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Brandon in the company of a tiger shark. Photo Copyright © Jim Abernethy



background  Brandon Cole is a wildlife photographer and writer specializing in the marine environment. His award- winning imagery from around the worldRH71629, green sea turtle underwater portrait, professional high resolution digital image for licensing includes one of the top cetacean files with dozens of species of whales and dolphins represented; extensive coverage of other marine mammals; sharks large and small, dangerous and harmless; fishes and invertebrates from tropical coral reefs to cold water kelp forests; scuba diving; and many other marine subjects.
        With a degree in marine biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and experience in underwater scientific research (having worked with the National Park Service, the University of California, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and independent scientists such as the Bimini Biological Field Station), he now explores one of the planetís last frontiers, the world beneath the waves. In recording Oceanís beauty he has traveled much of the globe, counting among his favorite locales the coral reefs of Indonesia, the "Enchanted Isles" of the Galapagos, the dizzying blue of the South Pacific, and the current swept, icy waters of British Columbia and Alaska.
        Cole lives in landlocked Spokane, WA, USA with his artist wife Melissa.

Brandon Coleís work has appeared in hundreds of publications in the US and overseas. lv529, cute photo of nemo tropical fish Select magazine credits include Audubon, BBC Wildlife, Canadian Geographic, Das Tier, Discovery, EcoTraveler, GEO, Glamour Germany, Harvard Business Review, Illustreret Videnskab, International Wildlife, Kodansha, Luxury, Men's Journal, Natural History, The National Geographic Magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times, Orion, Outside, People, Popular Photography, Ranger Rick, Science, Scientific American, Sinra, Scuba Diving, Smithsonian, Sport Fishing, Stern, and Wildlife Conservation. His imagery has been featured on more than 250 covers.  Cole has completed assignment work for clients as diverse as Alaska Airlines, The BBC, Discovery Channel Books, Stern, and televisionís "Wild Things".  His photography has been published in hundreds of books (and as sole or primary photographer in 10 books including his latest, "Reef Life"), calendars (30+ publishers, including many exclusives), cards and posters, electronic products, advertising, public exhibits in museums and aquariums, and other media with clients such as AT&T, The Cousteau Society, Encyclopedia Britannica, HP, Microsoft, The National Geographic Society, The National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Life Insurance, The Sierra Club, and World Wildlife Fund. In 1995 he was presented with the Eric Hosking Award in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year international competition for a portfolio of his marine photography. 

View a collection of tearsheets and read client testimonials

personal statement  Brandon sums up his love for marine wildlife with a quote from Aristotle, 4th century B.C.: "In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." He adds:

        "I am continuously learning, experiencing new manifestations of the "marvelous": the contagious thirst for life, the sheer exuberance shown by a group of frolicking dolphins; the stunning beauty of the kelp forest wrapped in silence yet noisy with color and motion; the tenderness so evident between a mother sea otter and her mewling newborn; the mystery enshrouding the open ocean or a coral reef under the cover of darkness.
        "All things" for me includes not only 40 ton breaching whales, schooling sharks, and hangkt2817, photo of palm trees and rocks in the Seychelles, exotic island paradise glider sized manta rays... but the weird little fishes, the camouflaged beasties hiding in plain sight, and the spineless, slow moving invertebrates- diminutive shrimps and crabs, sea slugs and jellyfish, artfully arranged clusters of sea anemones, sponges, and corals, as well as the patterns and textures that they bear. These creatures and this unfathomable beauty are often overlooked, but are no less deserving of appreciation, of photography.
        Iím in bliss just watching the reef and its denizens go about their daily lives. I could spend hours watching the little things- a two-inch long blenny, for example, an attitudinal little fish so comical, so frantically active, its bulging eyes rotating independently, gulping water at a furious pace. Iím sure my laughter at its antics could clearly be heard, even underwater, drifting on the current.
        Also heard, I hope, is my sincere wish that an appreciation and respect for the wildlife and habitat be foremost in the minds of all who visit Ocean. For itís all about enjoying nature, but not at her expense."



the file  140,000+ 35mm transparencies and digital captures, and select high definition video clips.

