The New England Ocean Odyssey Photo Contest is Back for the Summer!

The New England Ocean Odyssey photo contest is back! The new contest will run from July 29 through Labor Day (September 7, 2015), exclusively on Instagram, using the hashtag #SeeMySeaStory. Photo contest winner

New Englanders experience the ocean in a multitude of ways. This summer’s contest encourages anyone who has an ocean story to showcase it — whether under, on, or near the water!

Maybe you have a great photo of Acadia, Cape Cod, a fishing or sailing trip, or something else from New England’s long, winding shore? Share them with us! All you need to do to enter the contest is to post your photo on Instagram and include the hashtag. Two winners will be selected throughout the time period, and one after the contest closes.

Winners will receive a photo book from renowned National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry, and/or exclusive New England Ocean Odyssey “swag” — along with the opportunity to showcase your photo on the New England Ocean Odyssey website and social media.

Need inspiration? Check out prior winning images.

If selected, CLF will request the original image be emailed to a staff member, so we can feature a high quality version in our materials.

Questions? Contact Amanda Yanchury at ayanchury@clf.org or 617-350-0990. See official rules.

 

Dive in on Cashes Ledge 2.0

Our dive team is back! Over the next two weeks the team will return to the Gulf of Maine and Cashes Ledge to explore more of New England’s beautiful ocean and marine life!

This year from June 1 to June 14, onboard the R/V Tioga, the team will travel the 100 miles off the coast to Cashes Ledge, an underwater mountain range in the center of the Gulf of Maine that rises to within 40 feet of the surface. The steep slopes and ridges of Cashes Ledge create internal waves that mix nutrient- and oxygen-rich water. This mixing supports incredible productivity and biodiversity like no other place in the Gulf of Maine and gives rise to the deepest and largest cold water kelp forest along the Atlantic seaboard. The unique ecological conditions draw in a rich diversity of marine species ranging from bottom-dwelling sea stars, sea anemones, and purple sponges to fish like cod, wolfish, and bluefin tuna to endangered North Atlantic right whales and humpback whales.

Our dive last year captured breathtaking photographs and video of Cashes Ledge, the Isles of Shoals, and the inshore Gulf of Maine. This year, we will be able to go deeper than before – too far for the team to go themselves. Using an ROV, the team will explore down the flanks of the ledge all the way to the muddy basin below. Weather depending, we will also try to ascend the peak of Fippennies Ledge, just west of Cashes. Cashes Ledge harbors an assemblage of marine habitats and we want to see them all!

In addition to capturing stunning video and photo images of Cashes Ledge and other areas in the Gulf of Maine, including habitat and wildlife, the dive will serve to advance Dr. Jon Witman’s research on kelp, cod, and Cashes Ledge. Dr. Jon Witman is a marine ecologist who led the first ecological study of overfishing in the Gulf of Maine and has spent decades studying invertebrate and fish communities on Cashes Ledge and other marine habitats in the region.

Much like last year, this year’s exact dive locations will depend on a lot factors like weather and visibility. We are off to a rainy start, but those clouds should clear soon, and we hope to head out on the water. Stay tuned over the next two weeks for more updates, and be sure to follow New England Ocean Odyssey and Conservation Law Foundation on Facebook and Twitter so you can explore with us and help build awareness and support for New England’s ocean. We look forward to revealing more of the amazing wonders beneath New England’s waves!

Brian Skerry’s Photos from the Isles of Shoals – Part 2

Here’s another batch of Brian Skerry’s pictures from our recent dive expedition. Brian took these beautiful photographs while diving the Isles of Shoals, a group of nine small islands a few miles off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. Brian dived alongside Brown University professor Jon Witman, a marine ecologist who has been studying the communities of sea life at Isles of Shoals for decades. On these dives, Jon was particularly interested in studying the density of kelp blanketing the rocky seafloor—but as Brian’s photos show, there’s an incredible diversity of fish and invertebrates there, too.

The photo at the top of this post shows a pair of northern red anemones clinging to a rocky outcropping, highlighting the striking variability in color and pattern they can display.

