Ode to Ansel – Half Dome Highlights selected to be Exhibited in Athens, Greece

Originally posted on the Shots By Dubbs Blog on 12/09/2019

Shots By Dubbs Photography is please to share that our photo, “Yosemite No. 002 – Ode to Ansel – Half Dome Highlights” was selected to be exhibited at the Blank Wall Gallery in Athens, Greece February 28 through March 1, 2020.

I have been playing the game GuruShots for a few months now and have been hesitant to enter any of the exhibition contests. When playing the game each contest is run by someone who has achieved the rank of Guru in the game. The contest I entered was called, the beauty of the earth and ended on December 5, 2019. The way the game works the Guru gets to make a limited number of “Guru Picks” and those photos that get picked are automatically selected to be included in the upcoming exhibit. There were 33,760 photographers competing in this contest. That means that there were a little over 135k photos entered into the contest since each photographer was required to enter four images.

Quite unexpectedly, on Sunday, December 1st I received several exciting yesterday saying my photo “Half Dome Highlights” was selected as a Guru Pick and as such was automatically qualified to be exhibited in Athens, Greece. ✈️

I received another email informing me that as a result of having a photo selected as a “Guru’s Pick” I also advanced in the game from the Expert Level to the Champion level. I have two more levels to achieve before I too can be a Guru and start running my own contests in the game. The next level for me is “Master” and then “Guru” level photographer.

This #photography journey was especially encouraged by scores of friends and family and I must thank Wendy Cabil💚 and Lexi KP 💚 for being extra enthusiastic 🎉 in their support and Elias Benudiz for being a great patron 💪🏽 of our #fineartcollection! A special nod to Amber Porter Telfer for being the first person to ever to make a query about the availability of one of my images, “Simon Says” over a decade ago and planting a seed of possibility, (you never forget your first time. 🤗🤭)

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step👣, this year we took that first solid step on the photography path… Be encouraged, onward and upward with an attitude of #gratitude.


Technology Advances: A New Algorithm Called Sea-Thru Allows for Clear and Sharp Underwater Photography

Originally posted on Shots By Dubbs Blog 12/14/2019

I cannot tell you for certain where I first saw this video featuring the revolutionary new algorithm, called Sea-Thru, that removes the distortion caused by the way light travels through water. But what I can tell you is that when I saw the video I immediately thought of my Instagram friend and underwater dancer @underwaterlinnea and how it would dramatically impact the ability of her art’s beauty to be captured and shared with the world. Before I could get around to sharing this video with Linnea, (and probably because she is the Underwater Dance Queen), I scroll past a post of hers featuring this dope technology and it was exactly what I thought, absolutely stunning! Check it out:

@underwaterlinnea Dances elegantly in a photo by Armada Partners

See @underwaterlinnea’s Post on Instagram

The proof is in the picture and you can clearly see this technology will have far-reaching impacts in the world of underwater images.

The algorithm was developed by an oceanographer and engineer named is Derya Akkaynak who works at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (Florida Atlantic University).

In the video, Akkaynak explains, [u]nderwater images typically have an overwhelming color cast, green or blue, depending on where you took them.

Objects in far distances are occluded by a layer of what we call backscatter, but think of it as a layer of haze.

So, the further you are from the objects in the scene the more haze you get in the scene.

Because light as it travels through the water, gets absorbed and scattered, colors fade away. That’s where underwater images look so dull and distorted all the time.

See the full transcript

15810-picsay (1)1398988680495281433..jpg
© 2017 Don West, Jr. This non-Sea-Thru underwater shot was captured while snorkeling above the deep diver in the crystal clear waters off of Bora Bora in French Polynesian islands of the South Pacific Ocean.

I personally love to be near and shoot images of the water, any type of water, but because of the blurry and hazy effects in my attempts at underwater photography I have never been overly enthusiastic. Well, times have changed and I am dusting off the plans to learn to scuba dive and adding an underwater rig for my camera to my holiday wish list. Oh, and of course I am subscribing to the email list in order to be notified when this breakthrough tech becomes available to the marketplace.

