Under the Waves

Each summer Brooks Institute offers an underwater photography class taught by renowned photographer and Brooks instructor, Ralph Clevenger. The highlight of the class is a five-day boat trip to Catalina Island where the students dive and explore the ocean through their lenses. What follows is a first person account of Visual Journalism student Hanna Yamamoto’s experience on the trip.  Along with Yamamoto’s photography, Brooks students Ashleigh Mower, Emily Fraser, Michael Bernardoni, Spencer Frazier, and instructor Ralph Clevenger also contributed images to this story.


Life at Sea


This semester we had the amazing opportunity to go on a five-day boat trip to Catalina Island with my Underwater Photography class. We left on Monday night and arrived early Tuesday morning on the Eastern side of Catalina Island where we dropped anchor. Everyday was a great learning experience but also the most intense rush of excitement.©2014MichaelBernardoni_Insights05

I was recently certified as an Open Water Diver so it was amazing to be able to explore what was beneath the ocean’s surface. Being in the underwater world is quite possibly the most breathtaking thing to ever experience. There’s nothing like being able to dive down 50 feet and see how the other half lives.

I had the chance to work with some beautiful models during the trip which was cool for a change.  I never really get to work with models so getting to work with them in the ocean was even better!  Oh yeah did I mention I got to work with Mermaids?!

Waking up and going to bed looking over the horizon was truly an unbelievable feeling, the long summer days felt endless and the world looked infinite.

Let’s just say carrying heavy dive equipment and all of the unnecessary sun burns and subsequent skin peeling were well worth it. I have never experienced the ocean in such a way and words cannot explain what I have gained from this. I can’t thank my amazing professor Ralph Clevenger enough for everything he has done for my class and for this unbelievable experience.

I belong in the ocean; it’s where I need to be.