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

Walk For The Reef – Aussie Grandma Making Big Steps

Photography, Science, Thoughts
Credit: Chanel Hason

Credit: Chanel Hason

Stemming from Queensland Australia, June Norman is not your average 72-year-old (great) grandma. On June 1st 2013, the passionate grandmother began a 1186 km (736.9 miles) journey on foot from Cairns to Gladstone to protect the largest living organism on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef. Please watch her story below:

One of the major threats to the Great Barrier Reef is the coal industry. Coal mined in Australia, most of which is burned in Asia, is fueling climate change which is a large detriment to the reefs. The coal export industry in AUS is one of the largest in the world. There is an expected 9 new coal terminals to be built in the World Heritage area that is the Great Barrier Reef, and one cannot ignore the fact that this causes a huge environmental concern. It warms my heart and soul that June is doing something and fighting for a better future for her grandchildren and the overall environmental protection of her country. If I was still living in Queensland, you can bet your bottom dollar I would be there right beside June on this awareness walk.

“It’s an awareness raising walk to highlight to highlight the coal expansion and to show the damage that it will cause to our Reef if it goes ahead.”

You can leave support for June on the Greenpeace Australia Pacific Facebook Page here. Or feel free to check out the official ReefWalk 2013 Facebook as well. To stay updated throughout the Reef Walk 2013 campaign, follow their blog! It only takes one person to help change the world – remember that next time you want to stand up for something you believe in.

Win A FREE Trip To Australia!

Photography, Science, Thoughts





Chanel is already a natural spokesperson for promoting ocean conservation, environmental sustainability, and exploration/travel to everyone she meets. To become a Wildlife Caretaker in South Australia would not only be a dream come true, but it could lead to some AMAZING opportunities to help pursue and utilize her passions in life. She’s made it to the Top 25 Finalists out of over 45,000 entries – the world is Chanel’s ‘South Australian Oyster‘ 🙂 !

Her love for Australia has been evident ever since she learned about the Great Barrier Reef when she was a young aspiring marine biologist. The intrigue only grew when she traveled to Queensland, Australia for a year-long student exchange program in college. The culture, the people, the places, the wildlife, the scenery, the history, the beauty; all these elements sparked her Australian infatuation even more. The photographs she captured during her year abroad are some of her prized possessions (some gaining recognition in photography competitions).

The compensation for this job ($100,000) is not why she’s interested in the position of Wildlife Caretaker – it’s about a journey of a lifetime. It’s about exploring exciting and unique locations/activities in South Australia, and sharing those stories with the world! It’s about assisting with conservation and research efforts spanning from the coastline to the Outback. It’s about walking up to strangers and sparking conversations which result in long-lasting friendships. It’s about preserving Australia’s natural ecosystems and wildlife. Chanel’s life has lead up to this moment for reason; this is her destiny.

Chanel wants YOU to experience South Australia for yourself. The outpour of support on this quest to win her dream job has been HUGE – so Chanel thought the least she could do would be to repay the favor and award one of her lucky followers a chance of a lifetime. Australia is country that should be seen and explored by all!

If Chanel is the last one standing and is announced South Australia’s Wildlife Caretaker, she will randomly select one of you lucky participants, to win 1 ROUND TRIP AIRLINE TICKET to visit her Down Under as Chanel’s Biggest Fan (see contest rules and regulations for complete details)! 

Complete ALL The Steps Below to ENTER:
It’s so EASY! 

1) Follow PhotoScienceChanel.com using your email to register (find and click the “Follow Me” button on the righthand side of the blog)

2) Comment on this blog post answering all the following bullet points:

  • Give your reasoning why Australia should pick Chanel for Wildlife Caretaker (Feel free to Tweet @Australia and tell them your reasoning to pick @PSChanel #BestJobs #ChanelWC too!)
  • Name one activity/location you want to visit in Australia and WHY

  • List your NAME / CITY / STATE / COUNTRY

  • Post your personal/business blog URL (if applicable)

You are still eligible if you were previously a email/follower of Chanel’s blog before 8pm (PST) on May 4, 2013 – remember to just please state so in the comment. GOOD LUCK supporters! Reminder: the giveaway will only occur if Chanel Hason is announced the winner of Australia’s Best Jobs on June 21st, 2013. If awarded Wildlife Caretaker, Chanel will announce a winner on July 1st, 2013. So be sure to LIKE/SHARE her Facebook Page and Follow/Tweet her @PSChanel to increase her chances of winning!  To see the full list of rules & regulations for the giveaway, click here or find the tab at the top of the blog.

