Thanksgiving, Channel Islands National Park, CA

Thanksgiving, Channel Islands National Park, <span class="caps">CA</span>
My job - carving the turkeys.

Every couple of years we’re able to accept an invitation from our friends, Glen and Dana Fritzler, to spend Thanksgiving with them and friends.  Spending time with friends and family over the holidays is pretty normal, what’s not normal is spending four days hanging out on one of the Fritzler’s custom live-aboard boats around the Channel Islands National Park.

The morning we left Santa Barbara was calm. The ocean was glass. Perfect for photographing dolphin and whales. Sometimes things just work out. Several hundred common dolphin, many with babies, overtook us as we made our way towards the top end of Santa Cruz Island. I was shooting with my Nikon 14–24mm and 70–200mm lenses at ISO 400.  I found that DMI switch on my camera.  You know, the decisive moment indicator button, and just fired off a burst every time the light lit up. Thinking about the timing, the “when” of taking the photo; nothing’s random, think ahead.

Common dolphin in the Santa Barbara Channel

We ate turkey, actually two of them. Whole ones, that Dana cooked in a tiny oven. With dressing and all the fixings, she was amazing. And the kids did the dishes, and had fun. Everybody helps out on these trips.

My job — carving turkeys.

The Vision is another one of Glen Fritzler’s fleet of dive boats from Truth Aquatics. It was sunrise on our first morning and gulls were flying around hoping for some handouts. A Nikon SB800 zoomed to 50mm on manual full power lights up the gull,  f/4 at 1/250 sec at ISO 200 captures the sunrise.  Nikon D2x, 14–24mm lens.

Captain Glen Fritzler and the “Vision” at sunrise

Ralph Clevenger

Ralph Cle­venger grew up on the coast of North Africa and began div­ing in the waters of the Mediter­ranean Sea at the age of 7 with his father. He even­tu­ally went on to study zool­ogy at San Diego State Uni­ver­sity and worked as a diver/biologist for the Scripps Insti­tu­tion of Oceanog­ra­phy in La Jolla, Cal­i­for­nia before attend­ing Brooks Insti­tute of Pho­tog­ra­phy. He holds a BS degree in zool­ogy and a BA degree in pho­tog­ra­phy. Ralph is the author of Pho­tograph­ing Nature, pub­lished by New Riders.
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