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kawika chetron

Photograph courtesy Melissa Litwicki


Can I license an image for commercial use?

Yes, fees vary depending upon the specific use. To arrange for licensing, contact Cold Water Images at 1-808-828-0354 or

I represent some entity that licenses stock photography. Can we include images from the site in our library?

Yes. However, you must pay a licensing fee to do so. This up-front licensing fee can be used as a credit against future commissions owed to Cold Water Images for licensing the images to third parties.

Can I buy a print of one of the photographs on the site?

Yes, 18" long prints are available for $150. Prints can be ordered by sending e-mail to

18" long? Don't prints usually have two dimensions?

Yes, but some images are cropped so the print width will vary. Many images are uncropped, these will be printed at 12" x 18".

12" x 18" is kind of a funny size isn't it?

This size is chosen to eliminate cropping while still allowing for the use of ready-made frames. Ready-made frames are available in 12" x 18", 18" x 24", and 22" x 28". A 12" x 18" print can therefore be inexpensively framed with no mat border, a 3" inch border, or a 5" border.

What's the resolution of the print master?

Uncropped images are 2048 by 3072 pixels if they were shot before April 16, 2006. Uncropped images are 2912 by 4368 pixels if they were shot after this date.

Will my print look exactly like what I see on my computer monitor?

Likely not. An image's appearance will vary tremendously from monitor to monitor.

Can you send me a proof of an image so I can see what it will look like before I buy it?


What if I don't like the print I get?

You can ship it back and receive a full refund

Can I get a lighter, darker, or otherwise altered print?

Yes, for an additional charge. The price will depend upon the specific request.

I'm going to download images from the site and use them for some private or public purpose. That's okay, right?

No, it's not. But I'm not fool enough to think that it's not going to happen anyway. This is one of the reasons why images on the site are significantly poorer resolution than the originals.

What kind of camera are you using?

Everything on the site shot before April 16, 2006 was taken with a Canon 10D digital SLR in a Subal C10 housing. Everything after that date was taken with a Canon 5D in a Subal CD5 housing.

What's the difference between those two cameras

The biggest difference is that the 5D has a full frame sensor while the 10D does not. Because of this difference, a wide angle shot taken with the 5D and Canon 15mm fisheye lens will have a viewing angle of 180 degrees while shots taken with the same lens and the 10D only have a viewing angle of about 110 degrees.

Is that really a good reason to pay several times the price of the 10D, 20D, or 30D

For underwater use, yes.

How about strobes? What kind of strobes are you using?

I started off using Sea & Sea YS-90 strobes. I was never happy with these. They break frequently, are not sufficiently powerful for tropical destinations, and worst of all, have an abysmally slow cycle time. This last problem can be largely remedied by using energizer lithium AA batteries, though these are both expensive and difficult to find. I've now migrated to far more powerful Nikon SB 104 strobes which I expect to operate at one quarter power in cold water. These are certainly an improvement, but are quite bulky and have a more uncertain future parts availability than the Sea & Sea strobes.

I really want to get started with underwater photography, do you think the 5D or 10D would be a good camera for me to buy?


I'm a new underwater photographer, but most of my pictures look foggy or have a lot of backscatter in them. What am I doing wrong?

There are a whole host of things that can contribute to this, but here's a short list of things to keep in mind:

Make sure you're getting really, really, really close to your subject.
Super wide angle cameras and lenses help you to get really, really really close.
Super wide angle cameras and lenses are very expensive.
Long strobe arms that allow you to light your subject from the side help reduce backscatter.
Long strobe arms make it difficult to lug your camera around the reef.
Position your strobes such that the cone of light from strobes doesn't light the water (and thus all the scuzzy things in the water) between the lens and your subject.
Use a narrow depth of field (nearly wide open aperture) so that water scuzzies that are closer or nearer to the lens than your subject are well out of focus.
Using a narrow depth of field means you have to focus more accurately if the subject is to look sharp.
Inexpensive digital camera that may take great pictures on land often have small sensors and thus a large depth of field. This is undesirable for taking pictures underwater.
Use a shutter speed long enough to make the water in the background of your shot bright. It's harder to see water scuzzies if they're in front of a light background.
Did I mention that you need to get really, really, really close to your subject?

