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Dive Photo Guide


Photographer of the Week – Matthew Perez
By Matthew Sullivan, May 30, 2024 @ 06:00 AM (EST)

A zombified Chinook salmon nearing the end of its run, California, USA. This image was awarded in the Underwater Photographer of the Year competition

Sometimes you look at a portfolio and assume that a photographer has been “doing their thing” for a long while. Not so this week! Matthew Perez is a recent newcomer to the underwater photography world, only seriously diving in within the last two years. First and foremost a reptile and amphibian photographer, Matt began photographing those two genres underwater before evolving into an all-around underwater shooter. His first subjects were newts and turtles before progressing to salmon, sharks, and weird and wacky macro life.

As a resident of California, Matt lives in a location rich in underwater photographic opportunities. From the chilly, nutrient-rich waters of Monterey Bay, to the frigid and fast-flowing mountain rivers that harbor massive salmon runs, to cattle and retention ponds, home to colorful and very toxic salamanders, California has no shortage of aquatic subjects with which to get familiar.

Scuba certified just recently in 2024, Matt traveled to Florida specifically to dive the world-famous Blue Heron Bridge and experience firsthand the stunning array of wonderful critters that call the waters around the Bridge home. He now proclaims to be a not-so-low-key batfish and frogfish fanatic and you'll see images of both in his portfolio. If Matt's work is anything to go by, years of experience and talent with a camera are not always correlated.

Backlight striated (or hairy) frogfish at the famed Blue Heron Bridge, Florida, USA

A common octopus watches the photographer from the mouth of its burrow, Florida, USA

Eastern painted turtles are a common denizen of ponds in the northeastern United States, Massachusetts, USA

The smaller, landlocked cousin of the sockeye salmon is the kokanee, California, USA

An unfortunate mojarra that wandered too close to the enticing lure of this striated frogfish and met a grisly (albeit lightningly quick) end, Florida, USA

Kokanee salmon gather in a shallow river for spawning activity, California, USA

An enigmatic fish, the polkadot batfish, standing tall on its feet-like fins, Florida, USA

A chaotic mating ball of toxic red-bellied newts, California, USA

Perhaps the first high-quality underwater image of a white-lipped mud turtle in the wild, Colombia

A red-bellied newt clambers over a rock, covered with the next generation, California, USA

Among the most snake-like of all eels is the sharptail eel; this one is hunting a shallow rubble bed, Florida, USA

Red-bellied newts actively laying clumps of eggs on a submerged tree branch, California, USA

Up close and personal with a zombified Chinook salmon’s gnarly mug, California, USA

A rare and wonderful denizen of rubble patches where it blends in like a ghost, the roughback batfish, Florida, USA

To see more of Matt’s underwater and topside wildlife work, please follow him on Instagram and visit his website, www.matthewperezphotography.com.


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