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Dive Photo Guide
Mark Stickland


United States
Years Shooting:Edit




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Mark Strickland's life-long interest in the sea has included over 10,000 dives and careers as a lifeguard, boat captain and scuba instructor. His passion for underwater photography has led him to many top dive destinations, including Thailand, where he spent 17 years as Cruise Director / Photo-Pro on a series of live-aboard vessels operated by Fantasea Divers, including the state-of-the-art Ocean Rover. While he still dives whenever possible, Mark now spends most of his time with his wife and son in California. An avid marine naturalist, Mark has discovered several nudibranch species, including one that is named for his wife Suzanne, Reticulidia suzanneae, and his own namesake, Halgerda stricklandi. Mark's photos and articles have appeared in dozens of magazines and books around the world, including BBC Wildlife, Geo, National Geographic World, Natural History, Nature's Best, Outside, and most major dive magazines. Mark is also co-author and primary photographer of Lonely Planet's award-winning title, "Diving and Snorkeling Thailand". Currently, he is working on a large-format pictorial book that will feature his best images from the last two decades. In addition to representation by several stock photo agencies, Mark operates his own photo library, Oceanic Impressions, www.oceanic-impressions.com

What I look for in a Dive Operator:
Experience and local knowledge are among my top concerns when choosing a dive operator. Running any kind of dive operation is a complex undertaking, especially in remote locales where supplies tend to be unreliable and repairs must often be improvised. Local political and cultural considerations can create additional difficulties. All these factors can be challenging even for the most seasoned operators, but experience is clearly a big advantage. Another critical aspect is knowledge of the local marine environment, an absolute necessity for planning safe and enjoyable dive excursions. As a photographer, I'm also very interested in the dive guides' knowledge of particular sites and creatures, which often makes all the difference between a successful shoot and wasted effort. Other high priorities for me include photo-friendly facilities. Whether land-based or live-aboard, I look for extra-large, dedicated camera rinse tanks with good quality fresh water that's changed frequently, well lighted work areas, and staff who are careful and knowledgeable in camera handling. A well-stocked marine life library is also very welcome. Of course there are other important aspects to look for from a general diving standpoint, reliable boats, clean tank fills, and a helpful, safety-conscious attitude. All these considerations take priority over luxury in my book, but there is one creature comfort I have trouble doing without: hot water showers!

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