Going For It

Photography, Science, Thoughts


In just 3 short weeks, I will be sitting on a plane traveling across the world to Malaysia.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I have never competed in a Beauty Pageant before. I have no idea what to expect. I have no idea what we will be doing for the 2 weeks I am there. My feet prefer flip flops over heels. I’m not a model. But – that’s not stopping me. The fear of the unknown is where excitement stems. 

I am passionate. I am strong. I am an environmentalist. I am a scuba diver. I am a marine conservationist. I am a photographer. I am a lover. I am positive. I am a blogger. I am an adventurer. I am a woman in science. I am a health nut. I am a fitness guru. I am competitive. I am ready. I am going for it.

Opportunities like these don’t come around too often. My passion is the ocean and protecting it, and that’s what I’m going to showcase in full force at the Miss Scuba International Pageant. I’m so ready to get my feet wet!

I decided to host a Silent Auction Fundraiser this weekend to help fund my expenses to compete in the Miss Scuba International Pageant. I am fiscally responsible for my airfare, as well as clothing/equipment. The funds are totaling over $3000 very quickly. As a single independent passionate woman, I am reaching out to others to help make my dreams come true.

I am so lucky to have amazing friends and family who believe in me and my dreams. Many of you have known me since I was a little girl, and understand this journey I have been on has led me here for a reason. I have incredible people donating and assisting in gathering items for the Silent Auction, which I couldn’t have done this all without them. SO THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Everyone is invited – please feel free to join if you are in the area 🙂

DONATE HERE: Scuba Miss USA PayPal Donation Page

VISIT: Scuba Miss USA Facebook Page

Natural Beauty (New Pics!)

Photography, Thoughts

Good day! I wanted to welcome all my new followers I’ve acquired over the past couple of months – thanks & hope you enjoy my blog 🙂 If you are a photographer – be sure to leave a comment if you want be a part of my blog photography challenge.

WOW can you believe how fast Summer has flown by?! With work and weddings pretty much every weekend of the last couple of months, my life has been GO – GO – GO! Once September hits, I can already feel that my life is going to change big time. I might be moving, getting a new job, participating in an international competition… stay tuned for further details 😉 And all of you will be taking that journey with me.

So I promised some photos from my trip to Monterey Bay last month – and I finally had a free day to edit the pics for your viewing pleasure. We went to the Arroyo Seco in Monterey County which is hidden treasure that I suggest EVERYONE goes to see. It’s the perfect activity in the summer time to hike and explore the wilderness.

Also, as my time starts to free up next month – I will continue to post weekly – so don’t you worry! I’ve got some great posts lined up already in my head.

Photography Challenge #1: Joe Platko

Photography, Thoughts

Firstly – my apologies for the blog-posting-hiatus. Summer is the busiest month for my work..and any free time is mostly spent trying to catch up on sleep or working out. In saying that – I will try my hardest to post at least once a week for all you great readers from across the globe. I am crossing off a Bucket List item in a couple of weeks…stay tuned to find out which one it is 🙂

I am super excited to announce my first Photography Challenge today! Here is a summary of the Challenge:

1) Find a willing and excited photographer

2) Give the photographer a theme 

3) Have the photographer submit 3 photographs encompassing the theme

4) Showcase their 3 photographs on PhotoScienceChanel.com 

5) Then I will share a photograph of my own encompassing the theme

My first Photographer participant is one of my classmates from Cal State University Monterey Bay – Joe Platko. He is an amazing nature photographer – both on land and under the water. We both have an affinity for marine life 🙂 so we get along very nicely.

The theme I chose for Joe seemed fitting for the time being here in America :


At first Joe had a hard time with this theme..that is until he went on vacation in the beautiful state of Hawaii. Here’s what he said :

Hey, so now that I’m back from my “summer” trip to the big island, I thought I’d just give you three images that wrapped up the trip for me. This will likely be my last big family trip, as my youngest sister is now in college, so our family thought we’d go out with a bang. That is why I decided to give all three images for the Summer assignment, and tried to choose shots that epitomized what the trip was about, aside from the family togetherness. Hope you enjoy the shots, ALOHA!

Credit: Joe Platko

Credit: Joe Platko

The palm trees were taken in the parking lot of the beach for our resort.
Lol so that was cool, shooting something everyone else was just walking by.
And I was only aimed up because if I shot dead ahead you would have seen all the cars.
Credit: Joe Platko

Credit: Joe Platko

The reef scene was taken right off of the harbor, when I was diving with my dad.
Credit: Joe Platko

Credit: Joe Platko

The turtle photograph was taken on the last day I was there, after I was bummed about not getting a single shot of one while diving. And I was snorkeling with it just north of Kona.

