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Scuba Network Photos represents the catalog of Ryan Hoffman, a Course Director and Instructor Trainer with Scuba Network NYC. Ryan dives around the world in all different conditions training the next generation of SCUBA divers and dive professionals. When he is not teaching, Ryan photographs underwater animals, reef, and fellow Atlanteans exploring the deep.
I did my first dive when I was 10 years old. They strapped a tank to my back with a harness and I swam around the marina area with an instructor. I was immediately addicted and knew that this was something I wanted to do forever.
By the time I was 17 I had done my Rescue Diver and started my Divemaster program at 18 after accumulating 200 dives.
I started taking photos with an underwater disposable film camera at 15. When I was 18 I went to Fiji and one of the marine biologists lent me his underwater video camera for the week, and I made my first underwater 20 minute video of the reefs there.
Underwater photography presents some unique challenges that topside wildlife photographers don’t really have. You can sit in a blind for hours on land and animals accept you as part of the environment after a while, and you can get the shots you want. Underwater, I don’t have that luxury. On most dives I have an hour of bottom time, and in that hour I have to find an animal, establish trust with it, scope potential foreground or background elements for the frame, and finally frame up the shot. Sometimes I don’t have the luxury of trust. Animals like sharks, turtles, rays cruise by quickly and I have only moments to gauge all of those elements.
My personal style is portraiture. I try to capture the eye of the animal looking right at frame, almost like a headshot. When a capture does happen, and I do get that shot, it's magic. Like a teleportation device, I’m able to go back and relive that dive over and over again. Even when I’m topside sipping on my coffee, I can look at my model and I’m underwater breathing bubbles again, with them. I hope that these photos help you have a similar escape.
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