The 70,000-gallon kelp forest habitat at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, will become the setting for a photo shoot when photographer Wayne Martin Belger will dive to capture life under the sea with an underwater pinhole camera.
The event will take place at noon July 12 and 13. Belger will dive inside the kelp tank to photograph the ocean world as part of his forthcoming book “Deep Worlds,” a collection of his images demonstrating the artistry of North American aquariums.
The images taken inside Birch Aquarium’s kelp forest habitat and Belger’s pinhole camera also will be on display at Device Gallery in La Jolla from July 19 to Sept. 2.
Belger’s dives are open to the public and included with aquarium admission. He will wear a special communications mask inside the tank that allows him to field questions from the audience.
Pinhole cameras, which were invented in the 1850s, have no lens. They consist of a lightproof box, a four-by five-inch piece of film and an extremely small hole, typically the size of a pin. Light enters through the hole, forming an image on the film. Because of the pinhole’s size, there is infinite depth of field, making faraway objects appear as sharp as those captured from any distance. Pinhole photographs generally have a soft focus with darker areas at the edges – a style difficult to emulate with modern cameras.
Belger built his own underwater version of the camera in 2003. Named Yemaya after the Afro-Cuban goddess of the ocean, the camera is made from aluminum, brass, titanium and other materials. A quarter-inch acrylic pane covers the pinhole to block out water.
About Wayne Martin Belger
Belger is a Tucson-based artist who designs, fabricates and specializes in pinhole cameras. He is recognized for the unusual organic materials he uses to construct the devices, including human skulls, bones, organs and blood. His work has been featured in nearly two-dozen galleries on the West Coast. More information can be found on his Web site,
About Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Birch Aquarium at Scripps is the public exploration center for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the aquarium features more than 60 habitats of fish and invertebrates from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters of Mexico and the Caribbean. An interactive museum showcases research discoveries by Scripps scientists on climate, Earth and ocean science. The aquarium’s 70,000-gallon kelp forest tank represents local marine life off the coast of La Jolla and features three species of sharks, moray eels, barracuda, giant sea bass and other animals.
Visit Birch Aquarium at Scripps
2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, Calif.
Phone: (858) 534-FISH
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
$11: Adult, 18+
$9: Senior, 60+
$7.50: Youth, 3-17
Free: Children, 2 and under
Free : Scripps Oceanographic Society Members
Parking: Birch Aquarium offers three-hour courtesy parking