“Deep Shale”, Monterey Bay, California February 17, 2007:
Often, when I show a picture to a non-diving friend, the first question they ask is “How deep were you when you took that?”. The implication, of course, being that the deeper the depth, the better the photograph must be. This, then, is the very best photograph on the site. This simnia, Delonovolva aequalis, lives on red gorgonians(Lophogorgia chilensis). If you’d like to see one in the Monterey area, you’ll have to make a relatively deep dive. This picture was taken 120ft. At this depth, the photographer’s senses were impaired the equivalent of two and a half glasses of scotch. Likely this photograph would not have been taken at all had not the boat’s anchor landed smack on top of this very gorgonian. To be sure, this squished the subject somewhat, but also reduced the photographer’s drunkard walk (or, swim) towards the dive’s turnaround point to a voyage of only inches. In truth, diving to this depth without the benefit of helium in one’s breathing gas isn’t very smart. I’m actually a little surprised I didn’t get distracted and start taking pictures of the leprechauns also commonly seen after about 100ft.