 

Isle of Shoals, NH

This photo shows another type of anemone common in the Gulf of Maine—frilled anemones. These anemones favor areas with a strong current that carries a steady stream of food—copepods, amphipods, and larvae.

 

Isle of Shoals, NH

Sand dollars are familiar to most people as pale white circular shells, but live sand dollars are far more colorful. Along with urchins and sea stars, they’re a type of echinoderm—a name that means “spiny skin.”

 

Isle of Shoals, NH

This colorful sculpin is nestled among equally vibrant kelp and algae. Sculpin feature spines on their heads and notoriously voracious appetites for bait.

Meet Our Dive Team

 

With our dive team busy exploring Cashes Ledge and other sites in the Gulf of Maine, we thought we’d introduce you to our star-studded team of ocean adventurers!

 

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Brian Skerry is a renowned underwater photographer praised around the world for his aesthetic sense and evocative scenes. His images tell stories that not only celebrate the mystery and beauty of the sea, but also help bring attention to the threats that endanger our oceans and their inhabitants.

A contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine since 1998, Brian has covered a wide range of stories, from the harp seal’s struggle to survive in frozen waters to the alarming decrease in the world’s fisheries. His latest book, a 160-photo monograph entitled Ocean Soul, was published in 2011.

Skerry is also a passionate ocean advocate. After three decades of exploring the world’s oceans, the Massachusetts native has returned to the Gulf of Maine to document and protect its exceptional diversity of marine wildlife and habitat.

 

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Jon Witman is a professor of biology at Brown University. He has studied the ecology of subtidal marine communities for over 30 years, and has conducted research in six of the world’s seven oceans.

Jon led the first ecological study of overfishing in the Gulf of Maine. He has published numerous per-reviewed papers and book chapters on the invertebrate and fish communities that thrive on the rocky seafloor at Cashes Ledge, and he has also studied the internal waves that support primary productivity in the area. He is committed to protecting the ecological and scientific value of this unique marine habitat.

Jon will also be joined on the expedition by his Ph.D. student Robbie Lamb.

 

EvanKovacs

Evan Kovacs started his filming career in 2003 on the History Channel’s underwater adventure series Deep Sea Detectives.  He has also had an ongoing filming relationship with the Emmy award winning Lonewolf Documentary Group, and recently the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

With WHOI’s Advanced Imaging and Visualization Lab, Evan has filmed on the deep submersible ALVIN and the ROV Jason. Currently he is working with the lab to develop the next generation of 3D and 2D cameras and shooting techniques for topside and underwater imaging. Evan has been diving for over 18 years and has dived on shipwrecks, caves and reefs across the world.

 

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Luis Lamar is a scientific technician with WHOI’s Advanced Imaging and Visualization Lab. He has filmed and photographed marine life around the world, from New Zealand to Micronesia. Lu has assisted Brian Skerry on numerous dive expeditions and has captured video of the kelp forests on Cashes Ledge for Conservation Law Foundation.

 

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Ken Houtler is the captain of WHOI’s R/V Tioga, a research boat launched in 2004 and designed for day and overnight trips in coastal waters. Ken has led the vessel on countless research expeditions in New England waters, including trips to deploy and recover autonomous oceanographic instruments, to collect data on harmful algal blooms, and to tag endangered North Atlantic right whales.

 

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Liz Kintzing is the expedition’s dive captain. Liz supervises the academic diving program at the University of New Hampshire’s School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, and she also sits on the board of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences. She has been diving with Jon Witman on Cashes Ledge for over 20 years.

Dive In with Brian Skerry as He Prepares to Photograph Cashes Ledge

Over the past two years, National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry has taken us on an incredible tour of some of our region’s marine life—from blue sharks to red cod to North Atlantic right whales.

We now have some exciting news to share with you all—over the next two weeks, Brian Skerry will return to the Gulf of Maine and Cashes Ledge to photograph more of New England’s incredible marine life and habitat!

Brian has photographed marine life around the world—from China to Spain and everywhere in between—so we’re excited to have him return to his native New England waters (he’s originally from Uxbridge, MA). Brian has called New England Ocean Odyssey “an opportunity to bring my fellow New Englanders along with me and show them that our ocean is every bit as thrilling and surprising and beautiful as seemingly more exotic locales.”

