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Discovering a Passion for Underwater Photography

When the excitement for diving and photography blur
By Brent Durand | Created On December 3, 2023
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Discovering a Passion for Underwater Photography

A reef packed with life captured off the coast of Sonoma County, California.

Brent Durand

Poll a group of divers and you’ll find that most dive with a purpose, adopting an interest that parallels their desire to log hours enveloped by the sea. New scuba divers are enthralled by floating weightless in an aquariumlike ocean and fascinated by their newfound ability to breathe below the surface. But this honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever, and when it fades, most divers seek additional training to explore dive sites differently. They earn advanced certifications, and may even pursue professional training. Those who don’t gravitate toward teaching will soon turn to other fun activities to do underwater.

As my diving career expanded beyond local night dives and barefoot weekend beach diving in Southern California, I found Channel Islands Dive Adventures. Their trips seemed to cater to divers like me, who were looking for a bit more than simply relaxing with the fish.

“I founded Channel Islands Dive Adventures in 2005 to create trips that appealed mostly to advanced divers or above,” explains Ken Kollwitz. “We cater to photographers, hunters, those interested in wrecks or rarely dived local sites and those who simply want to join a boat of other experienced divers.” These activities and interests keep divers engaged and motivated to make the next dive and plan the next trip as soon as possible.

Underwater photography has grown rapidly each year, and our tools are keeping pace. Today even the simplest cameras produce excellent photos and videos when used to their full potential. This creates a more rewarding photography experience.

Sure, there are frustrations throughout the learning process, but that’s normal. That part of the experience is attractive in its own way—like a backpacker tromping through rain one day and then experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime view the next.

Related Reading: The Best Underwater Cameras for Beginners

The barriers to entry in underwater photography have come down as well. Travel is easy, and most people already carry a powerful phone camera in their pocket, requiring only the purchase of an affordable housing to start shooting underwater photos and sharing them online.

Sven Harms, vice president of sales and marketing at SeaLife Cameras, has been at the front of this trend. “The SeaLife SportDiver housing is extremely popular, fitting nearly all iPhones and most Android phones. We find that experienced and newer divers love the simplicity of the system and how easy it is to take along on dives around the world. Plus, their photos and videos are already on their phone at the end of the dive, allowing them to edit and share right away.”

Related Reading: The Future of AI Editing and Underwater Photography

There is so much to keep a diver entertained with photography. Some divers strive to produce stunning images of unique moments in challenging conditions, build impressive marine life catalogs, or jet-set around the world for contest entries, and others are motivated to learn and attend photo workshops.

Every diver can participate in underwater photography and share their work online. If you’ve been thinking about trying photography, there’s no excuse not to try it on your next dive. It will keep you coming back for more.