natural history  Marine mammals: whales (beluga, blue, gray, humpback, orca, right, pilot, melon-headed, minke, sperm, fin, bryde's, false killer, more), dolphins (bottlenose, common, dusky, Hector's, risso's, Atlantic and Pantropical spotted, spinner, white-sided, N. right whale, amazon river dolphins (also called boto or pink river dolphins), Fraser's, more), manatees, dugongs, sea otters, seals (Guadalupe fur, harp, harbor, elephant), sea lions (California, Southern, Steller, Galapagos). Fish: Sharks (great white, silvertip, oceanic white tip, sixgill, sevengill, bull, tiger, great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, whale, nurse, epaulette, gray reef, whitetip reef, blacktip reef, oceanic blacktip, blue, dusky, zebra, wobbegong, gray nurse/sand tiger, lemon, mako, pelagic thresher, silky, galapagos, various catsharks, more), baitballs, tuna, manta rays, mobulas, stingrays, electric (torpedo) rays, eels, colorful tropical fish, obscure little fishes, endangered Pacific salmon (many species), paddlefish, sea horses (many species), sea dragons, pipefish, clownfish, hagfish, jacks, barracuda, schooling fishes, frogfish, mola molas, blue marlin, striped marlin, sailfish, sardine baitballs, more. Invertebrates: octopus (many species), abalone, crinoids, soft & hard corals, sponges, giant clams, sea anemones, squid, nudibranchs, crabs, shrimp, lobsters, starfish, basket stars, nautilus, cuttlefish, jellyfish, more. Other: Algaes, kelps, shipwrecks, eggs, sea turtles, sea turtle biologists, shark biologists, giant tortoise, marine iguanas, sea snakes, penguins, anacondas, Komodo dragons, American Crocodiles, safari wildlife, more. Topics: Camouflage, Symbiosis, Intertidal zonation, Defense Mechanisms, Mimicry, Eco-tourism, Endangered species, Dangerous/ Venomous creatures, Scientists at work, Aquaculture/Mariculture. Habitats/ Ecosystems: Artificial reefs (oil rigs, pier pilings, shipwrecks, BioRock electric reefs), coral reefs, kelp forests, intertidal and tide pools, mangroves, sand/mud bottom, open ocean, sanctuaries, cenotes, sea caves, marine lakes, sponge gardens, hydrothermal vents, etc..

RN40630, vertical stock digital photo of a killer whale spyhoppingspecialties  Whales- underwater, breaching, bubble net feeding, spy hops, tail flukes, mother and calf, courtship behavior, sunset lighting, dramatic backgrounds, eye ball shots, museum and aquarium shots, petroglyphs, totems, art, aerial, whale watching, people swimming with whales, whales feeding on baitballs, traditional whaling village. One of worldís finest files of orca, humpback whale, and dolphin photos. Images especially suited for advertising, books, calendars, cards. Sharks- big, dangerous, small, and obscure, dozens of species. The Great White Shark. Endangered Florida Manatees. Sockeye salmon. Octopus- many species. Pacific Northwest marine life. Camouflaged sea life.  Galapagos Islands marine life. Intimate portraits to half-in/half-out "over-under" shots. Marlin, sailfish, dolphins, sharks, and bryde's whales feeding on sardine and mackerel baitballs. Complete photo/ text packages. Abstracts, patterns, textures of marine life. Backgrounds for advertising.

environmental  Endangered species, marine sanctuaries and underwater parks, oil rig ecosystem, gill nets, shark-finning, mangrove destruction, coral bleaching, threatened marine habitats, coral reef restoration, coral farming, traditional whaling village, fish traps, fishing, marine pollution, entangled marine life. Kelp-sea urchin crisis in California and Oregon.

general  People interacting with marine life- tidepools, aquariums, snorkelers and divers, whale watching, eco-tourism, marine biologists at work, citizen science, travel and scenic photos, safari wildlife, pictures of people and culture.

geographic areas 
Australia, Azores, Bahamas, Baja California/Mexico, Belize, Bonaire (Netherlands Antilles), Brazil, British Columbia Canada, Burma (Myanmar), Canadian Arctic, Cayman Islands, Christmas Is. (Republic of Kiribati), Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic (Silver Bank), Egypt (Red Sea), Fiji, French Polynesia, Galapagos, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Magdalen Is., Mexico (Baja, Cozumel, cenotes of Riviera Maya, Isla Mujeres), New Zealand, Norway, Patagonia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tasmania, Thailand, Tonga, Truk Lagoon (Chuuk Micronesia), USA (AK, CA, FL, HI, MA, MI, NC, OR, TN, WA).

geographic areas

Alaska, USA  Southeast Alaska. Marine mammals (humpback and killer whales, harbor seals- mother and pups on icebergs, Steller sea lions, Pacific White-Sided dolphins, Dallís porpoise), bald eagles, salmon, deer, totem poles, glaciers, scenics.

Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, Wreck of the S.S. Yongala, Kangaroo Is, Exmouth/Ningaloo (Western Australia), Port Phillip Bay, South Australia, Tasmania. Tropical and temperate marine life including Minke Whales, Whale Sharks, Fishes (incl. endemic leafy and common sea dragons, endemic and critically endangered red handfish, potato cod, many schooling fishes), invertebrates, coral reefs, aerials, coastal scenics, shipwrecks, divers, sea lions, stingrays and sharks, artificial reef habitat (many pier pilings/jetties), Southern Bluefin Tuna, Giant Australian cuttlefish mating aggregation, giant spider crab aggregation, deep sponge gardens, kelp forests, caves.

Azores (off Portugal)  Pico and Faial Islands. Numerous species of whales and dolphins, above and below water, including Sperm whales and Atlantic Spotted Dolphins. Blue sharks, mobula rays, fish and invertebrates, scuba divers. Topside scenics, fishing boats, whaling boats, museums, etc.RH1197, harmless jellyfish in Palau, vertical format picture for sale

Bahamas  Bahamas Banks, Bimini. Wild Atlantic spotted dolphins. Sharks- bull, tiger, Caribbean reef, nurse, lemon, and great hammerhead. Scuba divers with sharks, and people snorkeling with dolphins. Mangroves. Shark scientists at work, and research related photos at the Bimini Biological Field Station.

Baja and the Sea of Cortez, Mexico 
Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Cabo Pulmo, Loreto, Pacific Coast gray whale lagoons, Socorro Islands/Revillagigedos, Guadalupe Is. Marine mammals (gray, humpback, bryde's, pilot whales, dolphins, sea lions), Great White Sharks, cage diving, marlin, baitballs, Pacific giant manta rays, fishes, tuna, many shark species, invertebrates, coral reefs, topside scenics, petroglyphs, divers, whale watching. Huge spawning aggregations of jack fishes at Cabo Pulmo National Park. Schooling mobula rays feeding at night. Sea lions at Los Islotes.

Belize  Ambergris Caye, Turneffe Atoll, and Lighthouse Atoll. Hol Chan Marine Reserve, The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye, etc. Nurse sharks, sting rays, fishes, invertebrates, coral reefs, divers, aerials of the Blue Hole, inland Mayan Ruins. 

Bonaire (Netherland Antilles, Caribbean) 
Fishes (angelfish, schooling fish, etc), invertebrates, coral reefs, topside scenics, divers & snorkelers.

Brazil  Amazon River Basin, Pantanal Wetlands, and Bonito area. Rare coverage of wild Pink River Dolphins (also called boto), caimans, giant anacondas (including underwater photos!), fish, birds, jaguars, giant river otters, scenics, snorkeling in clear rivers, etc.

British Columbia, Canada 
Extensive coverage of Vancouver Island- Barkley Sound, Campbell River/Discovery Passage, Gulf Islands, Johnstone Strait, Nanaimo, Port Hardy, Stubbs Island, Victoria. Also mainland BC's Sunshine Coast and Howe Sound. Marine mammals (killer whales, humpback whales, harbor seals, sea lions, dolphins- Dallís porpoise, Pacific White sides), endangered Pacific sockeye salmon, coho, chum, chinook and pink salmon, other fishes, wolf eels, sixgill shark, invertebrates, giant octopus, kelp forests, shipwrecks, tidepools, topside scenics, sea birds, divers, snorkeling w/ salmon, glass (cloud) sponge gardens.

California, USA  Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur, Channel Islands, Oil Rigs, Southern CA, Mendocino and Sonoma coastline. Marine mammals (blue whales, humpbacks, fin whales, orcas- killer whales- attacking gray whales, sea otters, dolphins, elephant seals, harbor seals, sea lions), fishes, sharks, invertebrates, kelp forests, oil rig marine communities, divers, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Sea urchin barrens and kelp deforestation.

Canadian Arctic 
Hudson Bay.  Beluga whales topside and underwater. 

Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA  Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.  Humpback Whales, whale-watching.

Cayman Islands  Coral reef marine life (fish including Nassau groupers, corals, invertebrates, sea turtles), shipwrecks, and scuba diving photos from Grand and Little Cayman Islands. Invasive lionfish species. Stingrays at world famous Stingray City. USS Kittiwake sunken shipwreck. Bloody Bay Marine Park.

Christmas Is. (Republic of Kiribati, Line Islands, Micronesia)  Marine mammals (spinner dolphins and melon-headed whales), sailfish, manta rays, fishes, invertebrates, coral reefs, divers, local Gilbertese people, topside, nesting sea birds.

Cocos Island, Costa Rica  Schooling hammerhead sharks, whitetip reefs sharks hunting at night, yellowfin tuna, marbled rays, schooling fish.

