Yellow Coney, Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands. This guy was hanging out in a solitary coral head on a sand flat. Looking at him through the viewfinder he looked to me to be such a sad little fish which I think I captured perfectly. Photo © 2020 David Stealey
I've been diving since 1991. In 1994 I made my first ocean dive, a shore dive at Lauderdale by the Sea in Florida. This was not a beautiful coral reef bustling with marine life but rather a bottom littered with coral rubble. At first I was disappointed with the view and most of all the lack of life, or so I thought. The first marine animal I saw was a Bristle Worm. I stopped and watched it few a few moments and then I began to see how alive the bottom was. I spent the rest of the dive engrossed and amazed at the variety and diversity of life on that barren bottom, I was hooked!!
Pink Anemone Fish, Dumaguete, Philippines. Clownfish are among my favorite fish to photograph. They're a challenge to photograph because of their constant motion. Luckily I was able to capture this one facing and looking at the camera for a good portrait shot. Photo © 2020 David Stealey
Since that ocean first dive in '94, I went on to become a SCUBA Instructor. My wife Mary and I opened our Hagerstown, Maryland dive shop, Blue Marble Divers, in 2000. Together, Mary and I, have been fortunate enough to dive up and down the east coast from Maine to Florida, around the entire Caribbean Basin, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Fiji, Palau, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia.
Secretary Blenny and Christmas Tree worm, Cayman Brac. What drew me to take this shot was the diversity of marine life and colors in an area less than 6 inches square. The position of Christmas Tree Worm reminds me of an umbrella providing overhead cover for the blenny. Photo © 2020 David Stealey
In 2006 I purchased my first Nikon digital camera and housing. Since that D70 I've used the D70S, D300, D300S and now a D500, all in Ikelite housings. For lighting I rely on dual DS160 Ikelite strobes and Ikelite's TTL circuitry for correct exposure.
Yellow Fang Blenny, House Reef, Beqa Lagoon Resort, Fiji. As I was swimming along the reef I saw this guy dart into a hole in the coral. His bright yellow colorization against the pinkish coral made for a pleasing contrast that would make him stand out. Little did I know until after developing the photo did I see he was smiling for the camera. His expression reminds me of Cecil from the Beany and Cecil cartoon show of my youth. Photo © 2020 David Stealey
With my photography I try to capture an image that creates a personal and emotional connection between the viewer and subject. Here are a few of my favorite photographs. I hope you feel the same connection I felt when making them.
Golden Tail Morey Eel, Curaçao. This shot was made on a sunrise dive. Golden Tails are smallish benign looking eels. This photo depicts a different , more fearsome looking, side of the Golden Tail. Photo © 2020 David Stealey
Ornate Ghost Pipefish, Dumaguete, Philippines. Most photographs I've seen and taken of Ghost Pipefish are static shots of them hanging vertically in the water column. With this shot there is a sense of movement or action with the position of its tail, which is what I wanted to capture. Photo © 2020 David Stealey
Spotted Sweetlips, Tubbataha Reef, Philippines. These two spotted me at about the same time as I saw them. As I moved closer in their direction they moved closer to me. When we got three or so feet away from each other we just hovered and had a staring contest checking each other out. I had one chance only to take a photo because with the flash of the strobes they were off like a shot. Photo © 2020 David Stealey
Unidentified Fish, Cozumel, Mexico. In the years since I've made this photo I have been unable to identify it. What drew to make this picture was the contrast of colors between the fish and the anemone arms which give sense of scale and size. Photo © 2020 David Stealey
"Deep Diver" David Stealey has been a Scuba Instructor for over 140 years and has certified over 10,000 divers of all ages and levels. Okay, maybe those stats are a little skewed, but they're not that far off the mark. After discovering the amazement and excitement brought forth from being able to breath underwater, Dave was hooked. He started traveling about the country in his beat-up Volkswagen van playing guitar in smoke filled bars trying to earn enough money to continue with his diving lessons. Seriously, Dave loves to share his passion for the underwater world. After over 25 years teaching his greatest joy is the look on peoples faces once they take their first breath underwater. His diving adventures have taken him around the world, from the Caribbean to the far east. Dave is an accomplished underwater photographer having won several honorable mentions in photographic competitions and his work has been published in magazines and books. Visit Blue Marble Divers online...