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Dive Photo Guide


Photographer of the Week – Eli Wolpin
By Matthew Sullivan, October 26, 2023 @ 08:00 AM (EST)

A diver exploring a beautiful cloud sponge cluster deep on a wall, Whytecliff, Canada

This week we are featuring a hardcore coldwater-er, Eli Wolpin. Eli first started diving back in 2009. His good friend’s girlfriend had just returned from Hawaii and he told him that she had convinced him to take a scuba course. Eli had no good reason not to, so decided to join him and was instantly hooked! Before he knew it, Eli was finding any reason to go diving. People began to ask him what he was seeing beneath the surface and he found it difficult to answer adequately. He bought a basic point-and-shoot camera and began making undewater pictures. Eli gradually expanded his lighting to include a variety of strobes, remote strobes, snoots, and blue light. As many of us can relate to, as his photography expanded, so did his thirst to see and document more and more. He expanded his training into technical diving and cave diving to document deep and remote life.

Eli has always used photography as a means to show others the beauty of what lies beneath the water surface. As people learn and understand, they have a greater appreciation and seek to protect what is there. His work has been exhibited across Canada in museums and exhibitions related to conservation and environmental restoration, and Eli has been participating in local conservation studies led by the Artificial Reef Society (Annapolis Biodiversity Index Study) documenting the development of life on our local purpose-sunk reefs. He also contributed images to scientific papers centering on conservation of species as well as karst conservation. Over the years, Eli has been running a large-scale mapping project focused on one of his local marine protected areas: Whytecliff MPA. He uses a combination of survey and photographic work to map underwater in high detail.

When taking photographs, Eli is always looking for different perspectives. He likes to use lighting to highlight the subject and to try to tell a story. Coldwater diving and photography isn’t for everyone, but Eli likes the challenge of cold water diving, as it requires a lot of focus. His dives are often multi-hour and solo, and he will spend up to an hour with one subject, adjusting lighting or waiting and watching for interesting behavior.

A small isopod riding a discarded leaf in blackwater, Whytecliff, Canada

A decorated warbonnet sheltering in a cloud sponge, British Columbia, Canada

A diver exploring a schute at Wet Dream Cave, Vancouver Island, Canada

A wolf eel looming out of the darkness on a deep dive off Vancouver Island, Canada

A young free-swimming lumpfish photographed hovering near a buoy line, Nova Scotia, Canada

The Wet Dream Cave, a very technical dive off Vancouver Island, Canada

A diver exploring the wheelhouse of the HMS Saskatchewan off the coast of Nanaimo, Vancouver, Canada

A mosshead staring out from the mouth of a glass bottle, God’s Pocket Resort, Canada

A nudibranch crawling amongst the mountainous growths on a sea cucumber, Whytecliff, Canada

A male scalyhead sculpin peering out of its home, Whytecliff, Canada

A brightly colored searaven doing a poor job of camouflaging off Nova Scotia, Canada

A sea spider photographed under psychedelic lighting, Whytecliff, Canada

A beautifully colored grunt sculpin photographed amongst sea cucumbers, British Columbia, Canada

To see more of Eli’s phenomenal coldwater work, follow him on Instagram or check out his Facebook photography page. Learn more about the The Whytecliff Project here.


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