Thank you so much Joe for these spectacular photos! I couldn’t think of a better place to take “Summer” photos than Hawaii… I have so many fantastic memories when my family vacationed in Maui. The photo I took for this particular challenge was on one of my favorite excursions : whale watching. Well, other than a couple of sea lions and pelicans…our luck out in the big blue was unsuccessful. No whales or dolphins in sight!

But, it was honestly one of the nicest boat rides I’ve ever been on – the weather was beautiful and warm & the sea was so very calm and BLUE. I also had some great company as well 🙂

The photo I snapped to represent “SUMMER” was of these playful sea lions we pulled up to alongside the boat. After working with sea lions, I have a whole new perspective about these pinnipeds. They are such intelligent and dynamic creatures. Hope you enjoyed my first Photography Challenge! Thanks Joe for being my first photographer 😀

If you would like to participate as a photographer – please comment below.
Credit: Chanel Hason

Credit: Chanel Hason

Stop by my Facebook Page : Photography + Science = Chanel
 Shoot me a Tweet : PSChanel
Check out my Pinterest : PhotoScience

The Final Puzzle Piece

Photography, Science, Thoughts

Yesterday, I had a phone interview with the South Australia Tourism representative regarding being a Finalist in the Best Job in the World contest. We had an amazing conversation; it actually felt more like a chat with a close friend than an interview for my dream job – in a good way!

After our conversation, I was filled with excitement! The position of Wildlife Caretaker, REALLY IS MADE FOR ME. I am everything passionate about animals/environment, ecotourism, traveling, blogging, photography, video editing, being in front of the camera, conducting research, talking with strangers, and exploring new places. All of the qualifications and characteristics they are looking for, I possess. I feel like the final piece of a 1,000 piece-puzzle (that makes up a map of South Australia of course), ready to placed in its unique spot to complete the masterpiece.

This week really FLEW by! Let me tell you, throwing a huge social media blitz for a job opportunity of a lifetime is a 24/7 job. Time is of the essence, and I am utilizing every second of the day.

Throughout this campaign, I have had the pleasure of connecting with some amazing people. Even if the cards aren’t in my favor for this competition (but I hope I’m dealt a FULL HOUSE), I will be pleased to leave with a new group friends from around the globe. I am convinced I am on this journey of a lifetime for a reason (or two, or three). Surrounding yourself with inspiring, supportive, and positive people will only lead to great things 🙂

I HAVE A THEME SONG! A well-known band based out of Orange County, the Saints in Rehab, got creative and wrote a quick little theme song to support my dream job of becoming a Wildlife Caretaker. I met these guys one year ago when I went on a cruise to Mexico for my birthday, and we’ve remained good ever since friends. It’s amazing to look back and count the number of blossoming friendships I’ve created by just starting a conversation with a stranger on my travels! Needless to say, they are a great group of talented guys! THANKS SO MUCH 😀 Hope you can come visit me Down Under and play a ‘real’ didgeridoo.

We’ve accumulated over 1200 likes on my Contest Facebook Page – if you haven’t liked it yet and want to support me – please click the link above/below and like/share with your friends! It only takes 2 seconds I swear, but your actions could make a 20 year dream become a reality.


FACEBOOK – Like / Share / Comment

TWITTER @PSChanel #ChanelWC #BestJobs @Australia – Tweet/RT Why I Australia Should Pick Me!

INSTAGRAM @ChanelWildlifeCaretaker – Like and #ChanelWC


Mystery Of The Mangled Mola

Science, Thoughts

I went to college in Monterey Bay where I was lucky enough to volunteer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.


One of the most fascinating creatures that I feel in love with while volunteering, was the Mola Mola – also known as the Ocean Sunfish. This is one special animal. It’s not the most colorful, easy on the eyes, fast/quick, or appealing fish out there… but it definitely catches your eye.

Baby Mola

Baby Mola

When I came face to face with this fish, I fell in love. I love the fact that this creature is so unique. Kids ran around the Aquarium screaming “Mom, where is the other half of that fish,” “Ewww that’s an ugly fish,” “WOW what is THAT thing?” – whilst I sat there staring at the huge tank in awe.

When I could, I’d let the curious kids know how AWESOME Ocean Sunfish really are! Mola Mola’s are the largest  and heaviest bony fish in the big blue sea – as well as the most parasitic. These animals can grow up to 5,000 lbs and grow up to 10 feet wide x 14 feet high. You will often spot Mola’s at the surface laying sideways inviting birds and smaller fish to pick parasites off its skin. Some have actually been seen breaching 10ft out of the water to try and rid themselves of parasites as well. Since Mola’s are clumsy slow swimmers, they then to feast upon creatures like jellyfish or zooplankton and algae (aka easy targets).