Cozumel, Isla Mujeres and Riviera Maya, Mexico  Coral reef marine life (fish, sponge covered reefs, coral formations) and scuba diving photos from Cozumel. Cavern and cave diving pictures from the freshwater cenotes of Riviera Maya between Cancun and Tulum, and mangroves. Sailfish feeding on sardine baitballs and whale sharks feeding from near Isla Mujeres, and people snorkeling to witness both marine spectacles.

Cuba  Coral reef marine life (fish, corals, invertebrates, sharks) and scuba diving photos from Gardens of the Queen National Park. Silky and Caribbean Reef Sharks. American crocodiles in the mangroves. People, scenic, and cultural photography in Havana.

"The Nature Island of the Caribbean". Sperm Whales (including underwater photos), fishes (including seahorses and frogfishes), invertebrates, coral reefs, topside scenics (waterfalls, etc.), scuba divers.

Dominican Republic  Silver Bank- North Atlantic humpback whales.

qp40492, woman snorkeling over soft coralsEgypt 
Red Sea scuba diving and marine life from coastal reefs and offshore pinnacles, including dugongs, spinner dolphins, coral reefs, fishes, fish spawning aggregations, invertebrates, shipwrecks, oceanic whitetip sharks. Above water coverage- temples, tombs, pyramids, and whale fossils (Wadi al Hitan).

Fiji Islands  Bligh Waters, Beqa Lagoon, Gau, Lau, Namena, Nanu-I-Ra, Vatu-I-Ra, Taveuni, Wakaya. Sharks, fishes, invertebrates, coral reefs, hard and soft corals, red footed boobies, topside scenics, divers.

Florida, USA 
Crystal River area, Florida Keys, West Palm Beach and Jupiter. Endangered Florida manatees. Nesting and hatchling sea turtles, and scientists at work. Miami Seaquarium- orca, bottlenose dolphin, birds, DDT turtle. Sea World Orlando- orca whales and dolphins. Scuba diving in Key Largo area- schooling fish, corals, diver shots, shipwrecks, etc. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Coral Restoration Foundation coral farming and outplanting with citizen science involvement. Mangroves. Sharks. Goliath Grouper spawning aggregation. Blackwater diving for larval fish and invertebrates.

French Polynesia-
Coral reef marine life and scuba diving photos from the Tuamotus, including Fakarava and Rangiroa atolls, as well as Tahiti and Moorea in the Society Islands. Images of schools of gray reef sharks, and lemon sharks, blacktip reef sharks, various tropical fish, stingrays, schools of snappers and other species. Aerial scenic photos of the islands.

Galapagos- "The Enchanted Isles"  Marine life- whale sharks, scalloped hammerhead sharks, other sharks (galapagos, silky, whitetip reef, horn) schooling fish, reef fishes, invertebrates, Sally Light Foot Crabs, marine iguanas (including feeding underwater), sea lions, sea turtles, rays, penguins (underwater), etc., including endemic species.  Terrestrial animals- giant tortoise, land iguanas, sea birds, etc.

Hawaii, USA  Kona Coast of the Big Island, Maui. Marine mammals (humpback, pilot, false killer whales; spinner and Pantropical spotted dolphins) above and below water, fishes, blue marlin, manta rays, sharks, sea turtles, invertebrates, coral reefs, monk seals, Puíuhonoa (Place of Refuge), Molokini Crater.

Roatan.  Bottlenose Dolphins at the Roatan Institute of Marine Science.

Iceland  Scuba diving in Silfra Fissure, and Eyjafjord in northern Iceland. Atlantic wolffish, Atlantic cod, and underwater hydrothermal vents. Topside scenic and adventure travel coverage from all over Iceland including waterfalls, blue ice glacier caves, hiking, volcanic craters, icebergs, Diamond Beach, aerial pictures, and more.

Bali, Bunaken Marine Park, Komodo National Park, Flores east to Alor, Lembeh Strait, Lesser Sunda Islands, North Sulawesi, Raja Ampat (West Papua), Triton Bay (West Papua). Fishes, invertebrates, coral reefs, shipwrecks, topside scenics, aerial scenics, people, art, culture, divers, Komodo dragons, muck diving, mangroves, Biorock electric reefs, spectral tarsier primate, volcanoes, Lamalera whaling village, Aboi hill tribe people, whale sharks under lift net fishing platforms (bagans).

Magdalen Islands 
Gulf of St. Lawrence (Quebec, Canada). Harp seals, "seal watching" ecotourism.

Maldives  Fishes, invertebrates, coral reefs, divers, whale sharks, manta rays from this Indian Ocean tropical coral reef ecosystem. 

Mexico  See Baja, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Riviera Maya, Sea of Cortez and other regional entries above for more details.