I would love to hear your reactions and thoughts on this new underwater photography tech. Let me know what you think? Do you see uses for it in your work? Any creative ideas of how you would use it?


SBD – “Standing Watch”

Standing Watch © 2016


I dream that I am a tree.

Big and tall for all to see.

Day by day I stand and stand.

Birds’ nests I could hold in my hand.

All whilst I just stand.

Watching the world go by with a bird in my hand.

There is beauty in a tree.

Can you see?

~dlw, jr.

Image: This photograph was captured back in 2016 during my first drive along Hawaii’s Hana Highway which curves along the coast of the island of Maui. We took the time to stop and wander the trails in search of nature’s beauty and waterfalls. We found both in droves. (Bonus – on this trip to Maui we bumped into @lawschoolexpert and managed to coordinate a dinner together on the island.) How did I get so lucky?

#shotsbydubbs #photography #fineartphotography #hanahighway #roadtohana #dubbswanders #trees #forrest #oldtree #poetry #photophilisopher #photographerpoet #poem #emeraldgreen #lawschoolbuddies #lawschoolclassmate #lifelongfriends

Camera settings: 4.13mm | f2.2 | ISO: 50 | Shutter: 1/30 sec

Interested vs. COMMITTED – A Real Life Tale

Today, I was intent on being a part of our 11am Advanced Life Coaching Group with Marilyn Jhung at the West Central Mental Health Center, (WCMHC), in Los Angeles, California.  Because I am staying in Orange County, California, in order to achieve this task today, I first needed to take three buses in Orange County to the Irvine Train Station, where I would take a train to Los Angeles’ Union Station.  From Union Station, I would conclude my journey by hopping two buses to Crenshaw Blvd & Stocker St., where I can easily hoof it up to the little red brick building we loving call, WCMHC.  I check all the various schedules and lay out my transpo plan.

Here is a recapped synopsis of my day so far:

6am – wake up 20 minutes before my 6:20 alarm.

6:01am – look out the window to see the most Amazing dawn.

6:50am – leave the house.

7am – arrive at bus station for 7:10am bus. Realize I am at the wrong station. Began to jog the 0.9 miles to the correct bus stop arriving at 7:09am, just in time to catch the bus.

8:10am – Exit second bus.

8:30am – Take a bus stop selfie and notice same route go by on other side of the road.

8:40am – Jump on 3rd bus to head to train station to catch 8:52 train. The last northbound train of the am.

8:45am – Think to myself, we should be there already AND nothing going by outside my window looks familiar.

8:47am – Exit the bus realizing I have missed the last am train to Union Station.

So, NOW comes the query inside my heart, AM I INTERESTED OR COMMITTED?

Here is the set-up, I had already spent $22 bucks on a useless train ticket. I am sleepy because I stayed up late working on my current book project. I check Uber to see how much it will cost, because I still have time to make it if I am COMMITTED.  Uber has a driver three minutes away and wants $74.53 to make the trip.  I haven’t had any breakfast and I feel even more sleepy thinking about how I only have a few more than $75 in my account today.  What will I do?

I ordered the Uber. (I am literally writing this piece from the back seat right now.)  I went all in. I put my money 💰 where my COMMITMENT is, I put it toward making it to our group.

Bottomline, I am COMMITTED to my role as a Volunteer at WCMHC.  What are you COMMITTED to?


10:55am – Group calls to ask if I am gonna make it today. I say, on my way.

10:57am – I walk in the front door of WCMHC. Tell everybody, Mr. West is in the building!!!”

#MissionAccomplished #Winning

Another Day In Paradise – Laguna Beach, USA Edition

Today was an amazing 📷 day! 🎆💫🔥

I’d like to express my gratitude and thankfulness to, and for, my manz (X2), the Cedricks, Cedrick Wells and Cedrick Hardman.  Spending time with each of these gentlemen always lifts my spirits.

Not too many places in the world 🌍 better than Laguna Beach, especially for artists! I am in my heaven.


Here is a meditative thought straight from His Holiness, Himself…

Check out @DonWestJr’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/DonWestJr/status/965733603291234305?s=09