Australia’s Best Job In The World Contest



Best Job in the World Contest?!

Even before this fantastic announcement, there has been this ‘itch’, so to speak, of  somehow making my way back to that beautiful country of the ‘land down under.’ I lived in Brisbane, Australia for a year in 2009 when I studied Marine Science at the University of Queensland, Saint Lucia. It was such a growing experience, in more ways that I could ever begin to describe. Let me share a couple ‘firsts’ that happened while abroad:

  • FIRST TIME GETTING MY PURSE STOLEN: Crime happens everywhere – in every country – at any moment. My moment – in a movie theater with people from my apartment complex during a social group outing. A thievery couple stole my purse from under my seat in a movie theater..luckily I had my apartment key in my pocket. They spent $500+ in 15 minutes at 4 different 7-11 stores..who knows maybe they really loved candy bars? But, I have to say the Australia Police Department really were very helpful throughout the whole situation – cheers mates!
  • FIRST TIME GOING TO AN E.R. + FIRST TIME GETTING STITCHES: Silly me I sliced my finger open with a pocket knife while trying to open the package my new vegetable knife was in (ironic much). Luckily I had a friend tag along with me for moral support (and documentation) of my time in the E.R. and getting stitches. The Aussies doctors were amazing and hilarious, but I still don’t have all the feeling in my left index finger :/
  • FIRST TIME HOLDING A KOALA / PETTING A KANGAROO: When in Rome (or in this case Australia), am I right? But to be honest, I was scared that the koala was going to pee/poop on my while I was holding it for the pictures – no joke!
  • FIRST TIME LIVING BY MYSELFI had this nice corner studio apartment unit on the 15th floor of a student housing complex in the middle of downtown Brisbane. I wouldn’t change it for the world – met some of the most amazing people/life long friends in UniLodge.
  • FIRST TIME I EMBRACED BEING A PHOTOGRAPHER: Before I moved to Australia, my mom treated me to a shiny brand new Canon camera. During my time in one of those most beautiful countries in the world, I got to experiment/enhance/and fall in love with my digital and film photography skills (how lucky was I?!).

Now back to the Best Jobs in the World contest – so basically Tourism Australia created 6 amazing jobs across Australia that compensate you $100,000 for 6 months of ‘work.’ I applied to 3 of these fantastic jobs opportunities – Wildlife Caretaker, Park Ranger, and Lifestyle Photographer! To apply, you had to submit a 30 second video of why you are the best person for the job. I had a lot of fun filming these videos – and special shout out to my film/editing partner Dominic Parisi for helping me with my videos- you rock! On April 25th they will announce the short list of the TOP 25 applicants for each position – keep your fingers crossed!!!

I have this feeling that something BIG is going to happen to me this year – not sure what it is going to be – but I can’t help but imagine this opportunity might be it. I had multiple people send me the link to sign up for these contest – which only put a big smile on my face that they thought this contest was ‘for me’ 🙂 This is the only time in my life where I can literally pack up – move across the globe – live spontaneously – and have the best 25th year of life possible! If I won, I would definitely put the money towards going back to school and getting my Masters Degree in Conservation Biology/Marine Science/Education. Hope you enjoy my final products – tell me which video you like BEST! :




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Women in Science

Science, Thoughts

California State University Monterey Bay – That’s me!

Imagine a tall, skinny, beautiful New York City professional ballet dancer telling you anything and everything about neuroscience. Pretty hard to imagine right? Now imagine a short, nerdy, conservative, glasses wearing girl explaining the theory of evolution detail by detail. Pretty easy to picture in your head, huh? The media portrays ‘scientists’ as nerdy-socially awkward-not ‘attractive’-etc- which has caused widespread stereotyping across movies and televisions shows.


Doing larval research on the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s a sad but true statement that women don’t get the respect or acknowledgment for their accomplishments nearly as much as men in almost every job field. I have personally witnessed this sexist concept whilst studying in the scientific field of marine biology. Yes, it’s true that men and women are very different – but that doesn’t mean at all that one sex is better/smarter/more advanced than the other. We are all human. We all have a brain. It’s just how you use it that makes us all unique.