Michigan (Great Lakes), USA
Upper Peninsula. Shipwrecks in the underwater preserves of the UP.

New Zealand 
North and South Islands.  Sperm Whales, Dusky Dolphins, and endangered Hector's Dolphins. Scuba diving in the Poor Knights Islands, with coverage of fishes, invertebrates, colorful reefs, archways and caves, scuba divers. Topside scenic and adventure coverage including kayaking in Milford Sound, hiking volcanic Tongariro Alpine crossing, Maori wood carvings, mountain scenics, caves in Waitomo, rainforest, etc.

North Carolina, USA  Morehead City- sand tiger sharks on the offshore shipwrecks.

Norway  Orcas (killer whales), humpback whales and a beluga whale in the fjords of northern Norway

Oregon, USA 
Tidepools of the Pacific Coast. Intertidal marine life and people exploring tidepools. Scuba diving along the Oregon coast, and also in Clear Lake. Whale watching- gray whales.

Palau  Fishes, invertebrates, sharks, sea turtles, coral reefs, snorkelers and divers, World War II shipwrecks and planes, Jellyfish Lake, Chandelier Cave, aerials of the Rock Islands and more from this popular Pacific Ocean tropical coral reef ecosystem.

Patagonia, Argentina 
Peninsula Valdez. Southern Right whales above and below water, S. elephant seals, S. sea lions, dusky dolphins, etc.

Papua New Guinea 
Milne Bay.  Fishes, invertebrates, coral reefs.  Strange and exotic "muck diving" species, including the mimic octopus and Rhinopias.

Philippines  Malapascua Island. Pelagic thresher sharks, fishes, invertebrates, coral reefs.

Tennessee, USA  American Paddlefish, also called the Mississippi paddlefish.

Andaman Sea, Similan Islands, Burma Banks. Fishes, invertebrates, coral reefs, divers. Sharks, beach scenics, shark-finning. General topside coverage- people, temples, etc. Diving in Burma (Myanmar).

Tonga, Kingdom of 
Northern island cluster of Vavaíu, and Ha'apai. Humpback Whales, fishes, invertebrates, coral reefs, caves, topside scenics, divers.

Truk Lagoon (Chuuk, Micronesia)  Japanese shipwrecks and planes sunken in World War II. Artifacts, weaponry, machinery, vehicles, and human remains in the wrecks, divers exploring the wrecks, and colorful fish and invertebrate marine life now associated with these superb artificial reefs.

Praslin, La Digue, Curieuse, Cousin Islands. Fishes, invertebrates, coral reefs. BeachRE0288, dramatic vertical stock picture of a great white shark scenics, giant tortoises, birds, lizards and geckoes, Coco-de-Mer palm tree, Vallee de Mai World Heritage Site.

Solomon Islands  Central and Western Provinces, New Georgia Island, Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Russell Islands, Florida Islands, Marovo Lagoon. American, Japanese, and New Zealand shipwrecks and planes and a submarine sunken in World War II. Artifacts, weaponry, machinery, vehicles in the wrecks, divers exploring the wrecks. Colorful fish and invertebrate coral marine life, coral gardens. Scuba diving. Portrait of native islanders. Aerial scenic shots. 

South Africa 
Dyer Island and False Bay, The Wild Coast.  Great White Sharks.  Sevengill sharks, various catsharks. Jackass (South African) Penguins, Cape Fur Seals. The Sardine Run (whales, dolphins, sharks, sardine baitballs) along the Wild Coast.

Sri Lanka 
Shipwrecks off Colombo, scuba divers, fish and other marine life.  Topside scenics, people, art, culture, temples. Safari wildlife, including leopards, birds, elephants, and more. Negombo Fish Market. Stilt fishermen.

Washington, USA  Puget Sound, Hood Canal, The Salish Sea, Olympic Peninsula, Strait of Juan de Fuca, San Juan Islands, Outer Coast. Marine mammals (killer whales, harbor seals, sea lions, dolphins and porpoises), fishes, sixgill sharks, wolf eels, invertebrates, giant octopus, kelp forests, shipwrecks, artificial reefs, tidepools, beach scenics, endangered salmon (many species), topside scenics, divers, Ozette Indian petroglyphs, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, rainforests in the Olympic National Park, Deception Pass State Park, other parks, Columbia River and Snake River systems.

upcoming travel

Planned upcoming shoots include kelp forests and temperate rocky reef marine life in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. The Philippines, South Africa, Baja Mexico, Norway, and Japan. Additional projects yet to be determined. Please let us know if you have a "piggy-backable" assignment you'd like us to complete.



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