most healthy snack ever (re: puff pastry) but this one is more to fill the comfort food gap; there are so many ways you can mix this meat mixture in a healthy way that this puff pastry option is just a once-in-a-while treat. And, you can add other things to the pastry like soy-based cheeses (for those of you going vegan) or rennet-free cheeses like Tillamook cheeses (if you're vegetarian but not vegan).

Really, a bit of prep on a Sunday to make a double batch and then you have Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday's meat-base for all sorts of very-different and delicious dishes. 


(Blue Water Images) Recipes Vegan Vegetarian Thu, 09 Apr 2015 05:44:36 GMT
Mentor, Friend, Inspiration – Jon Cornforth One of the things that I’m hoping to do with my new blog is help others to enjoy the beauty in nature that surrounds us. I’m going to write about the ways that I’ve been able to learn and the ways that other people inspire me both to enjoy what’s out there and to keep it that way (i.e. conservation).

My first post in my "Inspired By…" series is about Jon Cornforth (Cornforth Images). He's an amazing wildlife and nature photographer that I've had the pleasure of becoming friends with over the past 5 years. It all started when Paul and I were planning a family trip up to Alaska and I wanted to know a few things: where to go, what to shoot, and how to take better shots. I felt like I had a pretty good base and that I kind of knew my way around a camera (aperture, f-stops, etc.) but I really wanted to get to the next level…

How Did We Meet?

You may have guessed it. I searched the internet. I bounced around on different sites looking at photography expeditions and finally ended up at  I couldn't believe that he lived in Seattle (only 13 miles from where we live in Redmond). We started to go chat over email and ended up setting up some sessions where we'd met and just discuss gear, goals, and how I might get there. Then, Paul got interested (he couldn't resist geeky/technical discussions around gadgets and gear) and well, then he was hooked as well. But, he doesn't have the bug quite as badly as I do. He loves taking the images but the post-processing isn't his favorite. He will have a gallery up on BlueWaterImages at some point.

Gadget Geekiness

It was gadget geekiness love from the first meeting. What packs were best for carrying gear (Paul and I both have this one - Jon's favorite). What items are a must-have for shooting landscapes (fixed primes / tripods). What lenses are best for shooting wildlife (it really depends on what you're shooting so this one is more difficult). And wow, then I felt like I knew nothing again. And, an even bigger wow, what an investment it can be. But, what I have learned is that quality items will last you longer but you really have to be ready to commit. One tip though is that you can always rent and for a few trips I've found this to be fantastic. I've rented from LensRentals for trips to Haines as well as Svalbard and I've found it’s a great way to get the latest gear for items that I’m just not going to use all that often (like 400mm and 500mm telephoto lenses that are 10K+ to purchase).

My Favorite Tips From Jon

Only shoot RAW: This is so important. I’m so frustrated now when I go back and find an image I like only to find that I have nothing but a JPEG version of it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to make a ton of modifications to an image but a RAW image has so much more flexibility in lights / darks / shadows / color; it really allows you to bring out the best in your image. I won’t ever shoot JPEGs again – not if I want to do anything with the images.

Only shoot in manual mode: OK, sometimes aperture priority or shutter priority is acceptable but it's only when you shoot everything fully manually that you can setup for exactly the shot that you want. This takes time to get used to and it still frustrates me in some situations but it's what I use when targeting a high-quality shot.

Positioning: Be aware of more than just the subject; the background can make or break an image. Consider opening all the way up (a very low aperture) so that you can completely blur the background and then position yourself so that the subject is better isolated from the background.

Why Jon Inspires Me?

Jon has the utmost integrity in his images. A great image for Jon is created "in the field." He uses neutral density filters to help bring down the highlights in the sky while still allowing the proper exposure for the landscape. He doesn't believe in crops for more than leveling or just a few percent if there’s something along an edge that you don’t want. But, an image where you have to crop it down 75% from the original just isn't ever going to be a great image. It won’t print well and it wasn't really what you shot. He'd rather reposition, get a different lens, or just not shoot something if he can't get the highest of quality. OK, I’m not as hard-core here as I've cropped some images and just left it with "this can’t be printed really large" but, I certainly aspire to "get the shot" right in the field / camera. And, I agree that things like graduated neutral density filters are a great investment. 

