Field Trip to The California Academy of Science/Steinhart Aquarium

December 6, 2011 in My Life, Photography

Back in July I was invited out to the California Academy of Science for work. The company that I work for, American Underwater Products (AUP), produces the scuba diving brands: Oceanic, AERIS, Hollis, Lavacore and OceanPro. It also turns out that Bob Hollis, the founder and owner of AUP, has worked with and supported the California Academy of Sciences since before the inception of the first brand, Oceanic, in 1972. Oceanic has made numerous contributions over the past 40 years to the Academy and the Steinhart Aquarium, so I went and visited to get a closer look at how the equipment was being utilized at their local facility.

I met up with Elliott Jessup, the Diving Safety Officer over at the California Academy of Sciences/Steinhart Aquarium.  My girlfriend Alyssa also came to see what I do for work and get a personal tour. Elliott manages all aspects of the diving program, with responsibilities such as running science dive classes, maintenance of the aquarium and dive locker, and supervising volunteer divers. First he showed us the “Dive Locker” where all the diving equipment is kept. Next to the door there was a small and humble sign.


I hear the term “dive locker” used all the time at work and there was even a section of our previous website that was called the dive locker. I knew it referenced a place where divers kept their equipment but this was actually my first time inside of a dive locker. Surprisingly enough it was also my first time really seeing used products that my company makes in person…weird I know. At this point I had been working for Oceanic/AUP for about 8 months and saw the products everyday as I worked on the websites. Below, Oceanic Octo Regulators hang in the dive locker.


In the photo below Oceanic wetsuits are lined up and hanging on racks in the dive locker.


I shot a bunch of video and an interview with Elliot but the background noise in the building during the interview was really loud. I am thinking about going back and scheduling a time to go in before it opens to get some good shots and clean audio. Below, Elliot Jessup shows us around the dive locker and gives a breakdown of all the equipment.


After the tour of the dive locker we went and watched a show that featured a scuba diver. It was really cool to see the guy in the tank swimming by in front of tons of people wearing all of the Oceanic equipment. It was my first time seeing any of the gear in action and it made me proud to be working for Oceanic. Below, a volunteer diver cleans one of the tanks to prepare for an afternoon dive show.


After the volunteer divers got out the water I met them up at the top to take a few photos a shoot a few interview clips.


After the personal tour and show we parted ways with Elliot and went to check out a few other areas before we left. Alyssa wasn’t left to just watch me take photos. She had the Fuji X100 around her neck and wasn’t afraid to use it.


I like the light on this one. Its almost like light coming down through the trees in a forest. An underwater forest…oh wait..



All the staff and volunteers that we talked to were really nice and seemed to genuinely love their jobs. They were always interacting with the onlookers and having a good time. Below, during maintenance and tank cleaning the divers at the Academy always have time to interact with visitors.




Hopefully I’ll be doing more travel and photography soon for work. I am finishing up my open water certification this weekend which is going to open the door to a bunch of new and exciting opportunities.

If you are interested in reading the article I put together Oceanic you can get to it here.