Seizing ocean photography

Jordan Bryant captures photographs of marine life at Catalina Island. She has been expanding her porfilio for five years.

Junior Jordan Bryant takes a creative twist on photography, as she aims to capture the creatures of the unknown waters with surface dwellers. From land to sea, the young photographer combines her passions for photography and the ocean to create a new perspective through the camera lens.

Bryant’s love for the ocean developed as a child, as did her appreciation for photography. It was not until Bryant participated in the Catalina Island Marine Institute Camp she was given the opportunity to showcase both interests. It was at the camp Bryant received her scuba certification, but she did not stop there.

“It was about five years ago I went to the camp and got my certification,” Bryant said. “The next year, I began to get really into it and started taking my advanced certification. Then I got my advanced certification for underwater photo. That sparked this whole passion because I’ve always loved photography, and then I grew to love scuba diving, so having both combined was a whole new world for me.”

It was Bryant’s step-father’s Nikon camera that opened her up to her career as a photographer. Throughout her experience, Bryant found herself favoriting landscape and animal photography. However, scuba diving exposed Bryant to a different landscape filled with unfamiliar creatures. It was not long till Bryant fell in love with the new surroundings.  

“Capturing images underwater that make people feel excited, happy and invigorating,” Bryant said. “I love being underwater. I’ve always loved the ocean when I was a kid, so discovering I can be one with it is just amazing.”

Scuba diving taught Bryant to become adapted to the underwater climate, which was a challenge itself. Adding the element of photography only encouraged Bryant to strive further in this field. Bryant has dedicated herself to finding new ways and angles to make her images stand out.

“When underwater it’s really important to get a new perspective because you don’t want a photo that is bland and like anything else,” Bryant said. “You want to be different, so you want to focus on getting up close and be comfortable with the animal and sometimes that takes time. If you let the animal get comfortable with you, you can take really good photos.”

Bryant has already expanded her portfolio by capturing the images of multiple marine animals, and does not plan on stopping anytime soon.  

“I’ve taken photos of horn sharks, leopard sharks, a lot of garibaldi’s and eels,” Bryant said. “I want to start going other places like La Jolla. One of my goals is to travel while scuba diving and taking photos. I really want to do something with it and further pursue specifically marine biology.”

Although Bryant has been faced with many challenges along her journey, she continues to push herself to improve her skill set. What began as a small interest grew into a strong passion, which now Bryant is proud to share.

“Just this past year I got my master certification, which is the highest recreational certification for scuba diving and I am also an advanced underwater photographer,” Bryant said. “When I first did it I was hooked. I loved it and even though it was really difficult in the beginning to perform all the tasks needed. It is one of the things I am most proud of that I was able to achieve.”