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Lunar eclipse, Dec 20, 2010

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There will be a full lunar eclipse tonight — a rare occurrence on the winter solstice. I photographed the full lunar eclipse three years ago, which was an interesting photographic exercise because I didn’t have access to a proper tripod that night.


total lunar eclipse on august 28, 2007

I was planning on staying up to photograph tonight’s lunar event, but it appears that San Francisco has other plans for those of us who live here…

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 5 comments » | Dec 20, 2010 12:47:56

First episode of Whale Wars available for free on iTunes

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“Needle in a Haystack,” the first episode of season 1 of Whale Wars, is available as a free download on iTunes.

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Nov 13, 2008 17:13:29

Gatecon 2008, Vancouver, Stargate Convention

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In early December of 2007, Paul Brown of Legends Memorabilia invited me to be a guest at Gatecon 2008, a sci-fi convention for Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis fans.


Sea Shepherd with Richard Dean Anderson
Can you spot the poseur? Hint: it’s me.

I was introduced to Paul by Kim McCoy, International Executive Director of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Gatecon 2008 was to be very special this year because Richard Dean Anderson (RDA) would be in attendance for the first time in Stargate convention history. “Rick” (as he likes to be called) is on Sea Shepherd’s board of directors, and through RDA and Legends, Gatecon 2008 was set up as a benefit event for Sea Shepherd.

Stargate SG-1 is my father’s favorite show, and he has been talking about it for over a decade. But even though I had heard about the TV show for years, I had never actually seen an episode of SG-1 nor Atlantis prior to my involvement in Gatecon. In the last 8 months, I made it a mission to watch as many episodes as possible to prepare for Gatecon. I loaded up on DVDs before each trip abroad and spent evenings on boats winding down by watching an episode or two. I’m proud to say that I made it through 8.5 seasons of SG-1 (about 175 episodes) in 8 months! I’m now thoroughly invested in the characters, and am sure to finish up the 10 seasons of SG-1 before starting to make my way through Atlantis and the SG-1 movies. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 6 comments » | Aug 27, 2008 16:28:49

Petition to protect the Blue Heron bridge

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a red-lipped batfish at the blue heron bridge

Petition to protect the Blue Heron bridge [link] Diverse diving area in Riviera Beach, Florida, is threatened by collectors

The Blue Heron bridge is located on the eastern most section of the continental United States, where the warm water of the Gulf Stream current comes in closer than any other place on the east coast. This current brings in larval animals and juveniles of tropical marine species, depositing them directly under the Blue Heron bridge. These tropical species intermingle with the temperate species normally found in this area, creating one of the most diverse marine habitats anywhere in the United States. Some of the unusual species found at the bridge are seahorses, stargazers, flying gurnards, striated frogfish, searobins, Atlantic longarm (mimic) octopi, and much more.

If you want to help save the Blue Heron bridge from the irreparable damage caused by collectors, please sign our petition, which was created by a local attorney, Pura Vida Divers, and other members of the Palm Beach Diving Association. If you would rather sign the petition in person, it can be found at Pura Vida Divers, Narcosis Dive Charters, Jim Abernethy’s Scuba Adventures.

Palm Beach, FL | link | trackb | no comments » | Mar 13, 2008 19:30:31

Sea Shepherd campaign: Paul Watson shot in the chest

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It’s getting crazy down in Antarctica.

JAPANESE OPEN FIRE ON SEA SHEPHERD CREW: THREE INJURED Captain Paul Watson Shot in Chest; Cameraman and Crewmember Injured by Flash Grenades At 1545 hours (0445 GMT), a clash between the crew of the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin and the Japanese whaling ship Nisshin Maru turned violent when the Japanese Coast Guard began to throw flash grenades at the crew of the Steve Irwin. Captain Paul Watson was struck by a bullet in the chest. Fortunately, the bullet was stopped by his Kevlar vest. The bullet struck just above the heart and mangled Captain Watson’s anti-poaching badge, which was worn on his sweater underneath the Kevlar vest.

Articles are already out everywhere, but I’ve posted the full Sea Shepherd press release over at Wetpixel.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Mar 7, 2008 00:47:52

Bahamas shark bite update

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Taken from my article over at Wetpixel.com.

February 27, 2008 – MSNBC’s The Today Show and CNN feature Bahamas shark footage online and interview both Neal Watson and Rob Stewart. Other news articles are starting to be varied instead of all regurgitating the same content. (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Feb 27, 2008 11:51:25

Japanese whalers take custody of Sea Shepherd crew

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On January 15, the Australian Federal Court ruled that Japan is breaking the law by killing whales in the Australian whale sanctuary. Australian jurisdiction of those waters around Antarctica is not universally recognized, but the ruling seems like a good precedent.

