Awards + Books

5 Books for Underwater Photographers

5 Books for Underwater Photographers

Reviews by Denise Pietsch and Jean Rydberg

Looking for a new book? Check out our list of reads for divers and underwater photographers. Whether you're looking for a book to bring with you to the airport or to read during your surface intervals, there's something entertaining and informative in this reading list for everyone.


shadow divers robert kurson book

Shadow Divers | Non-fiction, WWII, Wreck Diving 

by Robert Kurson 

A must-read for all fans of wreck diving, WWII history, and being on the edge of your seat. By chance – and shrouded by much secrecy – a dive boat captain is introduced to a potential new dive spot by a fisherman. From there, Shadow Divers takes readers 230ft. underwater (a major feat before the regular use of trimix) in frigid North Atlantic temperatures to solve a mystery that consumed the hearts and minds of two passionate weekend divers and inevitably changed history books. This is a non-fiction novel that reads like fiction and can be enjoyed by dive enthusiasts and non-divers alike. Underwater videographers will appreciate the importance underwater footage played in helping solve this mystery.

Add it to your bookshelf: Local BookstorePenguin Random House


mountain in the sea ray nayler

The Mountain in the Sea | Fiction, Sci-Fi, Eco-Thriller

By Ray Nayler 

The Mountain in the Sea takes place on a remote archipelago where recreational divers have gone missing. Now, scientists - funded by a top-secret transnational tech company - are studying a hyperintelligent species of octopus. Will their studies help advance human and octopus communication or will they make a discovery that has irrevocable consequences? Add to this drama: the world’s first android, looming forces larger than the top-secret tech company, and a race against time. The Mountain in the Sea is an eco-thriller set in the not-too-distant future which asks readers to contemplate the nature of human, artificial, and animal intelligence. A page turner and a book you’ll likely want to read more than once.

Add it to your bookshelf: Local Bookstore | Macmillan


an immense world

An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us | Non-Fiction, Science, Aquatic Animals

By Ed Yong

Fans of Ed Yong’s book, I Contain Multitudes, will be excited to read An Immense World. Ed Yong has an innate gift for making complex ideas easy to understand and finding a way to make the most mundane things feel like magic.  An Immense World asks readers to imagine questions like, “what is it like to be a bat?” With senses that are completely foreign to humans, it’s both a scientific and philosophical question and one that may just deliver you to a state of awe. Divers and underwater photographers will appreciate Yong’s numerous references to aquatic creatures and their unique sensory systems. Besides these references being extensive and thought-provoking, they’re also a great way to learn more about the animals you’ll photograph underwater; making you better prepared for your next dive trip. I found myself sharing random animal factoids all the while appreciating the many distinct ways humans and animals experience the world, and I think you will too.

Fun, Fast, Fact: “The study of electric fish then became entwined with the study of electricity itself. These animals inspired the design of the first synthetic battery.”

Add it to your bookshelf: Local Bookstore | Penguin Random House 


big animal underwater photography josh blank

Big Animal Underwater Photography eBook | Non-Fiction, Underwater Photography, Instructional

By Josh Blank

Ikelite Newsletter readers will be familiar with Ambassador Josh Blank and his informative and insightful underwater photography articles. Now they can rejoice with his underwater photography eBook. In it, Josh shares everything you need to know to get award winning photos of big animals underwater. The eBook includes stunning underwater images and infographics to help you understand concepts like the Exposure Triangle, the Color Temperature Scale, how to aim your strobes, and much more. Covering everything from equipment to camera settings and composition tips, this book should be a go-to guide for your next dive trip. Bonus points that this is an eBook so you can reference everything you need right on your phone during your surface intervals.

Add it to your eBookshelf:


the deepest map

The Deepest Map: The High-Stakes Race to Chart the World’s Oceans | Non-Fiction, Science

By Laura Trethewey

You’ve probably heard that we know more about the surface of the Moon than we do about the ocean floor. As it turns out, that’s an understatement. Laura Tretheway take a deep dive into the real problem of mapping our underwater world. The story is built around the framework of the Seabed 2030 project which started in 2017 and has a goal of completing a comprehensive map by 2030. With only 20% of the surface mapped right now is that even possible? Will the maps be completed by drones or by crowd sourced?  Tretheway’s story comes alive with interesting tangents into the history of underwater cartography, the whims of billionaire explorers, underwater archaeologists discovering ancient civilizations, and more. The Deepest Map manages to bring humanity to the depths and explain technical concepts in a way that never feels dry.

Add it to your bookshelf: Local Bookstore | Harper Collins


Denise Pietsch Bio Photo

Denise Pietsch (pronounced “Peach”) currently manages Ikelite’s Photo School and social media presence. Denise hails from New Jersey, where she obtained a degree in Dance Therapy. After years teaching dance she migrated into the corporate world and eventually came around to Ikelite via the natural career path of fruit distribution and early childhood development. In the end, her lifelong love of photography and octopuses combined into the work she does now. In addition to sharing her energy and enthusiasm with the underwater community she also manages social media for her dog, Joe, collects vinyl records, and enjoys creating memories with her friends and family.


Jean Rydberg IkeliteJean Rydberg, daughter of Ike Brigham, became President & CEO of Ikelite in 2006. Prior to that, she wisely pursued a degree in Astronomy & Astrophysics to prepare herself for the challenges of running a technology-driven manufacturing business with global distribution. Jean fully embraces the need to travel outside of her hometown of Indianapolis to experience good diving. She believes that any camera is capable of amazing results in the right hands, and anyone can become a great photographer given the right advice. When she's not working she's spending time with her husband, cats, and two daughters (though not necessarily in that order).



Additional Reading

Book Review: 101 Tips for Underwater Photographers

Book Review: Big Animal Underwater Photography

Women's History Month Reading List for the Underwater Enthusiast 

Book Review: Into the Planet by Jill Heinerth

Our Favorite Underwater Photography Podcasts

Reading next

An Insider's Guide to Diving the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Beauty of Being Deaf: An Underwater Short Film About Disability Representation