Caribbean Cruise, Thanksgiving 2009

Now that the new web sites are ready, I have finally been able to finish uploading the photos from our Caribbean Cruise last fall. Over Thanksgiving 2009 Nancy and I went with a bunch of folks on a Cruise on the Holland America Line’s MS Ryndam, on a western Caribbean cruise. Our cruise sailed from Tampa, Florida, and stopped at Key West, Belize, Guatemala, and Costa Maya in Mexico. Never having been to Key West before, I did the usual tourist stuff, visiting Hemingway’s House, Duval Square, and Mallory Pier before returning to the ship just in time for sailing. It was a spectacular sunset that night, with an orange and red sky reflecting off the sea as the sailboats and pleasure craft returned to port. In Guatemala (not known for its fabulous diving), Nancy and I joined the ship’s excursion to Quirigua Archaeological Park. Quirigua is the site of a large Mayan settlement, with some features still visible and preserved while others are still being excavated. Quirigua was a beautiful tropical garden, with vibrant greens contrasting with the dark shadows wherever there was shade. It was a perfect opportunity to try out some High Dynamic Range photography.

Predictably, I went diving in Belize and Costa Maya. Diving in Belize I was lucky enough to come across several things that are relatively unusual, and a couple of them made good pictures: an octopus out on the reef in broad daylight; a tiny neck crab, normally so clever at camouflage and hiding, that had completely goofed up and found himself out and exposed on a contrasting piece of coral just as we swam by; and the relatively unusual whitespotted toadfish, which is pretty ugly but also unique in that it has only really been cataloged in the waters around Belize (this according to the authority Paul Humann’s book “Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas“). At Costa Maya I was followed for a while by a 4- or 5-foot giant moray eel (which was a vibrant green in color). We figured the Green Giant was mainly curious about his own reflection in the lens of my camera. We also saw some lionfish in the shallows. Lionfish are new immigrants to the Caribbean; some say they are invaders and should be destroyed before they damage the Caribbean ecosystem, but I think they are still quite striking fish no matter where they’re found.

The galleries are finally up on There are shots from the cruise and a few we took while waiting for our flights in and around Tampa and nearby Tarpon Springs. Here’s the slideshow:

I’ve also added a special gallery to collect the High Dynamic Range (HDR) images, for anybody who’s particularly interested in that style. The expanded dynamic range of HDR can make for some truly striking contrasts and vibrant colors. (All the HDR images will also be found in the “normal” galleries, but I thought it might be useful to have a special place to go if those are the images you’re specifically seeking!)

Hope you enjoy! More coming soon!

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