Episode 002 – David Rodriguez

David is an underwater photographer & videographer living on the North Shore of Hawai’i. I sat down with him to find out about where his love of the ocean began and we talked about how it continues to inspire him and his work today. I hope you enjoy his stories and enjoy getting to know him, just as I have.

"I think about it (leaving my camera at home), but if that magic moment happens and I don't have my camera with me I'd be devastated."

More Info

David’s Instagram @davidrstudios

Hawaii Adventure Diving Shark Dive Tours @hawaiiadventurediving

The Backstory

I met David on my first dive of the new year with a big group of friends, but I knew who he was long before that. Oahu is an Island and everyone in the water gets wind of other people in the community pretty easily, especially if you’re both underwater photographers. I saw David’s work and I immediately filed him into my brain under, “super talented, love his work, hope we cross paths soon.”

And so it was on that early January day that I saw him in the parking lot, recognized him, and introduced myself. And of course we were soon to be diving together that in the same crew. In a crew that big it’s always interesting to see the role dynamic’s at play: who’s there to play; who’s there get get content; who’s friendly; who’s shy. David was super friendly so that was great. And as soon as we got in the water, I could tell that he meant business when it came to getting the shots he wanted. I didn’t bring enough weight for my belt, and couldn’t get past neutral buoyancy in my 5mm suit, so after floating back to the surface a few times from 35 feet, I cashed in my frustration for observation and fun. I saw David plan his shots on the surface with the divers and then execute. I remember thinking, “Yeah, I need to be a little more assertive when I want a shot like he’s doing. I need to be directing more than waiting.” He didn’t know it at the time, but I was grateful to have gleaned that knowledge from across the water.

Since then I’ve been out with him a few times and have had a chance at some post-dive beach chats. From those chats he’s come across as a enthusiastic, supportive dude, who really loves the ocean. He has his Level II Freedive certification, travels extensively to shoot, and has lots of knowledge about the ocean and how to be a part of it in a healthy respectful way. Living on an island you find out real quick about people, and everyone I’ve met has nothing to say but good things about David.

As a photographer myself, I love his work. He’s able to see scenes underwater and take advantage of them with his lens in a way that inspires me to push myself further. And thank god for other creatives like him because without them I don’t think I’d be where I am in my own progression.

I saw David after a dive on a day that I was a little run down from lugging my housing out into the water so many days in a row and I asked him something like, “Do you ever think about leaving your camera home some days and just grabbing a GoPro or something so you can just relax a bit?”

He replied, “I think about it, but if that magic moment happens and I don’t have my camera with me (patting his heavy nauticam housing) I’d be devastated.”

Those words play in my head on repeat every time I think about leaving my camera behind and taking the GoPro instead. Passionate people are contagious in ways they never get to see and that’s why we all need them in our lives.