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Dive Photo Guide


Photographer of the Week – Chris Nonell
By Matthew Sullivan, June 27, 2024 @ 06:00 AM (EST)

A small combtooth blenny peers out from its coral head hole, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

If ever there is a marine creature to immediately inspire a passion for marine life, it is the humble and adorable manatee. This is exactly the animal that instilled a love of the underwater world in DPG Photographer of the Week Chris Nonell. He was fortunate enough to snorkel with these fantastic beasts as a child in Crystal River, Florida.

Chris’ underwater adventures were only just beginning. In 2015, he received his Open Water and Advanced Open Water certifications in Nicaragua. From then on, he tailored all of his travels towards diving, gravitating towards the most pristine marine ecosystems the world has to offer. Naturally, this led him to Raja Ampat in Indonesia and then to the black sand muck of the Lembeh Strait. In 2019, Chris received his PADI Instructor certification and got a job teaching in Bangka, Indonesia. He got stuck at Bangka when the country shut down for COVID and was there for six months by himself. There are worse places to be! He was in the water all the time and able to shoot nearly every day. 

Chris credits attending last year’s Digital Shootout with turbocharging his skills, and he was very pleased to come away with the top prize in the “Point & Shoot” category of the workshop’s competition. Soon after, he upgraded to the Sony Alpha 9 and hasn't looked back! When he isn’t traveling to far-flung tropical destinations, Chris can be found photographing sunfish and trout in the local lakes and rivers around his home in northern California.

An emperor shrimp hitching a ride on a slug, Anilao, Philippines

Chris’ winning image of an arrow crab captured during the 2023 Digital Shootout in Little Cayman, Cayman Islands

Not a common color morph, a bright white hairy (but hairless) frogfish, Anilao, Philippines

A hawksbill turtle and a French angelfish look guiltily at the camera, Little Cayman, Cayman Islands

The fiercest looking cardinalfish, a tiger cardinalfish mouthbrooding eggs, Anilao, Philippines

A small hairy frogfish fishing with its lure, Anilao, Philippines

Not just a hairy shrimp, but a hairy shrimp carrying a clutch of eggs! Anilao, Philippines

This beautiful nudibranch getting the bubble bokeh treatment, Anilao, Philippines

A peacock mantis shrimp holding on tightly to its brightly colored eggs, Anilao, Philippines

A very pregnant pygmy seahorse, looking about ready to pop, Anilao, Philippines

A little midnight snack for this squid during a blackwater dive, Anilao, Philippines

A wonderfully adorned and adorable little nudibranch, Anilao, Philippines

An ever popular blackwater subject, a larval wonderpus, Anilao, Philippines

A California sea lion with a perfect sunburst off Catalina Island, California, USA

To see more of Chris’ work, please give him a follow on Instagram.


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