Above all, he doesn't make significant modifications to his images. We were on a trip together where another photographer decided to replace the nictitating membrane in an eagle's eye with the eye from another shot. We agreed that that's no longer "an image," that’s a composite. And, if you’re going to tell people that – then, that's fine. But, don't claim that you got an amazing shot when you had to pull from multiple shots to do it and then use Photoshop to bring it all together. 

[Please don’t misunderstand here – there are some wonderful composites that have been created in Photoshop and they are ART. They can be breathtaking and that's fine. But, what bothers me is when viewers are led to believe that the photographer actually captured that image and not created it in Photoshop. There's no problem learning PS and becoming fluent in it (I wish I were). But, IMO, that's not the way to becoming a better photographer. Taking a better image in the first place is what a great photographer does (or, at least tries to do). It's not easy; and truly spectacular images are rarely captured solely by just pressing a button.]

Finally, don't get me wrong – everyone does some post-processing. And, if you're shooting RAW, you really need to do a bit of tweaking. And, Jon does use Photoshop. But, all of Jon's truly amazing images aren't composites created in Photoshop nor do they get a tremendous amount of tweaking. And, one of the things I also love is that in each of his posts on facebook (Cornforth Images on facebook), he states the camera / lens used and the tools he used for processing to create the final image. 

Where Have We Been together?

Haines, Alaska – November 2010

This was our first trip. Paul and I flew to Alaska, took the ferry three hours north to Haines and then proceeded to spend numerous days freezing our butts off (OK, that was mostly me – I’m a total WIMP in the cold; I think I wore 7+ layers). This was a fantastic learning experience for me. Each day, we went out just as the light was starting to come out and we stayed out until the light faded. We spent the evenings going over images. We micro-adjusted cameras. We had a few beers. I got some of the best images I’ve ever taken on this trip and certainly the best up to that point. I was hooked!

Haines, AlaskaMy favorite image from our trip to Haines, Alaska


Hokkaido and Nagano, Japan – February 2013

This trip wasn't directly organized by Jon but was one he was co-guiding with another pro photographer. We were able to see some amazing sights on this one but the wildlife wasn't quite full-on wild (mostly we visited known / popular [i.e. sometimes VERY crowded] viewing locations and places where animals were regularly fed). So, it wasn't Jon’s typical trip but it was still really interesting and we're glad we went (and, we met some AWESOME folks on this trip; people that we still talk to and plan other adventures with). And, it was still a photography-focused trip where we got to discuss what makes an image better than others and where we got to work on taking better images. On this trip, my favorite place to shoot was actually in Rausu where we headed out into the pack ice to watch Steller’s sea eagles grab fish from the local boats that fed them almost daily in the winter.

Steller's sea eagles at sunriseMy favorite image from our trip to Hokkaido, Japan


Juneau, Alaska – August 2014

For me, this was the ultimate trip. Jon had told me about bubble-net feeding years before and I was itching to go see it. I am still absolutely in LOVE with Jon’s image of bubble-net feeding taken at sunset (here). It was this image, and learning about the cooperative feeding technique that humpbacks perform, that completely hooked me; I had to see this. I had to experience it. And, sure enough – I got to do so on this trip. But, Paul didn't join us. He was not interested in spending nine days on a relatively small boat in possibly rough waters. And, yes, there were a couple of days that were miserable but that's why it was a nine day trip; Jon knew that the weather can be absolute crap and that having a few extra days is critical to give us the best opportunities for getting a few good images. For me, nine days cruising the inside passage with Jon and a few other photographers was amazing (note: I'm also leaving out that there were a couple of really rude photographers in the bunch that almost spoiled it for the rest of us… but, that's also something that can happen. Not everyone's going to love everyone, all the time).

Humpback whales bubble-net feedingHumpback Whales Breach and Bow 01Humpback whales bubble-net feeding - Chatham Strait / Inside Passage outside of Juneau, Alaska

Even better than unicorns and rainbows is a humpback with a rainbow. And, here we were placed perfectly by our guide to line up the whale and the rainbow. I still think people are going to think this is "shopped" (meaning Photoshop) but it's not. To prove it, I've uploaded the entire sequence (which I enjoy looking at - almost "in motion" if you click through them with a bit of speed). It's a funny story actually but I'll let Jon tell it. He did an interview where he talked about "the shot that got away." Check out his interview "
SIC 17 - Flying High in Hawaii."

