Underwater Photographer Spotlight: Jason Sintek | Scuba Diving

Underwater Photographer Spotlight: Jason Sintek

freediving with humpback whales in Tonga

This photo of a humpback whale with freediver in Tonga won an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Scuba Diving magazine Through Your Lens photo contest.

Jason Sintek

Q: How long have you been a scuba diver/what’s your certification level?
A: I was certified in 2005, and now have an AOW certificate.

Q: How long have you been an underwater photographer and how did you get started?
A: I started photographing underwater pretty much right after I got certified. I've always had a keen interest in photography, but it wasn't until I met my now wife that the travel bug set in, and the drive to create unique photographs from exotic locations became my goal. I grew up in Hawaii and Alaska, and most of my life was spent in, on or around the water. Once I was introduced to scuba diving, underwater photography became a natural fit.

scuba diving with reef sharks in the bahamas

Lemon and reef sharks in the Bahamas.

Jason Sintek

Tell us about your camera setup.
Camera: Nikon D500
Housing: Aquatica
Lens: Nikon 10-24, Tokina 10-17, Nikon 60mm
Lights/Strobes: Ikelite DS-160 strobes

Q: Do you prefer to shoot on scuba or freediving?
A: I prefer scuba because of the time it allows you to be underwater. Although some of my favorite photos have come from freediving, it's a style I'm still working on. They both have their place depending on location and subject.

Q: What is your favorite photo-sharing platform?
A: I like checking out Instagram and its seemingly never ending supply of content. Also, the YourShot site hosted by National Geographic is a good place to post photos.

See more of Jason's photos here.

Q: What are your three favorite social media accounts to follow?
• Earthpix on Instagram
• Scuba Diving Magazine on Facebook
• Sharksavers on Facebook

Q: What hashtag best describes your underwater photography style?
A: #oceanminded

Q: What or who inspires you?
A: My inspiration really comes from the wildlife and nature itself. As divers, we're viewing places and events only seen by a small percentage of the population. Every time we go underwater we have the opportunity to see something new.

scuba diving with jacks in Cabo Pulmo

A diver swims through a swirling cloud of Big Eye Jacks in Cabo Pulmo, Mexico.

Jason Sintek

scuba diving with tiger sharks in the Bahamas

Buddy team gets a surprise visit from a tiger shark in the Bahamas. Jason also received an Honorable Mention for this photo in the 2014 Scuba Diving magazine Through Your Lens photo contest.

Jason Sintek

Q: What do you love most about your work?
A: Sometimes it's hard to describe to people what it's like being in the middle of a "heat run" where male Humpback whales are battling each other for the right to mate, or amongst sailfish hunting sardines at a breakneck pace inches from your body. But with a photograph, people can visualize the story being told, and that's when you can see the lights turn on in their eyes. By taking photographs of my experiences, hopefully I'll inspire someone else to get out there and see what's in the ocean and embrace it themselves.

Q: What's been the biggest challenge and /or most rewarding moment?
A: There are so many variables that can be challenging regarding underwater photography. A recent trip to Guadalupe comes to mind. Two years ago we booked a trip to see the Great Whites. Everything was great when we left our home in Washington state, but after a night in San Diego, and a bus ride down to Ensenada the next day we were told the trip was cancelled due to tropical storms hitting the island. We were sent home and two years passed before another spot was available to get back on the boat. Sometimes these photos can be years in the making before another chance comes around. But after years of waiting, the follow-up trip turned out to be one of the most rewarding!

Q: What was your favorite trip and why?
A: As previously mentioned, the Guadalupe trip ended up being a great success. On the same trip we added an extra week to our itinerary to explore the lower Baja. I like to refer to it as the Baja triangle. Great Whites at Guadalupe in the west, Jacks at Cabo Pulmo in the south, and La Paz Sea Lions and Mobula Rays in the east. Not your typical travel itinerary but the wide-angle photo ops were endless.

underwater photographer Jason Sintek diving with sharks in Bahamas

Lemon shark photo bomb in the Bahamas!

Emily Sintek

Q: Where do you most want to go?
A: South Africa for the Sardine run. It's been dubbed the "Greatest Shoal on Earth"... you just have to visit with a motto like that!

Q: Any advice for budding photographers?
A: Get comfortable with your gear and learn to master buoyancy. Research the location or subject as much as you can beforehand, the more you know the bigger the payoff once you hit the water.

Jason Sintek is currently based out of the Pacific Northwest (Washington State). He has placed with an Honorable Mention in the Wide Angle category of the Through Your Lens photo contest for two years in a row now. He is an ambitious explorer who is passions about photography and the underwater world. When not in the water, his focus is always on the next trip and photo-op.

More Photographers in the Spotlight
Rodney Bursiel | Vania Kam