Thursday, June 12, 2008
Acclaimed Photographer to Make Special Dive at Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Wayne Martin Belger will capture life under the sea with an underwater pinhole camera
Scripps Institution of Oceanography / University of California, San DiegoThe 70,000-gallon kelp forest habitat at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, will become the setting for a wet 'n' wild photo shoot when acclaimed photographer Wayne Martin Belger takes the plunge to capture life under the sea with an underwater pinhole camera.
On July 12 & 13, Belger will dive inside the kelp tank to photograph the ocean world as part of his forthcoming book Deep Worlds, a collection of his images demonstrating the artistry of North American aquariums. The images taken inside Birch Aquarium's kelp forest habitat and Belger's pinhole camera also will be on display at Device Gallery in La Jolla from July 19 - Sept. 2.
Belger built the first underwater pinhole camera in 2003.
Belger's dives, which take place at noon on both days, are open to the public and included with aquarium admission. He will wear a special communications mask inside the tank that allows him to field questions from the audience. He will be available for media interviews following the dive.
Pinhole cameras, which were invented in the 1850s, have no lens. They consist of a lightproof box, a 4- by 5-inch piece of film and an extremely small hole, typically the size of a pin. Light enters through the hole, forming an image on the film. Because of the pinhole's size, there is infinite depth of field, making faraway objects appear as sharp as those captured from any distance. Pinhole photographs generally have a soft focus with darker areas at the edges - a style difficult to emulate with modern cameras.
Belger built his own underwater version of the camera in 2003. Named Yemaya after the Afro-Cuban goddess of the ocean, the camera is made from aluminum, brass, titanium and other materials. A quarter-inch acrylic pane covers the pinhole to block out water.
Belger diving with his underwater pinhole camera at Monterey Bay Aquarium in 2006. Image Courtesy of Wayne Martin Belger.
About Wayne Martin Belger
Belger is a Tucson-based artist who designs, fabricates and specializes in pinhole cameras. He is recognized for the unusual organic materials he uses to construct the devices, including human skulls, bones, organs and blood. His work has been featured in nearly two-dozen galleries on the West Coast. More information can be found on his Web site, www.boyofblue.com.
About Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Birch Aquarium at Scripps is the public exploration center for the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the aquarium features more than 60 habitats of fish and invertebrates from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters of Mexico and the Caribbean. An interactive museum showcases research discoveries by Scripps scientists on climate, Earth and ocean science. The aquarium's 70,000-gallon kelp forest tank represents local marine life off the coast of La Jolla and features three species of sharks, moray eels, barracuda, giant sea bass and other animals.
One of Belger's photographs from his 2006 dive at Monterey Bay Aquarium.
High-resolution photos are available.
Media who wish to attend either of Belger's dives should contact:
Scripps Communications Specialist
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Visit Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Location: 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, Calif.
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
$11 Adult, 18+
$9 Senior, 60+
$7.50 Youth, 3-17
Free Children, 2 and under
Free Scripps Oceanographic Society Members
Directions: From Interstate 5, exit at La Jolla Village Drive.
West one mile. Left on Expedition Way.
Parking: Birch Aquarium offers three-hour courtesy parking.
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Note to broadcast and cable producers: University of California, San Diego provides an on-campus satellite uplink facility for live or pre-recorded television interviews. Please phone or e-mail the media contact listed above to arrange an interview.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, at University of California, San Diego, is one of the oldest, largest and most important centers for global science research and education in the world. The National Research Council has ranked Scripps first in faculty quality among oceanography programs nationwide Now in its second century of discovery, the scientific scope of the institution has grown to include biological, physical, chemical, geological, geophysical and atmospheric studies of the earth as a system. Hundreds of research programs covering a wide range of scientific areas are under way today in 65 countries. The institution has a staff of about 1,300, and annual expenditures of approximately $155 million from federal, state and private sources. Scripps operates one of the largest U.S. academic fleets with four oceanographic research ships and one research platform for worldwide exploration.
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