David Hall’s Cold Sea
It is magic to peek into the ocean via snorkel or scuba. The colours, the movement, the loose boundaries between plant and animal life – stunning images stay with you long after emerging.
For most of us, these underwater glimpses come during sunny holidays in tepid seas. We’re not slithering into wet suits and braving our Pacific Northwest waters to discover what mysteries lurk below.
Thankfully, David Hall, an award-winning photographer, has taken his camera into our waters and the results are majestic. We stumbled into this National Geographic photographer’s Beneath Cold Seas at the bookstore and, after a few flips, brought it right up to the cash register.
In Hall’s book, subtitled The Underwater Wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, we see brilliant red and white gooseneck barnacles at Nakwakto Rapids, purple-ringed topsnails, grey-speckled baby harbour seals, yellow and orange basket stars, orange-peel nudibranchs with red soft coral and mouth of crimson anemone.
Hall, who started diving in the 1960s, has written multiple books and photographed for a you-name-it list of magazines. He won an award from the International Institute for Species Exploration for his work around the Psychedelic Frogfish, aka Histiophryne psychedelica. “It has always been my hope,” he says, “that my fascination with, and respect for, all living things would show in my work and help to inspire similar feelings in others.”
Some of Hall’s most mysterious shots in Beneath Cold Seas are of jellyfish: red-eye medusa, fried egg jelly, cross jelly, moon jelly. It is the sun-shot orange lion’s mane jelly we see on the cover of the book.
‘I approached the massive animal cautiously,’ he writes. “Cyanea possesses an especially powerful sting, and the neoprene hood and dive mask I wore left much of my face unprotected. The jelly’s many long, transparent tentacles were difficult to keep track of as I approached with one eye glued to the viewfinder of my camera. I made dozens of photographs of the magnificent animal.’
Hall’s clear respect for marine life and his willingness to take chances in seeking out the perfect shot have resulted in a glorious look at our Pacific Northwest waters.
Written by Elizabeth Newton