Would You Join the Underwater Waltz of the Kelp Forests?

Underwater dance of giant California kelp illuminated by sunlight, highlighting the intricate ecosystem and serene beauty of the ocean's depth.

The Story Behind "Would You Like to Dance"

My name is Jamie, a nature and landscape photographer from Las Vegas, Nevada. I had always been fascinated by the mysteries of the ocean. Since it had always been my dream to be a photographer, more specifically an underwater photographer, capturing the beauty of the sea on camera was a perfect fit.

During the early years of my scuba diving life, I didn't have much in the way of expendable resources. So it took every penny I could to save up for my underwater camera and dive trips. I was patient and waited until I had enough for a trip. Sometimes I started saving a year or more in advance for a really big trip!

I loved the unknown of not knowing what you would see underwater. I never knew if I was going to get the shot or not. It was always a surprise. I'd begin my descent, taking in the sights around me. Schools of fish would dart by in a blur, their scales shimmering in the sunlight. Hearing the bubbles from my regulator was calming and meditative. I knew I was where I was supposed to be whenever I heard that noise! Seeing new sea creatures always kept me on my toes, and catching their image on camera to show non-divers was what excited me most.

On this particular day, I was diving with my soon-to-be husband and two of my closest friends. We boarded our dive boat out of Long Beach harbor and were looking forward to a great day of diving.

I was worried that my fiancé, the new diver that he was, would need "new diver" attention and that I wouldn't be able to take any photos on this trip. I needed to be a good dive buddy. But I get to the ocean so infrequently that I try to capitalize on every opportunity whenever I am there.

Luckily, the weather was great, and the water was calm, which made the dives easy. I was able to tend to my fiancé as a good dive buddy should always making sure he was nearby and safe. And I was also able to take what I call "drive-by photos". These are the photos taken when you're in a hurry and catch something good out of the corner of your eye and don't have the time to set up the shot properly.

The surge was strong during the day's second dive, and the kelp swayed back and forth beautifully. A single piece of kelp in the forest caught my attention. It was shorter than the rest. As the surge moved back and forth, one frond would circle around in front of the tall strand. It looked just like a dancer's third position of the arms.

I imagined the kelp and the ocean calling me in this pose, "Would You Like to Dance"? I then quickly positioned my underwater photo lights and snapped my drive-by photo! I only had a moment to check the back of my camera to ensure the lighting and focus was as I had hoped. We then began our ascent and the dive was over. It was these quick moments I yearned for and hoped I would be able to return to dance with the kelp again soon.

The final result was a fabulous addition to my kelp portfolio of underwater photographs. I was glad I could find a place with my old scuba life alongside my new one. And one of my friends who made this dive with us loved the memory so much that he even asked for a print!

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