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Dive Photo Guide


Photographer of the Week – Matthew Sullivan
By Daniel Norwood, June 19, 2020 @ 06:00 AM (EST)

Pink salmon heading upstream to breeding grounds, British Columbia, Canada

This week we are pleased to present a refreshingly different portfolio from New Jersey based wildlife photographer Mathew Sullivan. Matt has been diving since he was 10 years old and has been carrying a camera around ever since. When not taking pictures underwater, he can be found trekking mountains, or exploring national parks and rainforests in search of new adventures and wildlife encounters, where he experiments with nature and landscape photography with stunning results.

Like many experienced underwater photographers, Matt has traveled extensively and has visited famous destinations such as Guadalupe Island, Indonesia and the Philippines, but he also likes to dive closer to home in the Pacific Northwest, as it often overlooked and easier to access, especially now in these times of uncertainty and restricted international travel. Apart from a couple of excellent shark shots and a nice hairy frogfish portrait, the rest of Matt’s portfolio features marine life that is far less common, including wolf eels, salamanders, and the brilliantly named eastern hellbender—and is particularly interesting as a result.

Given the choice, he prefers to photograph wide-angle scenes and subjects, and he regularly carries his rig into lakes and forests to shoot freshwater subjects. His favorite experience to date was photographing a salmon run while surrounded by other predators also trying to take advantage of this natural spawning event. With thousands of pink salmon below and eagles and bears hunting above, it certainly sounds like an adventure any photographer would be thrilled to experience, but few have considered, so kudos to Matt for doing something different and capturing some amazing images as a result.

As well as featuring a diverse selection of subjects, Matt also demonstrates a good understanding of advanced techniques such as creative lighting, motion blur and over-unders. Take a look at his website and you will see that he also likes to photograph snakes and other reptiles and amphibians, and I’m sure, like me, you will find this gallery just as impressive as his other work. Matt’s collection is a fine example of what can be achieved if you think outside the box and are willing to experiment and not just follow the current photography trends.

Lion’s mane jellyfish cannibalization, Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA

Mosshead warbonnet in a bottle below the dock, God’s Pocket Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Spotted salamander coming up for air in a vernal pool, New Jersey, USA

Red Irish lord perched on a wall in the Browning Pass, British Columbia, Canada

Chinook salmon biting the dome port, Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA

Hairy frogfish yawning after an unsuccessful strike, Lembeh, Indonesia

Silky shark blur, Jupiter, Florida, USA

A great white in the afternoon sun, Guadalupe Island, Mexico

Wolf eel side eye in the Browning Pass, British Columbia, Canada

River chub spitting out sand on its breeding mound, Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee, USA

Eastern hellbender camouflaged on a rocky streambed, Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee, USA

Matt in his element surrounded by salmon

Look out for a future special feature on shooting salmon here on DPG, and be sure to head over to www.9milesnorth.com to check out more of Matt's epic wildlife images.


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