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James Quillen
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Journey beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean with Photographer James Quillen. Quillen began diving in the early 1980s, and a decade later, began coupling his diving experiences with photography. He now primarily documents ocean life in the South Pacific, including New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Palau.

"Photography brought art into my diving, and it really focused my attention," Quillen said. "I would spend hours shooting one fish, and I'd come out and realize I already had three great photos of the fish. It encouraged me to identify wildlife I didn't have, then begin looking for photographs of those things."

Most of Quillen's images are taken above 100 feet depth, and are captured with his housed Nikon F4, two strobes, wide-angle lenses and Velvia film.

"To capture most of the images, it's a matter of good buoyancy and patience with the animals," Quillen said. "Some of the wide-angle images were taken in awkward, upside-down positions. But the photography is really not as hard as the diving."

A cardiologist from Eureka, California, Quillen is an avid outdoorsman who photographs while backpacking, kayaking, and diving. When he sent in a selection of his underwater photographs to be printed using our Exhibition Print Service, they immediately captivated our entire staff.

"I had a smile on my face the whole time I was working on his order," said Custom Printmaker Melanie Crutchfield.

"West Coast Imaging has done an incredible job, bringing out the true colors of the animals, which can suffer from loss due to the higher wavelength light seen underwater, and some softening of backscatter, which is another common problem in underwater photography," Quillen said. "I order proofs, and have Melanie do minor final adjustments, creating an accurate and beautiful end print. It's as if I am viewing them through the viewfinder all over again."

 

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