Tom's passion for the underwater world started at a very young age. It began with a love of sharks and evolved into a fascination with all marine life. Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, he learned to dive in the Puget Sound at the age of 18.
He regularly dives at the famous Blue Heron Bridge muck diving site to capture shots of nudibranchs, octopuses and other interesting critters, and dives with numerous shark species out of Jupiter and The Bahamas to put his fisheye lens to work. Tom loves to share his images with family, friends and fellow underwater photographers, and hopes his work can help inspire others to have a greater understanding and appreciation for our oceans. He is also a photo coach, and an active member of the South Florida Underwater Photography Society (SFUPS), where he serves on the Board of Directors.
Scuba Diving Magazine's "Through the Lens" 2022 Photo Contest Honorable Mention
South Florida Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022, Runner - up
Ocean Geographic Society: Picture of the Year Competition: "Emerging Photographer of the Year
Ocean Geographic Society: Picture of the Year Competition: "Emerging Photographer of the Year”, 2022 Finalist, 2023 Finalist
Dive Photo Guide, Photographer of the Week, 2022
A CHAT WITH TOM
When did you start exploring the ocean and how did your passion develop from there?
I was fortunate to grow up near the ocean in Seattle, Washington. As a kid I spent countless hours exploring the beaches and tide pools (filled with creatures like crabs, sculpin, and sea stars) on the Washington and Oregon coasts. I enjoyed nothing more than this, except perhaps visits to the local aquarium. It was here that I first saw sharks in person, which sparked a lifelong passion. It was my dream to see them in the wild that inspired me to learn how to scuba dive, and it was a desire to capture images of these beautiful animals that got me into underwater photography.
What was your best moment in the wild thus far?
My first time diving at Tiger Beach. For me, nothing tops the experience of being in the water with Tiger Sharks, and the crystal-clear Bahamian waters, white sand, and sunshine make this an idyllic location to soak in these gorgeous apex predators. Beyond Tiger Sharks, the dive site is home to Great Hammerheads, Caribbean Reef Sharks, Bull Sharks, Nurse Sharks, and Lemon Sharks – bolstering Tiger Beach’s reputation as one of the world’s best shark diving sites.
What do you like about being a group leader?
As group leader, I enjoy making the trip experience more enriching and meaningful through relevant presentations, workshops, and in-water instruction. I’m keen on sharing my knowledge of the region, local wildlife, diving, and photography with the group. As a believer in lifelong and adult learning, being a group leader for Insider Divers, an organization that prides itself on education and whose motto is “Never Stop Learning”, is especially rewarding.
The most important things you are trying to achieve for your guests?
It’s important that guests not worry about the on-site logistical headaches that can come with trips such as these. Instead, they will be able to focus fully on diving, topside beauty, learning about the region, and getting to know other like-minded people on the trip. Safety, particularly around diving and shark interactions, is paramount, and I work to ensure that everyone stays safe throughout their trip.