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Alert Diver is the dive industry’s leading publication. Featuring DAN’s core content of dive safety, research, education and medical information, each issue is a must-read reference, archived and shared by passionate scuba enthusiasts. In addition, Alert Diver showcases fascinating dive destinations and marine environmental topics through images from the world’s greatest underwater photographers and stories from the most experienced and eloquent dive journalists in the business.

IMAGING SHOOTER

IMAGING SHOOTER adventures in the Azores. At the time Ocean Realm was the most prestigious dive journal, and having his images prominently displayed was momentous. He followed that article with one about manatees and dugongs, which was the cover story for the journal’s issue that debuted at the 1996 Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) Show. The underwater photo industry noticed those images in particular, and that marked Seifert’s induction into the fraternity of underwater photojournalism. Also in 1996 Seifert began writing articles for Dive International, a British dive publication (now called DIVE). Today he is DIVE’s World Editor and the writer of a monthly feature called “Water Column.” He has written and photographed roughly 100 features articles. A hallmark of Seifert’s photography and writing is the exacting research that goes into his projects well in advance of travel. “If I didn’t read and research, I wouldn’t know what I should photograph or recognize the significance of behaviors I might capture,” he said. “I go into the sea thinking I know something about what might happen, but nature consistently delights and delivers much beyond my imagination. I could no more dive without my camera than I could write a worthwhile article without the extensive research I do each time.” When asked about his favorite camera for underwater use, Seifert replied, “I think of my camera gear like a toolbox. Sometimes I need a Phillip’s head, other times a claw hammer. There is a right tool for each job, and unfortunately there is no photographic Swiss Army knife. It would be more convenient if one manufacturer did everything, but I love the 50-megapixel files of my Canon DSLR, with the beautiful density and ability to crop. They also have my favorite telephotos for topside use. Nikon has a brilliant 60mm macro lens, which is fast and very sharp. Plus, I can use my trusty, 20-year-old Nikonos RS 13mm lens on my Nikon digital camera body by means of a clever adaptation on my Seacam housing. This is my single favorite tool for underwater photography, particularly since I have an overwhelming preference for photographing large marine life such as sharks, whales and manta rays.” Seifert spends as many as 40 weeks per year on the road these days in pursuit of underwater images. He is usually accompanied by his wife, Emily, who was not a diver when they met but now has logged more than 1,600 dives. Much of this time is spent in support of conservation groups such as Shark Savers, Manta Trust and Global Shark Diving. “I enjoy what I do, and with every dive I gain greater appreciation for my mentors, who taught me so much about the sea in general, and underwater photography specifically,” he explained. “Chris Newbert, Doug Perrine, Jim Watt, Avi Klapfer and Howard Hall have all been so gracious to me. Ron and Valerie Taylor, Stan Waterman and Eugenie Clark took me in and brought me to another level of adventure and technique in our decades of diving around the world. I hope I can give some back to the next generation.” Despite having had a long and successful career, Seifert has no plans to slow down any time soon. When asked if he ever plans to dial back the travel a little, he readily replied, “I consider Stan Waterman my touchstone, so that means I should have at least another 40 good years in me.” Read along as Seifert describes some of his favorite images. 94 | FALL 2016

(OPPOSITE) DRAGON MORAYS “Throughout much of their former range, particularly in Hawaiian waters, dragon moray eels have been commercially overcollected to the extent that they are now quite rare. But dragon morays are not collected in the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia and are thus more frequently encountered. They are by no means common, but on a recent two-week exploration of the Marquesas I had the great fortune to find two together in the same crevice. This was unbelievably lucky, and I spent the entirety of my dive concentrating upon the pair, paying little attention to the manta ray that swam in lazy circles above my head.” LOVE ON THE RUN “Working under permit in the Kingdom of Tonga, I really wanted to see what goes on in a ‘heat run.’ Be careful what you wish for. A heat run is a behavior in which male humpback whales compete against each other for the favor of a female in estrus, which they are all pursuing at breakneck speed. “Jumping in among a group of randy 40-footlong whales with their intentions alternating between violence and lust is something you don’t want to spend time contemplating. As Ron Taylor always advised me, ‘You’ve got to be in it to win it.’ So I jumped off the stern into the whales’ path. I was overcome by the beauty of the spectacle, and time slowed as it often does in intense situations. To be honest, it was thrilling. To be really honest, it was terrifying. My body floating on the surface was buffeted by cavitation as the whales’ bodies and tail flukes passed, and they headed seaward, continuing their love train, indifferent to the dazed voyeur they left in their wake.” MARINE IGUANA “Only in the Galapagos Islands can marine iguanas be found and only for a short window of time each morning in shallow, near-shore waters with a strong surge and crashing waves over an algae-covered rocky bottom. Underwater photography is most challenging when you’re being pummeled by waves, slammed into rocks and protecting a fragile glass lens port (and less fragile life and limb) while giving the iguana enough space to go about its business. I grew up watching Godzilla movies on television, and if ever there were an opportunity to encounter a pint-sized Godzilla, it exists in Galapagos, though solely at the marine iguana’s whim.” ALERTDIVER.COM | 95