The Great Bear Sea

In News & Stuff, Wilderness, Workshops and Events by David12 Comments

I spent this weekend diving in the Great Bear Sea with friends, among them two people I’ve long admired – Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier. We dove several times among Steller Sea Lions and forests of white plumose anemone and purple urchins, spending our surface time talking about the state of things in the natural world and our desire to see it last for future generations. To be in the company of these incredible animals, beside people with such incredible talent, heart, and commitment, is humbling and inspiring and gives me glimpses into the direction of some of my future work. These natural places will not last forever, and our appetites for money, for fish, for oil, threaten them unless we learn to live in harmony with this world. More and more I believe that the single greatest humanitarian task of our generation is the conservation of the world on which we depend, and I wonder with great curiosity and anticipation where this is all taking me.

I’m posting a couple rough images below so I can share the wonder with you.

I’ve also recorded a new episode of Vision Is Better. Join me for Episode 35 as I discuss 3 of my favourite features and techniques in Lightroom.

Finally, I’ve also just posted the full list of opportunites to travel and learn with me in the next 12 months. There are limited spots in the Venice, Tuscany, and Rome Mentor Series Workshops, a new safari in Kenya next January, and – if you’re lucky – still one spot left for a one-week Mentor Series Workshop in Jodhpur, India, a year from now. You can find these on my Workshops page on the Craft & Vision site. All of these are extremely limited and by application only, but I’d love to travel with you, and the application’s not hard or long – just something to give me a sense of who you are and where you’re at as a photographer so I can create the best possible experience for you. Check those out here.

*Update – Within 2 days almost every spot on the Italy, and India Mentor Series Workshops sold out. We added a second week in Jodhpur, that sold out immediately. We have one spot left for a female participant in Venice. Other than that the only opportunity to travel with me in the next year is now the Kenya Safari next January.


  1. El, I'm always encouraged by your writings…!! I'm still reminding myself of just some of those things that you mentioned and I'm being taught by life's lessons in some of those areas.!! Kudos to you again!!Inspiring words….

  2. David – I Seem to remember that you originally intended to use your Fujifilm X-T1 in a UW housing but had some issues with the housing itself and wound up (at least initially) going with a compact system. My current system is cobbled together and starting to get in my way. Can you share the details of the compact package you put together for your UW work and your thoughts after using it?

    1. Hey Jay – Well, the truth is I gave up on the idea of a compact system. I now have a Nauticam housing for my Nikon D800 and all the arms and strobes and ports and domes that a guy could ever want. The mirrorless felt like too much of a compromise at this point.

      1. Thanks for the quick response. I’m only getting in 2-3 weeks of diving a year these days so it would be hard to justify the additional expense. As a side note, I’ll be with Martin B. in Iceland in a couple of weeks. Hope I don’t regret not taking my gear and adding a couple of days to dive between the tectonic plates!

  3. Thank you David for this wonderful work. Your pictures inspire us to make changes to protect the environment. Small but significant changes can really mitigate huge risks that are affecting our animals. I love photography, but I have never practiced professionally, how photography can give me the tools to participate in a more relevant way to protect our environment?


  4. Beautiful images and words, David, thank you for working to spread this good message. We are so blessed to be in the age of internet connectivity and social media, so more and more people can be exposed to what’s hurting our planet, and what they can do to help.

    What can local, small-town photographers like myself and my readers do to help spread this message? Just photograph the beauty of nature in our own communities, and share on social and the local newspaper?

    1. Author

      That’s a good start. I think we tend to overlook that impact of individuals – one person at a time affecting change with our choices, then talking to others. It’s the old “Think Global, Act Local” adage. There are always local policies to be discussed, local environmental programs to be advocated. And there are global initiatives we can all participate in. I also love the idea of getting kids involved – they are the next generation and teaching them to develop a more sustainable relationship with the planet is key.

  5. Great pictures, must have been nice to dive with Paul Nicklin, ya lucky bugger (sorry, it slipped out). 😉

  6. Wonderful portraits of the sea lions! They look like the goofy puppies of the ocean. Are they as friendly as they look?

    1. Author

      Thanks Karen. Yes, they really are this friendly. Curious and playful, they’re such a delight to be with. Of course these are just the juvenilles. I’ve heard the older ones, especially the bulls, can be much more assertive.

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