Yesterday morning, I received an e-mail from a friend who is currently on the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin in Antarctica (satellite is cool):

… when the Yushin Maru did not respond to our radio contact about today’s Australian Federal Court decision banning whaling in these waters, we decided to send two of our crew members on board to deliver a letter to its captain. The letter stated that they intended no harm and were simply there as messengers. It requested that they be released to our ship upon delivery of the letter. Instead, three Japanese whalers attempted to throw Pottsy (Benjamin Potts, Australian citizen) overboard while travelling at approximately 17 knots, then finally settled on tying him to the ship. They did the same with Giles (Giles Lane, British citizen), but were more agressive with Giles and used a lot more rope. Still, it doesn’t seem as though they will be harmed.

Japan said that Potts and Lane were not tied up, but there are photos all over the internet showing that they were, indeed, tied to what looks like a pipe along the wall, and to some sort of tower.

There are lots of articles online about the stand-off: [BBC] [Reuters] [Google News (collection)]

And speaking of Sea Shepherd, 10% of the final sale price of my Canon 1D Mark II (on eBay) goes to them. I really like the way eBay’s allows auction sales to support non-profits.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 4 comments » | Jan 16, 2008 02:05:23

Eat seafood responsibly with fishphone.org

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My friends frequently call me up to ask me whether a particular fish species is ok to eat. If I’m near my computer, I usually go to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch site to look up the fish in question, but I’m often caught away from a computer.

Luckily, the Blue Ocean Institute has launched fishphone.org, a web site formatted for web-enabled mobile phones and PDAs. All you have to do before you order fish at a restaurant is hit the website on your mobile phone and choose a fish species in the drop-down menu. If you don’t have a web-enabled phone, you can SMS 30644 with the text, “FISH fishtype”. The SMS database isn’t as complete as is the website, but it’s a start. (thanks, Warren)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Nov 9, 2007 00:58:56

San Diego fire area expands to our house

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According to the map at SignOnSanDiego (they have swapped out the crappy one they had earlier for a Google map), the area of the fire has expanded to include the location of our house.


map of san diego fire area as of 4:10pm

Luckily, the burned structures list doesn’t include any houses near ours (yet). (read more »)

Stanford, CA | link | trackb | 8 comments » | Oct 23, 2007 21:07:58

Oh, Rancho Santa Fe

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Photo: JIM BAIRD / Union-Tribune

Ahhh, my home town. Why must you make it so easy to mock you, even during times of emergency?

Here’s the description from the source page (which has intermittently been down over the past day, presumably because everyone is going there for fire news):

Oct. 22, Rancho Santa Fe: Fire, along S6 between Lake Hodges and Del Mar (Villa de la Valle at the Del Mar end, Via Rancho Parkway nearer Hodges). These people did not want to be photographed; they were westbound at mile 6 of Via de la Valle, with a Jaguar leading a horse at slow walking speed, and behind them a horse trailer that was full.
Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Oct 23, 2007 12:08:19

San Diego fire update

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fire status as of 2:04am

The fire is pretty close to my parents’ house now. Since both of them are out of the country, there was no one to grab files, photo albums, and other valuables during evacuation. (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 5 comments » | Oct 23, 2007 09:41:27

San Diego fires dangerously close to home

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The fires that are burning out of control in Southern California are mere miles away from my parents’ home. Luckily, both of them are away in Taiwan at the moment and don’t have to deal with the mandatory evacuation orders. Still, it’s really scary.


pink shows estimated fire area

SignOnSanDiego has an a map of fire areas and road closures, but the website has been really slow today. There’s also a thumbnail of the map and links to breaking fire-related stories (some of which don’t actually go anywhere) on their home page.

LATimes has more useful articles linked from their local news site, including this one that talks about the 250,000-household evacuation in San Diego.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Oct 22, 2007 16:27:46

Katmai grizzly bear hunting video

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This is terrible. Bear naturalist and friend Brad Josephs sent out an emotional e-mail a couple of weeks ago detailing his experiences documenting bear hunting in the Katmai preserve in Alaska, which is adjacent to Mcneil River and Katmai National Park. We had all just been out there two months before, observing and photographing the same population of bears at close distances.

Below is a link to a video Brad has posted, which shows part of what he witnessed. There didn’t seem to be any “hunt” in what these guys were doing (as is obvious in the video). These grizzly bears have been habituated (in a peaceful way) to human spectators, and getting close to them is easy. Regardless of one’s stance on hunting, walking up to an animal and shooting it for sport is cowardly. (read more »)

Los Angeles, CA | link | trackb | 14 comments » | Oct 15, 2007 15:09:47

2007 total lunar eclipse from Oakland, California

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total lunar eclipse on august 28, 2007

Instead of going to sleep, I stayed up and photographed tonight’s total lunar eclipse (here’s a cool animation of the eclipse as seen from Earth). The photos above were taken from the 4th story rooftop of my building in downtown Oakland, California. The first frame was taken at around 02:30 PDT and the last frame at 03:30 PDT, just before the middle of the moon’s full coverage.

