NEWS: At Craftsmiths!


Jewelry Outlet Announcement announces the Ocean Sands line of Jewelry is now available through CraftSmiths in Perry, Ohio. Artist Tom Szabo turns his hobbies into business opportunities. In addition, the photographer and scuba instructor has added jewelry to his portfolio of businesses.

Most noteworthy, pre-historic materials are the basis for Ocean Sands jewelry. These materials are pre-historic shark teeth, manatee and whale bone along with others. Because Tom is a scuba diver all of these materials Tom finds himself. While in his studio, he cuts, grinds, polishes and mounts his specimens to make unique jewelry creations.

So, CraftSmiths now has Ocean Sands necklaces, ankle bracelets and ear rings on display and available for purchase. While CraftSmiths is located at 3708 S. Ridge Rd., Perry OH, 4408, more information is available at


Four piece fossil necklace designed and crafted fy Tom Szabo.


Health Or Scuba – Which Came First?

Health is certainly an issue in scuba diving. As a scuba instructor, I’ve heard people claim they’re too old for the sport. I say you’re never too old. Yes you need to be healthy, but isn’t that important for life in general?

So what to do? First, assess your general overall health. Not strength but fitness and health. This has to do with the mental and physical aspects of the sport. Any scuba training requires the completion of a medical statement. This is a good opportuntity to evaluate yourself. Should you have a “Yes” answer to any question on the questionnaire, you need your physician to sign off on that issue. This is a good time to discuss your physical condition with your doctor. Let him any questions you have and help you understand the requirements of scuba diving.

In order to be successful in your training, you want to have a high level of comfort with your instructor or the dive center you’re using. Take your concerns to them, to better understand the sport and why certain physical or medical conditions are important and how to address them.

To give you some sense of diving and age, check out this article. It’s about Ray Wooley. He recently completed his personal challenge to complete 29 dives. Why 29? The number is the reverse of his age. Yes, Ray completed his challenge at 92 years of age. Now you really have to read the article don’t you!

MAST diver

Sun – For One Light Portraits

Sun: A very interesting portrait video came across my feed today. I wanted to share it with you.

First of all most Facebook photography I see has one thing in common – Bad Lighting! Please stop and think for a minute; where does your outdoor light come from? Of course the sun. So that means you have a single source for your photos. In this video photographer Aaron Anderson talks about shooting portraits using – guess what: 1 light. Think of his one light as the sun. I know, what a concept – LOL.

In the video you’re going to see a lot of studio equipment. Yes, but pay attention to the main tools he uses, a strobe, a camera and a reflector. That’s it. What Aaron does do however is CONTROL the illumination. Don’t have a big DSLR? no problem use your cell phone camera. Remember his main light placement and position your subject using the sun in the same relative position. Oh you don’t have a white reflector card? How about the side of a building, a newspaper, a blanket. Look at what’s at hand that you can use.

You may not have Photoshop to make the post process editing. Don’t worry, you’re not a pro trying to sell your work. Paying attention to your subject position will get you better results than what you have been doing.

Watch the video and pay attention to what Aaron is doing with his 1 light (like the sun). Enjoy and feel free to post your thoughts and/or results. I’d like to see your results.


Portrait photography

Relaxed portrait pose for a high school senior.

Earrings – Shark Teeth & Turquoise


Fossilized Shark Tooth Pierced Earrings.

Fossilized Shark Tooth Pierced Earrings. Total shark tooth weight of 2.6 gms. with 8mm diameter Turquoise beads and silver wire. Price: $59.50 + tax.

Fossilized Shark Teeth Pierced Earrings are here! They delicately suspend 2.6 grams total weight shark teeth dating back as far as 25 million years ago. Tom Szabo finds shark teeth, whale bone, manatee bone and other fossilized bone and teeth while diving in the Gulf Of Mexico off the coast of Florida. He is a jeweler, photographer and scuba instructor.

An 8mm Turquoise bead compliments the charcoal colored teeth and silver plated wire. Tom designed and made this set by hand. Treat yourself or that special someone in your life with jewelry that are one-of-a-find. Because of the rarity of these shark teeth, there can never be a duplicate set. Another pair might be similar, but they will not be identical.

This pair can be yours for $59.50 plus handling and shipping. You can learn more by exploring the web site at: Contact Tom directly for other jewelry items and custom pieces.

Your Rights – Public Photography

Your Rights

Often photographers will ask about their right to photograph people in public? Do I need a release? Let’s start by asking where are you? Legal rights vary from country to country. They may even vary from state to state or city to city. With technology being what it is today, you might start out on Google. Some countries may say OK, but some cultures there may say NO!

Generally here in the states, I will compare my situation that of a photo-journalist. What do they do relative to photographing in public? Often, they will record names and location to identify the subject in print. You don’t see the photographer asking someone in public to sign a release. The time spent getting their subject’s name allows time to discuss usage and any problems publishing the photograph. This may not necessarily address any legal issues, but it sure gives the subject the right to ask not to have their image published. You might also use this time to offer to send a print as a “thank you”.

Here in northeast Ohio, we have a big event coming to town, the Republican National Convention. There will be a lot of people here in town, offering lots of photo opportunities. You may even spot some celebrities. With that in mind, you might want to learn more about your rights and the subjects rights. A panel discussion is being put on by the National Press Photographer Association (NPPA) at Cleveland State University. You will need to register for this free event.

