Meet the friendly staff of the
Underwater Photography Guide


Scott Gietler, Publisher

Scott GietlerScott is the founder of the Underwater Photography Guide. What started out as a small project has grown to a point where it is starting to interfere with Scott's sleep. When it interferes with his diving, then it will be a problem.

Scott lives in Marina Del Rey with his lovely wife Penny. They have traveled together throughout the world on diving and non-diving trips together.

If possible he tries to get out diving each week with some of the other members of the Underwater Photography Guide staff.

An avid marine naturalist, Scott is the author of the Field Guide to Southern California Marine Life. He was the LAUPS photographer of the year for 2009, and his photos have appeared in magazines, coffee table & marine life books, museums, galleries and aquariums throughout California. He enjoys teaching underwater photography locally on a regular basis.  Scott can be reached at 


Staff Members


Brent Durand, Editor

Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer, story teller and image maker from California. Brent can be emailed at


Mike Bartick, Contributing Writer and Trip Leader

Mike BartikMike Bartick is an avid and experienced scuba diver and Marine Wildlife Photographer. He has an insatiable love for nudibranchs, frogfish and other underwater critters, and it official critter expert for the Underwater Photography Guide. He's also trained as a chef.

"My love of photography comes from my father. As long as I can remember he always had his camera ready in hand. Given to me by my parents when I was in the eight grade, my first camera was a brownie box camera.
Things have changed alot since then. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to shoot photos. Sharing them with the world is just another layer of excitement.

My photos have now been featured in many magazines, magazine covers, columns and articles, text books and more. The center of traveling exhibits and art auctions...
Who would have thought..."

Mike can be reached at



Regular Contributors

The Underwater Photography Guide is immensely thankful to our regular contributors who have been producing great content that keeps getting better each month.


Randy Harwood

Randy Harwood has been SCUBA diving since 1975 and has been photographing the marine environment for over 20 years. Diving all over the world, he has visited Mexico and Latin American, many of the islands in the Caribbean , Hawaii, Fiji, Micronesia, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Republic of the Maldives, French Polynesia, the Phillipines, Africa and Australia. He regularly dives in California and still considers the kelp forests of California a favorite dive destination.

Active in the Los Angeles Underwater Photographic Society for over 20 years, he has served as the Society President for almost 8 years.

Randy’s “Underwater World” calendar has been in continuous publication since 1986. He has contributed numerous photographs and articles to books, advertising media and magazines, including “Outdoor Photographer”, “SCUBA World”, Rodales “SCUBA Diving”, “Outdoor California” and many more.


Douglas Hoffman

When he's not slaving away on articles for the Underwater Photography Guide, Doug works as a professional photographer in Maui, Hawaii where he lives with his family.

Douglas is a full time photographer creating art for decor, portraits of families, teaching workshops, and leading groups to Tonga, Fiji and Indonesia. An avid diver, Hoffman has logged over 10,000 dives, yet remains as impassioned as ever. Douglas feels fortunate to be living his dream and enjoys sharing his passion for diving, photography, and the sea.








Ridlon and Carin Kiphart

Husband and wife team Ridlon and Carin are the travel editors for the Underwater Photography Guide. They truly do "live adventurously", running their own dive travel company. 

They are true adventure and travel junkies that are wildly passionate about living a life off the couch, showing others how to do it and bringing them along.

Although they have a house in Montana, they are much more likely to be found in Cocos, Fiji, Europe or Indonesia. Ridlon and Carin are members of the Explorer's club, founders of the Ocean of Hope non-profit foundation, and owners of Live Adventurously, a company dedicated to living life off the couch and helping others do the same.


Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee resides in Fullerton, California and frequently dives SoCal waters. His adventures, in over 45 countries, include multiple treks to Mt. Everest Base Camp and diving in the Antarctic. Among his memorable experiences, he fondly recalls a warm hug from Mother Teresa and meeting the Dalai Lama.

After learning to scuba dive, Kevin took up underwater photography to share the wonders of the ocean with others. Kevin's images have been featured in magazines, newspapers, academic literature and numerous dive related publications.


Wilfried "Willie" Niedermayr

Ever since I have been a child I was interested in Marine Life and whatever is underwater. Coming from Switzerland and having no shores along an ocean, diving was for me not an option for a long time. But now diving & underwater photography is what I like to do the most. Realizing that only for the last 70 years people in this world can see what lies underwater with their own eyes makes it even more special to me.


Mark Strickland

Mark Strickland’s life-long interest in the sea has included over 10,000 dives and careers as lifeguard, boat captain and scuba instructor. His passion for underwater photography has led him to many top dive locales, including Virgin Islands, Australia, and Thailand, where he spent 17 years as Cruise Director on a series of live-aboards. Mark now resides in Ventura county, California.

An avid marine naturalist, Mark has discovered several nudibranch species. He is co-author and principle photographer for Lonely Planet’s award-winning book, “Diving and Snorkeling Thailand”, and his work appears in many magazines, books and displays around the world. Currently, Mark leads several dive trips each year to his favorite destinations, while working on a career-spanning large-format pictorial book.

Mark's photos and articles have appeared in magazines and books around the world, including Action Asia, BBC Wildlife, National Geographic World, Natural History, Scuba Diving, Skin Diver, Sport Diver, Sportdiving, Unterwasser and many others.




