As an ambassador for the Inland Ocean Coalition, one of my goals is to complete my "passion project" of diving all 50 states and coordinating cleanup events along the way. Whether diving in a lake, reservoir or quarry, I want to bring awareness to the trash that clutters our environment upstream in addition to the coastal shorelines. About 60% of the US population doesn't live near the coast where cleanup efforts are more prominent. The trash challenge begins upstream, and so can the catalyst for making change! This really goes beyond just cleanup efforts as we can all help educate our inland communities and increase awareness of a sustainable and zero-waste conscious lifestyle. I'll be reaching out to the local communities and divers to join me in these cleanup efforts, so stay tuned! I'll be diving, photographing and writing about these efforts across all 50 states. Please join me as I venture through your home state and become part of the solution with me.
Photo Courtesy of Fel Santos www.felsantos.com
In the summer of 2014 I took a "Discover SCUBA" class at a pool while in San Diego, CA. I am thankful everyday for that opportunity - it became a pivotal moment of life. When I returned home, my soon-to-be dive buddy sponsored me so I could take my Open Water certification through Fort Lewis Scuba on JBLM. As it turned out bungee jumping was a much easier feat for me that summer! I grew up a swimmer and considered myself a fish out of water, how could scuba diving be hard? The in-water tasks were more difficult than I imagined and everything I was learning was so I wouldn't die!! What the heck did I get myself into? I worked hard trying to figure out how to clear that darn mask without drinking and snorting a ton of water and then worked my mind even harder to prevent 14 mm of neoprene from choking me into a panic! With great instruction, a major pep-talk, and a super patient buddy, I pulled through successfully!
And then, I was hooked... and styl'n purple! At first I just wanted to learn more so I took some additional training and achieved my Master Diver status. Then I decided I wanted to encourage others to get into this amazing sport and became a Dive Master where I could help other struggling students. Now, I'm an assistant instructor... and just waiting for the right time to finish my instructor certification... it's mostly a scheduling thing! I now officially acknowledge this as an addiction!
Having always been a swimmer I struggled with the constant urge to use my hands while diving. I decided I needed to do something productive to keep them busy so I bought a waterproof case for my iPhone and started taking photos of what I was seeing and sharing them with family and friends. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the photos and always commented on how surprised they were to see so much color under our dark Pacific Northwest waters. My creative juices started flowing and after flooding a couple of phones (yes, user error) it was time to make a real camera purchase! My first purchase was an Olympus TG-4 with an underwater housing (and I could accidently flood it without ruining it). Realizing how many friends and family would never have the opportunity to dive, I began sharing more photos and with some encouragement from a co-worker I ventured into Instagram. While the TG-4 was great for macro, I wanted to get more artistic and grow as a photographer. I started to feel like the point and shoot was limiting me. In June of 2018, after about a year of looking and researching my options, I broke the bank and purchased an Olympus mirrorless system; the OM-D E-M1 Markii, a Nauticam housing and Sea & Sea YS-D2 strobes. The name of the camera alone should have scared me but now I had to figure out what the hell an F-stop was and for all I knew ISO was a mattress or political organization! I've had one heck of a steep learning curve (which you will see) as I refused to use the auto-mode and worked my way from aperture priority to manual (after some strobe sync issues and help from my trusted mentors). If that wasn't enough, lets try Lightroom, and why not snooting while everything is still a cluster!?!? I have no regrets! I'll keep diving, keep trying new photographic technique, new shots (and maybe some wine if that doesn't do it) and just keep loving life! After all... it's all about the journey!
I started this website to share more photos with my family and friends. I also wanted to try blogging a bit about my dive travels and photography. I’d be honored to have you join me in my adventures as I travel the U.S. in my tiny teardrop. Dive in by following along as I create a splash and eventually help cleanup sites in all 50 states!
Follow me.... Create a Splash & Dive In!
I take only pictures and leave only bubbles. Let's leave each site better than we found it!