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Dive Photo Guide


Top 10 Summer Underwater Photography Destinations
By DPG Editorial Staff, May 23, 2013 @ 06:00 AM (EST)


The weather may be getting warmer, but it’s underwater photography that really heats up in the summer. 

From the Galapagos to Indonesia and everywhere in between, summer brings in some of the best underwater photography opportunities of the year. And with the solstice right around the corner, DPG is bringing you the top hot spots this summer.

1. Guadalupe Island

As if there’s any time to dive this isolated Mexican speck of land in the Pacific Ocean other than in the late summer (and, perhaps, early fall)—that’s Great White Shark season. A bucket list for most underwater photographers (DPG is running their second expedition to Guadalupe this year), you too can go head to head with the ocean’s top predator (from the safety of the cage of course).

Solmar V runs 5 day trips to Guadalupe starting in August.

2. Komodo, Indonesia

This legendary dive destination comes to life in the summer months, where Indonesian liveaboards set their course to the land of the dragons. You find some of the most pristine coral reefs in the world, stunning macro and dozens of swooping mantas--basically Christmas in July for an underwater photographer.

There are a number of excellent liveaboards  that visit Komodo in the summer including:

3. South Africa

Relaxing summer getaway not your thing? Prefer being out on a boat in Africa's Wild Coast with millions of sardines and all the sharks, whales and dolphins you could photograph in a lifetime? Then you might want to skip the pool and head straight for South Africa for the annual sardine run. Every July, millions of sardines and hundreds of underwater photographers flock to the coast off South Africa for an underwater spectacle like any other.

African Watersports runs 7 or 11 land based trips out of Mboyki

4. Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Every summer, Isla Mujeres is home to one of the most amazing events in nature - the largest known whale shark aggregation in the world.  Hundreds of whale sharks, the world's largest fish,  gather to feed on tiny clear fish eggs on the surface of the Caribbean Sea.  

These gentle giants, which can reach over 40 feet in length, are filter feeders, and can be easily approached in the clear blue waters of Isla Mujeres. This creates what is almost definitely the best opportunity in the world to photograph one of the ocean's most beloved and amazing animals, and in numbers that must be seen to believed.

Dive Aventuras runs day trips from Puerto Aventuras.

5. Great Barrier Reef

When you think of photographing the Great Barrier Reef, a lot of things come to mind: pristine corals, giant potato cod, massive schools of fish. But you don’t necessarily think of Minke Whales, bus sized cetaceans that frequent these waters beginning in July.

Mike Ball Expeditions runs 3, 4 and 7 night trips with the Minke Whales starting in July.

6. Rhode Island 

Mako and blue sharks in one location, and just a few hours away from summer hot spots like Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.  The latest shark photo spot makes a summer appearance right off the coast of Rhode Island, where underwater photographers are treated to dozens of blue and mako sharks from June through September.  

Contact PelagicExpeditions@gmail.com for more info.

7. Galapagos

This wide-angle mecca only gets hotter when summer hits and the whale shark sightings increase. From July on, you are likely to have up-close encounters with these gentle giants—but of course even if you strike out, there are hundreds of hammerheads, silky and Galapagos sharks to fill your frame. 

The Galapagos Aggressor runs week long itineraries to the Galapagos Islands

8. Cayman Islands

Cayman’s Dive 365 program ensures that you could dive a different site every day during the year. But during the summer, when the swell settles down on the North side, you won’t want to go anywhere else. Cayman’s north wall features some of the more pristine coral in the Caribbean, swarming silversides and tarpon, and even the chance to see hammerhead sharks. 

DiveTech offers boat and shore dives throughout the year in the Cayman Islands.

9. San Diego, CA

Sure, you can dive San Diego almost any time of the year. But with water temps soaring into the low 60’s in the heat of the summer, you might just be able to break out of that dry suit and into a 7mm for some of the best photography in the Golden State. You can delight in “wreck alley,” a collection of six purposely-sunk wrecks, highlighted by the Yukon. There are also sea lions frolicking at Catalina Island and kelp forests to delight your summer macro needs. 

The best way to dive San Diego might be to charter a boat with some friends.  Contact local dive clubs to see when they are organizing trips.


10. Your Own Backyard

Not everyone is going to have the chance to travel or be lucky enough to dive these amazing destinations. But there’s still great summer underwater photography to be had in your backyard—whether it’s a pond, lake, quarry or swimming pool, your camera is happier in its housing. 


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