From under the sea to outer space

Dave Conner with an underwater camera.

My first snorkeling experience was in a cove in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii. Awed by the absolute beauty of the brilliantly colored fish and coral and enthralled by a huge turtle swimming ahead of me, I lost all common sense and swam farther and farther out to sea following the turtle and searching for new and more colorful marine life.
My husband, aware of my limits as a swimmer and fearing for my safety, convinced me to abandon my adventure and coaxed me back to shore. The beauty under the sea will always be etched in my memory.
Walking through the current exhibit at the Gilroy Interim Center for the Arts, H2Ography – Undersea Images by Dave Conner, I was again struck by the beauty of the under sea world. The exhibit features 52 images of marine life captured by the photographer, a dive professional and ambassador for the sport of diving. The images and brilliant colors of his photos are stunning.
Not surprising, my favorite photo was of a turtle shot in open water. Conners considers getting this shot one of his most rewarding moments after swimming as hard as he could to get in position while the turtle effortlessly glided along. I can relate to the swimming, but maneuvering the huge underwater camera apparatus that is displayed in the exhibit is unimaginable!
Conners, an Army brat, was born in El Paso, Texas, and lived in many places before his dad retired and the family settled in Sunnyvale. Like his dad, he is a West Pointer and currently works as a software engineer at Hewlett-Packard.
A twice-a-week golfer, he also wanted to try diving and 11 years ago finally “dove in.” He credits his divemaster, local Realtor Susie Haddock, and her husband Brad for incredible instruction. Upon surfacing after that first dive he looked at Brad and said, “This is it. I’m doing this.” That moment changed his life. Golf is now a thing of the past.
The art of photography has given Conners, a musician for nearly 40 years, another artistic outlet for his right brain. He confesses, “The experience has been fantastic. Trying to keep the ego in check, while at the same time hoping people will like, love or appreciate my work is a balancing act.”
Passionate about his art, he would like people who visit the exhibit to walk away with some education on the beauty of what lies beneath the surface of the sea.
“Most don’t realize how incredible it is just right here off shore in Cannery Row or Carmel,” he said. “It’s an amazing, other worldly landscape … right here at home.”
Although he tries not to set his expectations too high, Conner would love to replace his current income by selling his photos. Ideally, he would like to travel the world, learning to become a better photographer. For Connors, “It’s a journey which will never end.”
The exhibit, on display until the end of July, was staged by Morgan Hill designer Bill Tindall, of Brotin Designs. Graciously donating his labor and materials, Tindall has created a gallery where visitors can sit, relax and enjoy the magical under sea world. I hope you will visit.
Currently on display at City Hall is Astophotography, a photo exhibit by Gilroyan Joe Kline. Kline has been interested in astronomy for more than 50 years and has created his own backyard observatory. With an 8” Scmidt-Cassegrain telescope and a 35mm film camera, Kline learned the art/science of astophotography in the ’80s. More recently he obtained an 11” Scmidt-Cassegrain computer-controlled telescope and is now utilizing digital photography and photo editing software to obtain the images on display.
Some of the objects in Kline’s photos are not visible to the naked eye and can only be seen with a telescope or in photos. I was intrigued by photos of airplanes in front of the moon, which require planning, split-second timing and luck. Among other unique pictures are a photo of the total lunar eclipse of Dec. 20, 2010 and the rare partial solar eclipse of May 20, 2012 – all taken from Kline’s back yard.
Be sure to stop by City Hall, 7351 Rosanna St., Gilroy, to view this photo exhibit.

H2Ography, Undersea Images from Around the Globe
June 23 – July 31
7341 Monterey St., Gilroy
Open Sundays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.
Details: (408) 842-6999
Arostocat Kids
July 13, 14, 15*, 20, 21, 22
Friday & Saturday at 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.
South Valley Middle School cafeteria/multi-purpose room, 386 IOOF Ave., Gilroy
Details: (408) 848-0449
*Performance designated for families with special needs
‘Run For Your Wife’
June 29 through July 21
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 for “bring your own dinner”; Matinees July 8 and 15 at 2 p.m. Doors open at 12:30 for “bring your own brunch”
Gilroy Interim Center for the Arts, 7341 Monterey St., Gilroy
Details: www.LimelightActors
Fifth Street Live
Fifth Street between Monterey and Eigleberry
Friday Nights through Aug. 31, 7 – 9 p.m. (No music July 27)
‘Beauty and the Beast, Jr.’
Performances July 13 and 14
Details: (408) 612-2057 or

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