All photos were taken with a Canon 1Ds Mk II and Canon 600mm f4L IS lens (thanks, Al!). I experimented with using a 2x tele-converter as well, but the darkest point of the eclipse required more than 1 sec @ f8, ISO 1600 for a proper exposure. Without the converter, I was able to shoot at 1/2 sec @ f4. Because my good ball head is currently being fixed, I didn’t have a good way to secure the camera and lens combo, which together weigh around 15 lbs. I had to use a video head, which was a huge hassle. Oh well.

UPDATE: I made the three-moon image into a desktop background, which you can download here: [1440x900] [1024x768]

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 14 comments » | Aug 28, 2007 04:33:36

Live manta ray birth in captivity

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Tony Wu just posted a link to a video of a manta ray giving birth to a 1.8m baby in captivity at the Churaumi Aquarium in Okinawa, Japan. It’s like she produces a huge turd while swimming, except that the turd then wakes up and swims away.

UPDATEBaby manta died. :(

Bonaire | link | trackb | no comments » | Jun 17, 2007 13:06:53

Captive shark had ‘virgin birth’, BBC reports

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Female Sphyrna lewini
before immaculate conception

Female hammerhead sharks can reproduce without having sex, scientists confirm.

“The evidence comes from a shark at Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska which gave birth to a pup in 2001 despite having had no contact with a male.

“Genetic tests by a team from Belfast, Nebraska and Florida prove conclusively the young animal possessed no paternal DNA, Biology Letters journal reports.

“The type of reproduction exhibited had been seen before in bony fish but never in cartilaginous fish such as sharks.” [full article] via Giles

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | May 22, 2007 18:42:17

The Great Turtle Race

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My friend, Jason Bradley, wrote last week about his images from a recent trip to Playa Grande, Costa Rica, to document Leatherback turtle research. His images are being used in part for the Great Turtle Race, a unique conservation effort that tracks turtles as they leave their nesting areas and “race” toward feeding areas south of the Galapagos Islands.

If you haven’t seen the Great Turtle Race yet, you should definitely check it out! It’s both a fun and educational site. I’m voting for Stephen Colbert’s turtle:

Stanford, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Apr 22, 2007 13:40:45

Petition against the distribution of shark fins

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The practice of shark finning (where sharks have their fins cut off while still alive and are thrown back in the water to die) is brutal, wasteful, and often, illegal. A web search for shark finning will show you in mere minutes how terrible the practice is.

Please show your support for the world’s dwindling shark populations by signing this petition against Alibaba.com, one of largest online traders of shark fins. Signing the petition takes less than a minute and requires only your name, e-mail address, and geographic location. You can also protect your privacy by showing yourself as “anonymous,” if you wish.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 4 comments » | Mar 9, 2007 00:38:43

Amazon.com is selling shark fin soup

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It seems that Amazon.com is carrying shark fin soup and other products through three third-party vendors Roland, Pacific Rim Gourmet, and VitaminLife. With all the controversy surrounding shark fins and the horrible practices used to harvest fins, Amazon should be ashamed to be carrying shark fin soup and should rectify the problem immediately by pulling all shark fin products from their catalog.

What you can do:

  1. Leave feedback at Amazon’s product page for Roland Shark Fin Soup, Dragonfly Shark Fin Soup, and VitaminLife.
  2. Participate in the discussion over at Amazon about the product and why it’s bad for them to carry it
  3. Send e-mail to Roland Food at Phyllis.Goldberg@rolandfood.com, Pacific Rim Gourmet at customerservice@pacificrim-gourmet.com, VitaminLife at customerservice@vitaminlife.com, and write letters of protest to:

    Pacific Rim Gourmet
    75-5660 Kopiko Street, Suite C7-210
    Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

    VitaminLife
    15940 Redmond Way
    Redmond, WA 98052


  4. Write to Amazon.com at Advantage Customer Service (advantage@amazon.com) and Investor Relations (ir@amazon.com)
  5. Spread the word through your webpage, blog, etc. (code available here)
  6. Boycott Amazon.com until they comply
  7. Join the discussion in the Wetpixel forums

Alibaba is even worse, and is something that also needs to be tackled by the media. Sea Shepherd has called for a ban of Alibaba’s listings, as have some other organizations.

UPDATE Amazon pulled shark fin from their inventory!

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Jan 2, 2007 22:44:23

Shark fishing in Manta

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dead thresher sharks

Shark finning articles are becoming more mainstream. The NY Times has an article about shark fishing in Manta, Ecuador, a location I have been to and documented as well. It�s a well-written article, but I find it strange that it focuses on a place where the entire shark is actually used. In a large market area on the beach itself, virtually every piece of the sharks pulled up are sold to locals as inexpensive meat. Where are the mainstream articles that document shark-finning proper, where the live carcasses are discarded?

By the way, I think it’s funny that the article talked about Jackie Chan. While I was down there, a bunch of kids kept running up to me and chanting, “Jackie Chan! Jackie Chan!” I wanted to show them a bit of my own Jackie Chan, but their blood-smeared, knife-toting fathers were just around the corner.

New York, NY | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Jan 5, 2006 07:24:54
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