Only performed by a small number of humpbacks, bubble-net feeding is a true joy to observe. One whale calls to the others and choreographs the dance to herd herring into a tight ball by blowing bubbles around them (effectively creating a "net" around the herring). Other whales use their pectoral fins ("pec flappers") to further scare the herring into an even tighter ball. When they're ready, the humpbacks swim through the center of the ball, gorging themselves and filling their food pouches on the bait ball. They filter the fish through their baleen plates and then erupt through the surface with an incredible display of strength and beauty.

I traveled to Juneau as part of an expedition guided by wildlife photographer Jon Cornforth. As a small group, we spent 9 days on a 42-foot Nordic Tug cruising the Inside Passage to find groups of humpbacks performing this cooperative feeding technique. Jon's skills and knowledge of the area gave us superb viewing and opportunities to witness this truly amazing sight.

For more information: Alaska Whale Foundation, humpback whale, Cornforth Photography Tours
But, back to photography. What an amazing trip. Oh, and then there was the that breach and the rainbow – wow. Talk about amazing setup and positioning by Jon (another HUGE thank you to Jon for this). I still wish that Jon had gotten that shot, but it does make for a [kind of] funny story. I'll let Jon tell that story here and that’s certainly one of my favorite images from the trip.

Our next planned trip is to Svalbard, Norway in August 2016: I’m organizing the trip and Jon's our photo pro. Our good friend Morten (a guide who Paul and I met in the Russian Far East in 2010 and who we first visited Svalbard with in 2012) is our local wildlife expert and we've reserved the whole boat. This is going to be an EPIC trip. We have a male-share cabin available as well as one double. Shoot me an email if you're interested.

Bringing It All Together

What Jon's really taught me is that getting a phenomenal image takes work, sometimes a lot of work (and time, and patience, and sometimes money too [to get there, to stay there for a few days when you get messed up by weather]). And, it's super easy to get a lot of not-so-great images too. But, that's part of the fun and the journey. And, it's part of learning. I look forward to a lot more of it… with Jon and friends I've met along the way. 

I can't even begin to thank Jon for all of the discussions about settings, about composure, and just generally getting “the” shot. If you're ever interested in immersing yourself in all things related to photography – you most definitely should book a trip with Jon. 

For me, Lily Tomlin’s words resonate well: The road to success is always under construction. 

Thanks for helping me pave the way Jon!

(Blue Water Images) Inspired By... Jon Cornforth Tips Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:04:35 GMT
Crime Scene Beet Juice OK, so this one isn't a photo post but I have to eat, right? And, because I'm often asked for some of my juicing / vegetarian / vegan recipes I thought I'd post them here.

Beet JuiceCrime Scene Beet JuiceMy favorite red!


Crime Scene Beet Juice (4 servings)

  • 3 [small] orange beets (keep the greens) 
  • 3 [medium] red beets 
  • 5 blood oranges
  • 5 [medium] apples
  • Beet greens from the orange beets


  1. Wash apples and vegetables thoroughly.
  2. Peel oranges (personally, I usually remove some of the seeds)
  3. Optionally, if you like your juice very "earthly" then don't peel the beets. I like my juice a bit less earthy so I peel them. And, because of this, I usually use gloves while I prep / juice the beets.
  4. Cut to size for your juicer
  5. Juice

I call it crime scene beet juice because the red beets are horribly messy and my kitchen ends up looking like a crime scene!

Scene of the Crime

But, the taste is worth it. 


(Blue Water Images) Juicing Recipes Vegan Vegetarian Fri, 27 Mar 2015 20:33:55 GMT
Hello World!  

Hello World ToastHello World ToastGreat image from Windell Oskay. Creative Commons License. Check out his Flikr stream here.


This is just a quick post to let you know that I'm here and I'm working to put more and more photos, stories, and adventures online. There's still so much to do - captions, links, references, and a lot more photographs. Not only do I want to describe some of my favorite places, animals, and adventures but I want to give you the information / links / locations that you will need to reproduce them. If you want to know where a specific photo was taken - be sure to check the photo captions (click on the photo within the gallery and then scroll down to see the description).

If you still can't find the information - just post a comment on my blog here, use my contact page, or contact me through facebook or twitter. Unless I'm offline on another adventure, I'll get back to you shortly.

Welcome to Blue Water Images!

(Blue Water Images) Thu, 26 Mar 2015 07:24:31 GMT