Thursday, December 27, 2007

Finally done ... the Christmas Blog

It took a lot of arm-twisting, bribes and cajoling but finally I finished our Christmas blog, which can be found here.

Oddly enough the younger kids were quite enthusiastic about the project, as soon as they had been bribed with enough rewards for sitting down in front of their computers and typing out something.

T and B came in last, pushing their submission deadlines. B wrote a beauty though - it's so rewarding for a parent to read good stuff that a child has to say.

It's amazing that we've got our Christmas letters on the site dating back from 1994. Reading through it all is getting to be an exercise in archeology!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dancing on Christmas Eve

Athena decided to dance all night long on Christmas Eve:

Monday, December 17, 2007

Child Labor

Here's our latest addition to the workforce ... Athena!

It's amazing that DOLE actually has pretty strict procedures on child labor. This permit is only good for two weeks and only for her Nivea "spokesbaby" appearance with T on GMA. That appearance was supposed to happen two weeks ago but the organizers forgot to get this permit.

Now that we have this, can we get celebrity manager Joji Dingcong to handle Athena too?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Size DOES Matter

I just saw the Palau pictures of CH on her Multiply blog and I suddenly feel inadequate.

Here are two pictures of the same Napoleon wrasse:

All the pictures on the left were taken by CH using a Canon 300D with a beautiful, domed u/w housing and two strobes.

The pictures on the right were taken using my little Sony.

Spot the changes eh? The amazing thing is that I actually felt good about my pictures when I first saw them. At least until I saw CH's output!

CH's blog address is and it is worth a visit to see all of her great photos.

Here's another example of what strobe lights do to improve color underwater:

This black manta was really amazing. He (or is it a she?) stayed with us for about 40 minutes, all the while doing loop-the-loop turns as he fed on plankton. I've got some pretty good videos of this feeding behavior on my YouTube site.

The black manta is also very identifiable because a piece of his left wing tip has been bitten off. Perhaps he was attacked by a shark when he was younger, as the crescent-shaped bite looks about the size of a shark's mouth. Luckily he survived to regale us with his u/w antics at German Channel.

I'll end the post with a couple more comparison shots. The first set are of grey reef sharks at Blue Corner.

Here we can see the greater color variation in the Canon, as the silhouettes of the sharks are more pronounced against the lighter surface. The Sony produced a more monochromatic image.

The last set are of the spinner dolphins that visited us twice. The first shot was taken by CH during the dolphins' sunset visit.

T took this second image, the shot of CH and her husband R with the dolphin - a perfectly timed shot! This one was taken during the dolphins' day visit though, which is why the sunset has disappeared.

My complete pictures, together with T's, can be found on my Kodak Gallery site.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Pilgrimage to Palau

Palau is first and foremost about sharks. Sharks in Blue Corner, sharks in Ulong Channel, sharks in Siaes Corner, sharks everywhere.

But this year, it was so much more.

This year, the mantas put on the show to end all shows:

(More manta videos are here and here. And here is a great shark video from Blue Corner.)

But the best part of Palau this year was just the people we were with - as usual, Tita Mary, but now also Tita Jojo Castro and her niece, Kimie, Rommel and Cris Hinlo, Gigi Santos, and Tessa and Annika. As usual, the crew of Capt. Ken was fantastic, Sixsei, Eddie, Richard and Chetra the chef.

In a day or so, I'll find the time to load up all the pictures to Kodak Gallery.

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