They frequent the shores of Monterey quite often, but I haven’t been lucky enough to see one in the wild (don’t you worry it’s on my Bucket List!). The image above was taken at the Hopkins Marine Institute located right next to the  Monterey Bay Aquarium, where I had a friend working for their Tuna Research and Conservation Center (TRCC). They often had a variety of different animals their holding tanks, and luckily I visited on a day when they were housing 2 baby Sunfish! They were so adorable, I couldn’t get enough of them 🙂 Although, my TRCC friend Luis couldn’t understand why I loved the little buggers so much – it’s ok Luis, I think tuna are cool too!

Any who- I came across this video today of a 2nd grade elementary school class in Carmel CA., investigating why so many Mola’s were washing up dead on the shores of Monterey Bay. It’s super cute – and actually quite informative! Good job future marine biologists 🙂

California Fails to Pass GM Foods Labeling Initiative

Science, Thoughts

This was one California Proposition I hoped had passed yesterday in the election. WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW what’s in our food. Read this awesome article to find out more.

Health & Family

At every election, California‘s ballot is filled with initiatives, but none received more attention this year than Proposition 37.

After the polls closed, Prop 37—also known as the “Right To Know” initiative to require labeling of foods that have been genetically modified—failed to pass. If approved, California would have been the first state to require such labeling for foods sold in the state, and would have prohibited products containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled or marketed as “natural.”

Although the issue was ostensibly about food, the debate over Prop 37 quickly became political in recent months, with grassroots-based food purists supporting the measure and a well-funded agriculture and industry opposition campaigning against its passage. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Prop. 37 opponents, largely from industry and agriculture, raised over $45 million while the Vote Yes campaign, which was largely backed by consumer groups and the organic industry, raised about…

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Credit: ATTIK

One of my favorite days is here…Coastal Cleanup Day!

Science, Thoughts

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It’s time to dust off those sand buckets and bring them to the nearest coastline this Saturday! It’s the annual 2012 Coastal Cleanup Day on September 15th. For the first time ever- I am going to be participating in a “dive” cleanup at the Santa Monica Pier with a great organization, Heal The Bay. So while people are cleaning up on the beaches, I’ll be looking for hidden treasure on the bottom of the sea and collecting it in a netted bag. I’ve had friends in Monterey Bay do a pier cleanup last year and it’s astounding the type of things they found on the bottom of the ocean! From car engines, to kitchen sinks..people need to understand that the ocean isn’t a giant garbage disposal. Hopefully, I’ll get to borrow a friend’s Go Pro underwater HD camera- then I could come back here and show you everything I picked up! Maybe I will even capture some cool marine life while I’m down there 😉

I haven’t been diving since my time abroad in Australia in 2009- my dive gear has been neglected for awhile but I’m so ready to jump into the ocean (especially for such a good cause)! I’m diving with my friend from CSUMB Alex Olson- he’s pretty much a very very experienced diver..I feel in good ‘dive buddy’ hands haha.

If you live in California, be sure to check out the link below to find the closest cleanup location to where you live!

CALIFORNIA SIGN UP: Check here to find a cleanup site near you

Even if you don’t live near a beach or the ocean- you can still participate! Rivers and lakes still are at risk from pollution. Go find a body of water and I’m sure there’ll be some trash to pick up and you would have done your part on this great day! Although, you should REALLY pick up trash whenever you see it on the ground or ocean no matter what day it is.

Keep our planet clean! Throw your trash away please (not on the streets..).

BONUS QUESTION: What’s the most common piece of trash found on coastal cleanups (don’t cheat and Google it!)?

(You’ll get a shout out in my next blog post if you guess correctly!)

Dolphins Smile For The Camera!

Photography, Science, Thoughts

I saw a great viral video recently containing footage from a fishing trip off the coast of Santa Cruz, CA. Mark Peters, the one who filmed the video, created a little torpedo capsule for his GoPro camera to get some underwater shots of the tuna him and his friends were fishing for. Little did he know how precious that GoPro would be when a pod of dolphins started swimming next to their boat… Check it out below!

The Blue

Isn’t it hard not to smile when you see a dolphin 🙂 ? Dolphins are such beautiful, curious, smart, and for the most part very friendly creatures. The Pacific White-Sided Dolphins as seen in Mark’s video are very common off the coast of California. I actually did a little pointillism drawing a couple of years ago of a Pacific White-Sided Dolphin as seen below. It was a fun and relatively simple drawing to do 🙂 Hope all of you are enjoying your week thus far- keep smiling!