Forum Moderators

In addition to the staff and regular contributors, we are thankful to have help on our forums from the following people:


Bill Van Antwerp

Bill is the technical guru for the Underwater Photography Guide, and a frequent member of our weekly dive outings.

Bill shoots underwater as well as topside photos. He is currently shooting a Canon 7D in a Nauticam housing. He uses a variety of strobes with his favorite being the Athena ring flash for macro photography.

He lives in Southern California with his lovely wife who also dives regularly, and works as a Distinguished Scientist during his day job.


David Behrens

Dave is considered one of the world's top experts on Nudibranchs, and his latest book  Indo-Pacific Nudibranchs is considered a bible on the subject.

He has been practicing marine biology since 1974, and has authored many other books, including Nudibranch Behavior, Pacific Coast Nudibranchs. He hs co-authored Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific, Eastern Pacific Nudibranchs, Diving and Snorkeling Honduras' Bay Islands and The Diving Guide - Cozumel, Cancun & the Riviera Maya.

His scientific publications on this group of amazing animals numbers over 80, including descriptions of 30 nudibranch species new to science. He holds a master's degree from San Fransisco State University and is a Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences. Dave and his wife Diana operate Sea Challengers Natural History Book, Etc., a marine life and natural history book publishing and distribution business in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Stanley Byssche

Stanley is a great resource on our forums, and it also an excellent writer, occasionally contributing an article on technique or equipment.

"Probably the odd person out in this group, I don’t profess to be a master diver or photographer, but I certainly love doing both. Certified in 1972, I took my first underwater photograph with a Nikonos I.

The flash was an actual underwater bulb flash. You had to change the bulb with each picture and keep the “dead” ones from floating to the surface. Several Nikonos Vs, a Nikon F4, F5, and a D2x later. I am still working at being a better photographer, both on land and underwater.

The biggest obstacle to improving my skills has been my daytime (and night time) job. So after 35 years of practicing General and Vascular surgery, I retired. My wife, with enthusiastic backing from two grown children (both divers!), decided our first adventure should be moving to the island of Curacao. Well needless to say I have spent a lot more time underwater with my camera.

I have always enjoyed UWPG as a great source of knowledge, and I am happy to help in any small way."

Leslie Harris

Leslie is the best invertebrate id experts and worm ladies one could ever hope for. Leslie studies Polychaetes at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum.

NHM worm page


Janna Nichols

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Janna took up recreational diving
and underwater photography in 1999. She became a scuba instructor, AAUS
Scientific Diver, volunteer REEF surveyor, and member of REEF's West Coast
Advanced Assessment Team. Using her photos and experiences from her 800+
dives, (mostly all in cold West Coast waters from California to BC) she has
trained hundreds of divers in the Pacific Northwest and California in REEF's Fish
and Invertebrate/Algae surveying program. She now is REEF's Outreach

Janna now uses a Canon G9 in an Ikelite housing, with a DS-51 strobe, and a
link to her photo gallery can be found on her website:


Kalani Patterson


Kalani is one of our compact camera and gear experts. He's also an excellent dive buddy. Kalani lives in Southern California, where he enjoys diving, hiking, discussing gear and tasting fine food with his wife.


Larry Polster

A business owner now retiredand living in the midwest of the USA, Larry spends his time travelling the world enjoying the finer dive establishments. Larry has a good sense of where the better diving is, where to good critters are, and he isn't afraid to share his opinions. He shoots underwater with a Nikon D300, and his photos seem to get better after every trip he takes.

"I started diving in 1969 and often went to the Caribbean. Lately the underwater world has become an obsession. I've recently made trips to Indonesia (Ambon, Banda Sea, Gangga Island, Lembeh Strait and Raja Ampat), Philippines ( Anilao, Dumaguete, Bohol, Puerto Galera, and Cebu), Solomon Islands ( Florida Islands, Russel Islands, San Cristobal, and San Isabel ) , and Fiji ( Tavenuni and Eastern end of Vit Levu)

I now look forward to sharing the repeat trips to these islands with other divers experiencing it for the first time. Their enthusiasm and big smiles as they surface reminds me of the those first moments I shared the same experience.

Thanks to Scott and Mike's camera help a couple years ago in Anilao, I've been able to bring better images back to my family and friends."

James Williams

Born in Louisiana, grew up in the southern U.S. I have a B.S. in Geology, M.S. in Geoscience, another in Education, A.S. in Aviation Technology, Airframe and Power Plant rating, Instrument rated pilot.

I have been a SCUBA diver since 1966, NAUI certified originally in 1968. Nowadays I dive mostly minimalist and vintage and prefer ocean diving, any ocean diving, though warmer is better than colder. I am interested in photography and in particular underwater photography and dearly miss my old Nikonos 35mm. I am a cyclist and my wife and I also enjoy boating and fishing from our Boston Whaler.

I am employeed as a technical instructor and training administrator with a large aviation company. I began my working career as a petroleum geologist with a major oil company, following that I taught high school briefly and then became interested in aviation and aircraft maintenance.

My wife and I look forward to the day that we can return to the South and the Gulf Coast.


Special Thanks

Special thanks to Nikki Pieper, Anastasia Laity, Jim Lyle, Bonnie Pelnar, Walter Marti, Adam Svoboda, and Calvin Tang for their contributions to the Dive Destination Guide.