I’ve loved science since I was little. And I can bet you that if you took a poll, I wouldn’t fall into the normal ‘nerd’ spectrum that the media portrays. If you watch the Big Bang Theory, I’d probably be placed into the same category as the ‘dumb’ southern blonde girl across the hall than the neuroscientist Cal Tech girl who is socially awkward, dresses frumpy, and wears glasses. If you judge a book by its cover – you will never know the great novel that lies inside.

I fell in love with Chemistry in college – and I even got an A+ in my classes! Who does that?! –> This girl 🙂 Learning how the world works and why makes my brain do cartwheels with excitement. I used to get self conscious for some reason when people called me a nerd – but now I embrace it and wear the title proudly with a smile on my face.

One of the coolest things about science is that : WE ARE ALWAYS DISCOVERING NEW THINGS! Thus, my thirst for knowledge never runs dry – thanks SCIENCE!

I’d like to share with you the inspiration for this post : a great TEDxCal Tech talk about the Myths of Scientists. (You go girl!)

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Travel Bug

Photography, Thoughts


The travel bug has bitten…

Every time I go for a walk,
I see people and things around me
that remind me of a country or place I have never explored.

I want adventure.

I yearn for knowledge of other cultures.

I want to explore the unexplored.

I’m ready.

Where are you going to next?

Fish Now Have Skin Cancer Too…

Science, Thoughts

The black spots on this Coral Trout are melanomas.

For the first time in history, a wild marine fish species has been identified with skin cancer off the coast of Australia.

Caught on the Great Barrier Reef, coral trout have been discovered with large black spots on their skin, now identified as cancerous melanomas. One researcher documented that 15% of these fish found on the reef show signs of skin cancer. The percentage may even be higher due to the fact that some fish may have died due to illness or consumed by predators.

Researchers state that melanomas on the skin of these fish were likely due to the UV radiation and the closeness of the fish species to the hole in the ozone layer over parts of Antarctica and Australia. (No wonder I got “surfer’s eye” induced by extreme sun exposure in my year abroad in Australia..the sun really is MORE intense there!) Hence it is no wonder that Australia has the highest occurrence of skin cancer in the entire world. That boils down to the fact that 2 out of 3 Australians will be diagnosed before that age of 70. Very unfortunate…wear your sunscreen Aussies!

Coral trouts are normally orange all over… but not with melanomas. (Michelle Heupel, Australian Institute of Marine Science / August 1, 2012)

Alright back to the fish- the researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science were on the reef doing a survey of shark prey, i.e. coral trout. They saw the discoloration on the fish and after examining it under a microscope, discovered  it was cancerous tumors.

“Studying disease in wild fish populations is very time-consuming and costly so it’s hard to say how long the disease has been around. However, what we do know is that it is now widespread in the coral trout population effecting three different species of this type of fish and we would not be surprised to find it in other species as well.” -Dr. Sweet

The fish were caught off of Heron Island (where I did research on tube worm larvae!) and One Tree Island – which make up the southern portion of the Great Barrier Marine Park. 136 fish were caught, resulting with 20 (15%) showing signs of skin cancer.

Even though this is just the first published report about fish with skin cancer, I’m sure the occurrence isn’t new. Some fishermen trace it back to as early as the 1980’s. The diagnosed fish didn’t show signs of illness, but that also doesn’t mean that many of them have already died from the cancer once it got invasive. Questions and answers are still yet to be answered pertaining to skin cancer in fish- I’ll try and keep you posted as best as I can on this issue.


Spreading some “Ocean Love” for World Oceans Day on June 8th!

Photography, Science, Thoughts

World Oceans Day lands on Friday June 8th this year- a little less than a month away!

I feel like I haven’t shown much “ocean love” in a while…so today that’s going to change!

Here are some photos of different oceans/beaches that I am so lucky to have seen and explored 😀

Have you been to any of these places before??