Musician playing banjo on stage.

Workin’ a bad banjo!

Photographing Flowers – Easy?

Photographing Flowers!

In a recent article by Hana Tavener for I-News – The Essential Daily Briefing, she listed five suggestions to help you photograph flowers.

1 – Get Close

2 – Focus/Depth of Field

3 – The Whole Wide World (or field of view)

4 – Timed To Perfection (Time lapse)

5 – Vary Your Conditions

You can learn more by reading the entire article.

Let me suggest that you look over the 5 topics listed above. Do you see anything that says walk up to a flower and push the button? Of course not. To create good photography, you need to to use the gray matter between your ears – your BRAIN. Learning a little about photography also helps. That means reading to learn about your camera, exposure, composition and of course shoot and shoot and shoot some more. You can’t create art by buying the most expensive camera and simply point it at a subject.

First of all let’s get down to basics – your smart phone is NOT smart! You are a “Human” with the power to learn and think. That also means applying what you’re thinking and learning. So by all means, read. Then go out and apply what you read by shooting. That’s how you become a better photographer (vs. a “pitcher-taker”).

In addition, search for well known photographers. read what they write and study their work. It really helps. Good luck and keep shooting.

purple cone flower

Purple Cone Flower shot in author’s back yard.

Underwater Archeology Site


Diving archeologists have been working on a site in a Florida river. The results are helping to dispute that the Clovis group were the first humans to be in the area. The sire has exposed an ancient butchering site for Mastodons. To learn more, read on……

If your interested in underwater archeology, please check out the Maritime Archeological Survey Team (MAST). The group provide basic and advanced classes in underwater archeology. Specifically related to shipwrecks. Or contact Tom Szabo via this site’s Contact page.

MAST diver

A diver records details for a MAST underwater archeology class.

Photography As Therapy!

Therapy – Ahhhhhh.

Photography as therapy?

Ask any photographer and they’ll tell you they started out as a “pitcher-taker”. After all the gear, classes, workshops and pulls of the shutter, they’ll tell you how now they now spend more time concentrating on creating their art. In fact, they may tell you how therapeutic their art is for them. You can’t worry about things in your life when you’re concentrating on creating something.

Chris Gambat explores this concept in his article: Photography as a Form of Personal Therapy. Give it a read. If you start to use photography to relax, maybe you’ll notice your work becoming creative art. That’s not a bad thing!

Anchor Winch

Anchor winch from 19th century vessel in 27 feet of water.

Pin Hole Camera – Make Your Own

Pin Hole Camera – Make Your Own

Pin Hole Camera? What’s that you ask? This is the most simple form of film photography you’ll find. It’s a great way to make your own camera and learn more about photography. If you have kids, they’ll be intrigued also. Remember film is light sensitive, so you have to devise a way to protect your film for handling. Also, film needs to be developed, so you may want to learn how that works also.

This article came through my inbox. It has some photos of other pin hole cameras and “How-Tos”. These are great for black and white film. If you have any questions or want more information, feel free to email, text or call me. Enjoy the read!, tom szabo, jeweler, photographer, scuba instructor

Scuba Diving In Key Largo, FL

Scuba Diving In Key Largo, FL

Scuba Diving In Key Largo, FL

In March of 2016, my wife Diane and I vacationed in Florida. What a great time to leave NE Ohio!

Out With The Old!

As a photographer, it’s important to use updated camera gear. So when it came time to consider updating my main studio camera body, I was faced with what to do with my camera and housing for my underwater photography? The plan was to upgrade my main camera body to a Canon 70D. My older Canon T3i would become my back up body. Problem: The T3i would not fit my current Ikelite Housing, urgh! I called my good friend and Ikelite rep, Dave Haas (Haas Images).

Dave’s suggestion: Sell both camera bodies (T3i & Xsi) and the Ikelite Housing. Then purchase the Canon 70D, Canon SL1 DSLRs and the housing for the Canon SL1. After evaluating the economics of all this, I made the decision to move forward. In addition, this needed to be done for my trip to Florida. This would be a good chance to try the equipment while diving.

Canon T3i DSLR camera body.

Canon T3i DSLR camera body.


Canon XSi DSLR Camera body.

Ikelite camera housing

Ikelite underwater housing for a Canon XSi DSLR camera body.







Problems With Poor Viz!

After arriving in Florida, the first dives were to search for more fossil material for my jewelry line. Diving off Venice, FL means diving the gulf side of Florida. As a result the water temperature was around 66 to 69 degrees and visibility ranged from 1 to 3 feet. Certainly do-able for fossil hunting. Not so great for photography.

After checking out of Siesta Key, we made the drive to Key Largo, FL. Diving conditions improved. Water temps were around 74 to 76 degrees and visibility ran 40 to 60 feet. After getting the new Canon SL1 set up in the housing, a trip to the pool was in order for some testing. Later, it was off to the dive boat. I only had time for 2 days of diving, so photography time was premium. You can see the results by checking out my images from Key Largo.

Anchor Winch

Anchor winch from 19th century vessel in 27 feet of water.

Your comments are welcomed!