I'm going to Hawaii/Cozumel/Cayman next month. I'll probably try scuba diving and would like to take some pictures, can you give me any tips?

Quite honestly, I'd forget about the camera and just enjoy your trip. If you're a new diver, I think you should wait until you're exceptionally comfortable in the water before attempting to manage the added twist of carrying a camera around. Also, if you don't dive regularly, and are not exceptionally wealthy, a capable camera ends up being awfully expensive on a per use basis. There are inexpensive underwater cameras, but it's difficult to get nice pictures from them. It is possible to rent better rigs, but the ramp-up time to learn how to use them may be significant.

But that's just YOUR opinion!

Well, yes. Who's opinion were you expecting?

My significant other would like me to start diving, but I'm not all that excited about doing so.

Don't do it.

I'd like to try scuba diving, but I get horribly seasick.

Bonaire is supposed to have excellent shore diving.

What's your favorite dive destination?

British Columbia.

Really? Isn't the water cold? Isn't the diving in the Caribbean way better?

Yes, really. Yes, about 45 degrees. No, it's not.

Have you ever seen a shark? What do you do when you see a shark? Do you carry a big knife or one of those bang sticks to protect yourself from sharks?

Yes. Try very very hard not to scare it away. No, you watch too many movies.

How much time do you spend diving?

About 250 dive hours a year.

Gee, that's a lot of time. And you don't really have too many pictures to show for it.

Thanks for the reminder.

My friend/relative/coworker told me about this news story in which something happened to a scuba diver like getting sucked up by an air tanker and being dropped on a forest fire or having jellyfish pumped into his hot water suit thus badly stinging his nether regions. is an excellent resource for such questions.

What's a "Kawika" anyway?

"Kawika" is a Hawaiianized form of "David". It's a fairly common Hawaiian name and, in fact, was the name of the last Hawaiian king.

But, you don't look very Hawaiian.

I'm not. May dad went to Maui once. We can presume he had a good time.

Are you familiar with the below chant that relates to king Kawika's appeal for financial aid from England and France? Are you aware that he was refused and eventually died, heartbroken and disillusioned in your own home city of San Francisco?

Eia nö Kawika ea
O ka heke a`o nä pua

Ka uwila ma ka hikina ea
Mälamalama Hawai`i

Ku`i e ka lono Pelekani ea
Ho`olohe ke ku`ini `o Palani

Na wai e ka pua i luna ea
O Kapa`akea he makua

Ha`ina `ia mai ka puana ea
Kalani Käwika he inoa

Yes, I am.

Are you also aware that while you attended the Robert Louis Stevenson preparatory school, the real Robert Louis Stevenson and king Kawika knew each other? Isn't that spooky?

Yes. Sure is.

Ok, so how is "Kawika" pronounced?


Alright then, what's a "Chetron"

Oddly enough, it appears to be the Occitan word for "lemon"

Your site is OK, but it'd be really cool if you only added some particular nerd knob or some additional content of some form. Will you do this? Will you get offended at the mere suggestion that the site isn't perfect as it is?

Perhaps. No, it certainly doesn't hurt to suggest something.

Your site is technically very strange. It's a bazillion different static HTML pages. Why would you do this? You don't really maintain all those pages by hand do you?

The site's pages, with very few exceptions, are generated by a tool I wrote myself. There are a few reasons for this. First, I absolutely detest websites that take forever to load because of some stupid script that's run dynamicly. Second, I'm quite familiar with writing C, but incompetent at writing HTML. In fact, if you look at the site's source pages, you'll notice that they look like they were written by a five-year-old.

Is this tool something someone else could use? May I have a copy of it?

You'll need to have, at least, a passing knowledge of C to get any use out of it. It generates my website, not yours. Still, if you'd like to have a go, I'll send you a copy of the source.