Great Barrier Reef- Cairns, Australia

Mazatlan, Mexico

Byron Bay, Australia

Heron Island, Australia

Carmel Beach, California

Monterey Bay, California

Point Lobos, California

Napili Kai, Maui, Hawaii

Moorea, Tahiti

Bahia de Los Angeles, Gulf of Mexico

Santa Cruz, California

San Francisco, California

Elephant Seal Beach, Big Sur, California

Moss Landing, California

Wailea, Maui, Hawaii

Newport Beach, California

Pacific Grove, California

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Google helps us view the Great Barrier Reef- from the perspective of a FISH!


I saw this article last week, and I legitimately freaked out because it is so amazing! I even had some friends post it to me on Facebook knowing that I would love it.

It’s called the Catlin Seaview Survey. This joint project with Google and the University of Queensland (Sidenote: the school I studied abroad at when I was in college in Brisbane Australia), allows interface users to explore the Great Barrier Reef from the view of a fish, shark, octopus, or whatever sea creature you imagine yourself as.

Explore underwater life with : SeaView (CHECK OUT THE VIDEO ABOUT THIS SURVEY- IT’S AWESOME!)

Using the same variant of the Google Street View service- from Feb 23, 2012 and on we can now view (360 degrees) underwater of the Great Barrier Reef. Soon, the reef in Bermuda will also be documented in the same manner.

The chief scientist of the survey, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the University of Queensland in Brisbane (such an amazing school to have studied at), stated

For the first time in history, we have the technology available to broadcast the findings of an expedition through Google. Millions of people will be able to experience the life, the science and the magic that exists under the surface of our oceans.


From a marine science background, these surveys will be very important for multiple reasons.When the reefs are damaged by pollution, ships, or extreme weather, the visualization of damage by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority will be greatly valuable. Not to mention it will be an excellent opportunity for those who have never seen a reef up close and personal, to take a 3D trip to another world.

The survey team captures the reef with one camera using 4 SLR cameras with extreme fish eye lenses shooting simultaneously to conceive a 360-degree image. The cameras are attached to a motorized driver-pulling underwater “scooter.” I would totally volunteer my time to be able to man one of these scooters..they look like a ton of fun 🙂 When I did my research on the Great Barrier Reef, I had to remind myself that you can’t research without having fun and enjoying what you do. That’s one of the most (I think) important parts.

I wanted to conclude this post with a photo my friend Michelle ( http://michelleswanderlust.wordpress.com/ ) took of me when we researched for a week at the University of Queensland’s Heron Island Research Station. For any of you who have been and experience the AWE of the Great Barrier Reef, I hope you truly soaked in the beauty, wonder, and sheer abundance of life the reef provides. Live to explore, learn, and love!

Live to Explore.

My First Submission to a Photo Contest- Find out the result!


If you are an avid reader of mine- you’ll know that I asked for some suggestions last month with a couple photos I wanted to enter in a contest.

These photo submissions were for the Birch Aquarium Underwater Parks Day Photo Contest. The only decent underwater photos I have taken  are from scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, in Queensland, Australia. I truly love being submerged underwater…surrounded by schools of fish and coral reefs- a surreal and BEAUTTIIIFUL experience. If you’ve never been scuba diving in your life- you haven’t lived. Put it on your bucket list- trust me.

I got to post up to 5 photographs- which of course I didn’t hesitate if this was an option for my first photo contest 🙂  The category I able to submit to was Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s). The Great Barrier Reef is one of the largest MPA’s in the entire world- so lucky me that I had some awesome photos from my study abroad experience!

The winners were announced yesterday…and drum rolllllllllllllllllllllll….I didn’t win 😦

I had high hopes- but I wasn’t completely bummed. The Aquarium on their blog said that they were going to post a couple favorites besides the winning entries the  next day (which was today). So when I went onto the Birch Aquarium blog- I started scrolling through the 8 favorite photos…and low and behold.. I HAD A PHOTO THERE! Not all hope was lost 🙂 after all.

Here is the link to the Aquarium’s blog post showing their favorites: More Photos: Underwater Parks Day Photo Contest

You will see on that page- the photo shown below which I titled: Jail Break! 

I thought it was a fitting title because the little fish look like escaped convicts in their white and black striped attire 🙂 don’t you agree??

Jail Break!

Well even though I did win the competition- second best sounds pretty darn good to me for my first time in a contest! Smiles all around today 😀 Now I’m looking forward to my next photo contest….know of any good ones? I take a lot of nature shots- both digital and film. Thanks!