12th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
Second Place, Manipulated Images
By Daren Beaumont
About Daren Beaumont
looks poised to become the working man's Jacques Cousteau. Whether
he was spearing fish at his childhood island home near Papua
New Guinea or leading a diving class on the Great Barrier Reef,
Beaumont has always been an aficionado of all things under the
In August 2001, Beaumont enrolled in the Brooks Institute
of Photography in Santa Barbara. A veteran dive guide in his
native Australia, Beaumont joined other students in the school's
underwater photography program on dive boat trips along the Channel
Islands. While he has spotted formidable creatures such as the
Orca whale and the Great White Shark, Beaumont was equally enthralled
with kelp. Ten feet from the water's surface, he used his Nikon
N90 camera along with twin Nikon strobes - flashes on bendable
arms - to shoot the kelp.
"Most photos people see of kelp and their bulbs, the bulbs are quite yellow," stated
Beaumont, via e-mail from Australia where he was vacationing. "What I
did was to let more ambient light come through the green water to light the
rather than having my strobes at full power. This gave the yellow bulbs more
of a green tinge."
After processing his photos into slides and scanning them, he
noticed that the kelp somehow lost its vibrant hue. With Photo
Shop, Beaumont enhanced the
contrasts with five separate "masks" on certain leaves, bulbs and
The Palo Alto resident, who moved here last year, credits his wife for encouraging him to submit "Kelp Dreaming." Prior to this, Starbucks on University Avenue was the only place that displayed his art. Although "fine art underwater photographer" is not a common request in the classifieds, Beaumont manages to make his full-time passion a full-time job.
"I want people to see the art of the underwater realm for what it is and be amazed by it," Beaumont said.
-- Terry Tang