From May 25 to June 6, Brian will dive from the R/V Tioga out of Portsmouth, NH. The ultimate goal: to return to Cashes Ledge, an ecological marvel 100 miles off the Maine coast. This underwater mountain range rises to within 40 feet of the surface. Being so close to the surface exposes this mountaintop to sunlight, and its steep topography creates internal waves that mix nutrient- and oxygen-rich water. This mixing supports incredible productivity, including the deepest and largest cold water kelp forest along the Atlantic seaboard. The diverse habitat of Cashes Ledge draws in an incredible array of marine wildlife—rare anemones and sponges, fish like cod, wolffish, and bluefin tuna, blue and porbeagle sharks, and endangered North Atlantic right whales and humpback whales.

The exact dive locations will depend on a lot of factors, like weather and visibility, but Brian and the team are hoping to visit sites from the inshore Isles of Shoals to more far-flung locations, including Cashes Ledge. Along the way, Brian will be joined by a team of ocean scientists, advocates, photographers, and videographers, including Dr. Jon Witman, a marine ecologist who led the first ecological study of overfishing in the Gulf of Maine and has spent decades studying invertebrate and fish communities on Cashes Ledge and other marine habitats in the region. We’ll be introducing more members of our dive team to you over the next two weeks.

Brian and the entire team are looking forward to exploring some of the incredible habitat the Gulf of Maine has to offer, from rocky shoals to anemone beds to lush kelp forests. Over the next two weeks, be sure to follow Conservation Law Foundation and New England Ocean Odyssey on Facebook and on Twitter at #CLFDive2014 as we share snapshots and updates from this one-of-a-kind expedition. With Brian as our guide, we look forward to revealing more of the amazing wonders beneath New England’s waves.

Announcing Our March Photo Contest Winner!

Congratulations to f1.8 Photography, our winning photographer for March’s contest! We love the icy shoreline and coastal vegetation featured in this photo, which was taken in Machias, Maine.

Do you have a great photo of New England’s oceans to share?  Enter our photo contest! Each month, Brian Skerry will lead our team of judges to select a winner, who will receive a copy of Brian’s book Ocean Soul.

Entering is easy! Explore New England’s oceans, take some photographs and then share them with our online community on Flickr™. All you need to do is add your photos to the New England Ocean Odyssey group and tag them “PhotoContestNEOO”. Find out more here.

Be sure to check our our New England Ocean Odyssey Facebook page where we’ll continue to post honorable mentions from the photo contest and other great ocean photography.

We look forward to seeing your photos!

Announcing Our February Photo Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Lee Palombo, our winning photographer for February’s contest! We love the vivid color and light of this New England sunset reflected on the water’s surface.

Do you have a great photo of New England’s oceans to share?  Enter our photo contest! Each month, Brian Skerry will lead our team of judges to select a winner, who will receive a copy of Brian’s book Ocean Soul.

Entering is easy! Explore New England’s oceans, take some photographs and then share them with our online community on Flickr™. All you need to do is add your photos to the New England Ocean Odyssey group and tag them “PhotoContestNEOO”. Find out more here.

Be sure to check our our New England Ocean Odyssey Facebook page where we’ll continue to post honorable mentions from the photo contest and other great ocean photography.

We look forward to seeing your photos!

Announcing Our January Photo Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Jay Arbelo, our winning photographer for January’s contest! Jay captured this stunning shot of a rocky, icy shoreline at Rye Beach in Rye, NH.

Do you have a great photo of New England’s oceans to share?  Enter our photo contest! Each month, Brian Skerry will lead our team of judges to select a winner, who will receive a copy of Brian’s book Ocean Soul.

Entering is easy! Explore New England’s oceans, take some photographs and then share them with our online community on Flickr™. All you need to do is add your photos to the New England Ocean Odyssey group and tag them “PhotoContestNEOO”. Find out more here.

Be sure to check our our New England Ocean Odyssey Facebook page where we’ll continue to post honorable mentions from the photo contest and other great ocean photography.

We look forward to seeing your photos!