They say it’s not about the destination, but rather the journey. And what a year it was for awesome journeys captured through the lenses and keyboards of DPG contributors.
From exotic locales—chasing humpback whales in Tonga or mantas in Yap—to surprisingly local adventures—blue sharks in Rhode Island or waterfalls in upstate New York—we present DPG’s best travel stories of 2014 (in no particular order). Here’s to more frequent-flier miles, logged dives, and filled memory cards in the coming year!
Off the Map in Yap
Yap was put on the diving map for the flocks of manta rays that frequent the waters of this Micronesian island annually. But there’s so much more to this island than the “big birds.” Dive in to Vertigo, a jam-packed shark dive, where the sheer numbers of gray reef sharks blot out the sun. There are also dramatic walls, tunnels and shallow reefs to be explored. Topside, fill your surface intervals exploring WWII relics, authentic local villages and—of course—giant stone money. Read the full story.
Dozens of gray reef sharks circle DPG Editor Joe Tepper in Yap. Although best known for its manta rays, Yap's Vertigo site is perhaps the regions best shark photography dive.
It's not all about the big guys in Yap: Mating mandarinfish seal their dance with a “kiss” at dusk.
Cabo Pulmo: Diving’s Best Kept Secret
Underwater photography’s “secret spots” don’t stay clandestine all that long in today’s digital age. Join DPG Publisher Matt Weiss as he treks to a true unknown, a national marine park on the east coast of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula called Cabo Pulmo. Camping out under the stars for the chance to photograph enormous schooling jacks, eagle rays, and sea lions, this is a one-off road adventure worth sharing. Read the full story.
Massive schools of jacks await at the off-the-map destination of Cabo Pulmo.
DPG Publisher Matt Weiss swims alongside a (relatively) small school of jacks in Mexico.
Destination: Marshall Islands
Sticking with the category of off-the-map travel, photographer Brandi Mueller’s favorite destinations are often “the ones few people have ever heard of.” That’s probably the case for the Marshall Islands, a scattered archipelago of less than 70 square miles covering a swath of rich ocean the size of Texas. Brandi explores little-known WWII plane and ship wrecks and reefs teaming with life. Read the full story.
A split shot of a typical reef scene in the Marshall Islands by Brandi Mueller.
The Marshall Islands’ underwater scene is composed of dramatic walls, less familiar WWII wrecks and colorful macro photography opportunities.
The Wakatobi Way
When we travel for our underwater photography hobby, we always want to do so in the most sustainable, environmentally friendly way. After his memorable visit to Wakatobi, Imran Ahmad comes home not only with outstanding snaps of this Indonesian destination, but also an admiration for the resort’s commitment to preserving the underwater environment. Read the full story.
A freediver soars along a wall in Wakatobi, a resort as dedicated to preserving the pristine environment as helping photographers nab that top shot.
Photographer Imran Ahmad puts his unique spin on macro photography at the Wakatobi house reef.
The Blue Sharks of Rhode Island and the UK
You don’t need to travel far and wide to capture images of blue sharks—the latest hotspots are just hours outside London and New York City. In Rhode Island, DPG Editor Joe Tepper found a plethora of these blue dogs, along with mola mola, dolphins, humpback whales, and the elusive mako shark. Off the Cornwall Coast, Dan Norwood braved rough seas and cold water for the chance to see his first blue shark—and it was worth the wait. Read the full stories from Rhode Island and Cornwall, UK.
Want to swim with blue sharks? You might not have to travel as far as you think: Just a few hours outside NYC or London the “blue dogs” are waiting to be photographed.
Daniel Norwood’s first local diving in the waters of the UK is going to be hard to top—with his pick of beautiful blue sharks.
Alluring Anilao – Paragon of the Philippines
Pygmy seahorses. Blue-ringed and mimic octopuses. Countless rare nudibranchs. Think you know the location? It’s not Lembeh. Just a short ride from the capital city of Manila, Anilao is exploding on the map as a top macro destination. Contributor Dan Norwood was blown away by the biodiversity under the water and the passion of the local dive masters for finding new critters. Read the full story.
Coleman's shrimp in a fire urchin is just one of the many macro opportunities offered in Anilao
Falls in the Fall: The Waterfalls of Upstate New York
Join DPG Editor Joe Tepper on his weekend pet project of photographing split shots of upstate New York’s waterfalls set with brilliant autumn colors in the background. Just hours north of DPG headquarters in NYC, he finds hundred-plus-foot-tall waterfalls and stunning ravines, and braves cold rushing water and questionable trespassing to get the ultimate shot. Read the full story.
New York's Taughannock Falls towers 15 feet taller than mighty Niagra Falls.
Brrr. Joe Tepper hops into chilly river waters in upstate New York with the goal of capturing a split shot of a waterfall.
Chasin’ Tail in Tonga
DPG Photo Editor Lia Barrett spent the summer chasing tail in Tonga—whale tail that is. After catching the humpback whale bug from viewing countless up-close photo encounters with these behemoths, she couldn’t resist any longer and hopped on the plane for the jaunt to the South Pacific. Oh, and she managed a whale selfie too! Read the full story.
Breathtaking encounters with humpback whales await travelers to Tonga every summer.
DPG Photo Editor Lia Barrett couldn't help but take a whale “selfie.”
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