My Pacific White Sided Dolphin Drawing

Malibu Photo Shoot

Photography, Science, Thoughts

So the other week my friend Matt sent a message to a couple of friends requesting that we all should head to Malibu one Thursday to be part of this “surfer themed” photo shoot with an amazing photographer and videographer. I had 1 day-off during the work week- so I jumped on the opportunity to lay on the beach for the FIRST time this summer. (I know it’s sad..)

I don’t think I’ve ever really been to Malibu before- so when I arrived to Point Dume– I knew this wasn’t going to be the last time I stepped foot on that beach. It was GORGEOUS and there was literally no one there. It was a couple of hours before everyone arrived to meet up for the photo shoot, so I napped on the beach and enjoyed the sights and smells of the sea.

The photographer was Coy Gutierrez- Check out both of his FANTASTIC websites here:



Coy came with a stylist for the shoot as well as a videographer- both great guys! It was beginning to turn into the “real deal” as they tend to say 🙂 All we really did was hang out and have a good time while they shot us! There was this amazing little hut made out of palm leaves on the beach which we hung out around towards the end of the day- it looked like something out of a surf movie (PERFECT!).

Of course being a marine scientist I went straight to the tide pools observing huge purple sea stars, acorn barnacles, and lots of beautiful sea anemones. I even saved a stranded sea star from the mouth of a greedy sea gull…be FREE little echinoderm!

I made some new awesome friends, and overall I couldn’t have asked for a better day to spend my day-off from work. Looking back and reminiscing about this day, all I can say is that I am just overflowing with happiness and thankfulness that I have opportunities like this come up in life. I have so many different groups of friends and peers that I all cherish so deeply- I thoroughly enjoy every moment I get to spend with them. Shout out to Matt Hoffman  -I appreciate extending the offer to participate in the shoot my way- it was a highlight of my summer.

So take a gander at some of the beautifully amazing photos Coy so graciously let me share with all of you 😀

Don’t the photos just want to make you drop everything and head to the beach?!
Which one captures your eye the most?

Jill and Matt

Point Dume

And They’re Off!

Matt and Pat

Matt Surfing



Drawing an Otter

Hanging ’round the hut

Playing in the tide pools

Purple Sea Star

iPhone Addiction

Jill Ran Up The Hill


Sunset Dreams


“Less Is More”

Photography, Thoughts

Let’s Go For a Hike.

SIDE NOTE: I entered a Black and White photo contest for pictureline Inc.-

If you could go here and just click VOTE for my photo I’d be super grateful 🙂 

On Monday of this week, I decided to make the most of my morning and wake up early to hike with my new friend Dave, who is an engineer at one of Pasadena’s great fire departments.

Dave’s very outgoing and positive, so it was hard to say no at a wake up call of 6:15am knowing that a morning hike would be exhilarating and a great way to start a new week (I can sleep when I’m dead right??). I’ve only hiked Mt. Wilson in the Pasadena area, so I was intrigued to hike Eaton Canyon and visit the acclaimed waterfall so many of my friends have hiked to before.

There were maybe 3-4 other people on the trail that early in the morning– which was fantastic. It was beautiful to only hear birds and beat of my heart as I paced up the trail instead of cars and trucks on the busy streets below. Although, what I began to notice all around me was evidence hundreds of people who have hiked here before… AKA trash everywhere! NEWSFLASH: your trash stays where you left it people! There aren’t park rangers that go around and pick up after you here. If you are responsible enough to bring something into a natural park, then it’s your responsibility to take it back out with you. Common sense right? Guess not.

Dave’s been hiking here before and he knew what to expect. He and I both love being in nature, and soaking in the beauty that surrounds us. So he came equipped with 2 trash bags for us to pick up after people and leave the park cleaner than we found it. We found another trash bag someone left by the waterfall, and packed up that one as well. We filled 3 trash bags and there was still PLENTY of trash left, sadly. I’m ready to go back and clean more!

It was a big reality check that some people don’t respect their environment as they should. I specifically picked up: LOTS of waterbottles and bottle caps, diapers (don’t worry I picked it up using the bag as a glove), socks, beer bottles, cans, candy bar wrappers, plastic bags, moldy ChipsAhoy cookies, and the list goes on and on… Some people even stopped us and asked if we were doing this on our own time and were so surprised they said “Wow! Thank You”- “I appreciate you” -” You’re a good person” Now hopefully they didn’t leave their trash on the ground…and felt inspired to grab a couple pieces of trash other people left on their way out (Monkey See, Monkey Do-right?).

On that note- here’s some black and white shots I captured on this morning hike. Felt good to take some nature shots- they are my favorite! Which one do you like best?


Tree Of Life

From Where I Stand

Eaton Canyon Waterfall

Good Samaritans.

Dave Cooling Off

Lizard PeekABoo

Cleaning The Park 1 Bag At A Time

Signs Are All Around Us.