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Dive Photo Guide


Photographer of the Week – Shireen Shipman
By Matthew Sullivan, December 7, 2023 @ 08:00 AM (EST)

A massive Mola mola cruises past a photographer way offshore San Diego, California, USA

From Mola mola to giant Pacific octopuses, this week’s featured photographer, Shireen Shipman, has captured an impressive number of iconic big animals! We can’t feature them all here, but Shireen has included enough of them to make us jealous!

By trade, Shireen is an engineer—previously in shipbuilding, which makes her last name incredibly fitting—and now in aerospace! While her profession is focused on one otherwordly realm, her passion brings her to another, that being the one underwater. Living in San Diego, California, an ocean lover’s paradise, she is part of the tight-nit local diving community. This proximity to world-class underwater adventures allows her to be in the water and explore her fishy backyard year round. San Diego has a wealth of inshore diving to be had from the famous La Jolla Cove/Canyon and Marine Room, to the offshore waters teeming with giants. Blue sharks, makos, Mola mola, blue whales, the list goes on and on. 

Perhaps Shireen’s favorite underwater subjects are pinnipeds—seals and sea lions. The Coronado Islands lie just across the Baja border from San Diego and charters run day trips to dive with the huge sea lion colony that calls the islands home. It is no wonder then that we are featuring several Coronado sea lion images here.

Shireen says her aim with underwater photography is to bring awareness to the amazing animals and ecosystems beneath the waves. By sharing her experiences through her images, she hopes to foster an interest, passion or at least a general awareness about our oceans and the plights they face. Change can’t happen without awareness, and beautiful underwater images can do a lot to help bridge the gap between the marine world and those above.

Market squid gather by the millions during their breeding events, like this one near San Diego, California, USA

A sea nettle pulsing through stands of bull kelp, God’s Pocket Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Thousands of tiny compass jellies swarm in the shallows, God’s Pocket Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Normally a stunningly colored and patterned fish, this rock greenling is sporting a more subdued look, God’s Pocket Resort, British Columbia, Canada

A curious sea lion pup stares at its reflection in the dome, Coronado Islands, Baja, Mexico

Arch Rock at Anacapa Island, framed by a giant kelp leaf, Channel Islands, California, USA

A California moray pokes out of its den on Farnsworth Bank, Channel Islands, California, USA

California sea lion pups dance in the shallows beneath the sun rays, Coronado Islands, Baja, Mexico

Sharks in Florida, like this silky shark, often sport fishing-related injuries or drag along hooks and lines, Florida, USA

Normally quite skittish, this harbor seal came in for a closer look, Crescent Bay, California, USA

A young California sea lion peering out from a kelp bush, Coronado Islands, Baja, Mexico

A huge giant Pacific octopus moves across the bottom of Hood Canal in Washington State, USA

To keep track of Shireen’s adventures, please give her a follow on Instagram.


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