Photographer David Doubilet began snorkeling at age 8 at summer camp and by 12, he was shooting pictures underwater, using a Brownie Hawkeye camera placed in a rubber anesthesiologist bag supplied by a supportive father — with less than satisfactory results. Today, he takes various cameras on a shoot and has invented a special lens for underwater use.
He has long since mastered the techniques for reading water and light, has been a contributing photographer for National Geographic magazine and is among the world's best-known underwater photographers.
In 50 years, he has ranged across the world, from interior Africa to tropical coral reefs, rich temperate seas and in recent years northern and southern ice realms.
Doubilet and his underwater partner Jennifer Hayes, an aquatic biologist who is also his wife, will bring a program called “Coral Kingdoms and Empires of Ice” to Lone Tree Arts Center's Main Stage at 8 p.m. on April 8.
Hayes specializes in natural history and marine environments and is an authority on conservation of primitive fishes. She is a member of the Explorers Club (a note for those who saw the recent play by that name at Lone Tree — about the club's first woman member.)
The two collaborate on photography, story production, feature articles and books. He has published nearly 70 stories in National Geographic over the years and a number of books. The most recent volume focused on waters around Cuba.
Recent assignments, to be introduced in the program, include coral-rich Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea, a corner of the coral triangle that includes the Philippines and Indonesia, where they found pygmy seahorses and 60-foot-tall towers of barracudas … and much more. Travels next took them south and under the Antarctic ice where they found penguins, seals and shipwrecks.
And finally they headed north to Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence to find whales, wolfish, salmon and the harp seal, which is fighting to survive in a sea of shrinking ice.
Born in 1946, Doubilet discovered the magic of seeing light under water while at a summer camp (a counselor suggested he go stick his head underwater when he resisted the usual camp activities and games) — and never looked back. He graduated from Boston University and is the winner of many awards and a member of the Royal Photographic Society. Doubilet makes his home in Clayton, New York, a small town near the St. Lawrence River, with a second home in Dekolder, South Africa.
If you go
“National Geographic Live: Coral Kingdoms and Empires of Ice” will be presented on Lone Tree Arts Center's Main Stage at 8 p.m. April 8. The Lone Tree Arts Center is located at 10075 Commons Drive, Lone Tree. Tickets: lonetreeartscenter.org, 720-509-1000.
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