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NEW PRESS  Four recent magazine covers nicely showing the scope of our marine photography collection.


Cuba  Earlier this year we explored Cuba's Gardens of the Queen National Park. We enjoyed great diving with silky and Caribbean Reef sharks, healthy coral reefs, and close-up encounters with crocodiles in the mangroves. Havana's people, culture, architecture and scenery proved to be a big bonus. Here is a slideshow of photos from the trip:

These images are also on our web site and now ready for licensing. Please contact us and let us know how we can be of assistance.

Blue Whales  New pictures of the largest animal on Earth recently swam into our photo library. High quality underwater images of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) are quite rare so we are especially happy to offer a strong collection to our clients. From whales to snails, we've got you covered.


Looking Back- 2014 Through the Lens  We are most grateful for your support in 2014. Your continued interest in our imagery is instrumental in keeping us afloat in this ever changing, ever challenging, and ever rewarding business. The photomontage above is a pictorial summary of last year, touching on a few of the amazing things we were fortunate to witness in our ongoing quest to build the most dynamic underwater photo library around. 

We began the year snorkeling with gentle Florida Manatees, and then diving with enigmatic Great Hammerhead Sharks in the Bahamas, creating stunning pictures of this striking species, as well as documenting marine biologists at work. After this we turned 180 degrees and crossed the Pacific, all the way to Tasmania to explore truly unique kelp forest and sponge garden habitats, home to rare species such as sea dragons and handfish. Australia's Great Barrier Reef was our studio for photographing curious Minke Whales and colorful coral reef species. Leaving the South Pacific in the depths of their winter, we were called back to the Bahamas to swim with sea turtles, sharks, and dolphins. Our portfolio from this island nation continues to grow and is sure to impress. Need visuals of Tiger Sharks? How about dozens of wild spotted dolphins in clear water? We have both, and so much more from the Bahamas. Mexico has long been another favorite of Brandon Cole Marine Photography. We were drawn back to the Yucatan Peninsula in August, timing our visit with the world's largest gathering of feeding Whale Sharks. Epic! Then we took advantage of the freshwater springs to rinse away the saltwater. Slipping into the cenotes opened doors into the shadowy Mayan underworld, a vast network of sunken chambers decorated with stalactites and illuminated by otherworldly light shows. As 2014 drew to a close we packed up our camper truck and drove north into Canada to behold the saga of the sockeye salmon. After four years at sea, these red and green super fish have survived a gauntlet of obstacles to return to the freshwater streams in which they were born. Their mission- to spawn and die. It's among the most inspirational stories we've ever covered. We can't wait to show you the new photos and video footage

Now it's time to submerge once again. First stop for 2015 is Egypt's Red Sea, to photograph dugongs, cousins to the manatees we met exactly one year ago. After that, the coral kingdom of Indonesia beckons, specifically Komodo and Flores, marine biodiversity hotspots both. Assuming we come up for air, we have a date with basking sharks in the UK. Then humpback whales in Tonga, great white sharks in Mexico, California kelp forest critters... you get the picture. With your partnership, we'll do our best to bring back new pictures to help bring your projects to life.

New in Print  We returned home from a very busy summer with scuba diving and snorkeling photo expeditions all over the world to find that a number of magazines have recently featured our marine photographs on front covers. Here are some: one showing a photograph of humpback whales underwater from Tonga; another new magazine cover showcasing a curious harbor seal picture from California; one proving that our portfolio also includes animals in freshwater- schooling pink or humpback salmon in spawning coloration; and a cuddly image of a great white shark from South Africa:



Great Hammerhead Sharks  A new hot spot is on the underwater photographer's map- Bimini Island, in the Bahamas. Why? Great Hammerhead Sharks, Sphyrna mokarran, a large species found throughout the tropics, but never before have sightings been very reliable. Until now. Always endeavoring to be at the front of the cresting wave of marine imaging, I hurriedly made two expeditions to Bimini this winter, and was fortunate to return with what is likely the strongest collection of dramatic underwater photos of this elusive animal currently in existence. Not just identification shots, or close-up portraits, or diver photos, or cover quality photographs- all of those, and also digital pictures of shark scientists at work and so much more. There are a few creatures which truly captivate me, over which I obsess, and this is one of them. I like to think of Sphyrna mokarran as a prehistoric alien. It's also a species threatened with extinction, thanks to unsustainable fishing in many parts of the world for its fins, which are used in the Asian delicacy shark fin soup. Take a look at the great hammerhead shark photos in our stock image library and let us know how we can help you feature this exciting new underwater photography in your creative projects- books, magazine articles, advertisements, web sites and apps, calendars, conservation campaigns, and more. 


underwater photograph of woman scuba diving on coral reef in Raja Ampat Indonesia, Copyright Brandon Cole, email:

New in Print  As I've said many times, the seas are filled with wonderful creatures. Including real live mermaids! Here is my favorite, Melissa, swimming along a reef ablaze in soft corals, deep in the heart of Indonesia. This photo was just published in Europe's leading scuba diving magazine, Tauchen. We've worked with them countless times over the last 20 years. I'm sure that Melissa has graced the cover at least 20 times! Indonesia boasts many of the world's richest reefs, and we thoroughly enjoy exploring this hotspot of marine biodiversity. There are more species of coral, fishes, and invertebrates in Indonesia than any other place on earth. We have loads and loads of underwater pictures from Indonesia, hundreds of which can be seen on our web site. 

We will be returning to scuba dive Indonesia in 2015 in the company of a great group of friends from around the world. There are two spaces left on the boat, so if anyone out there is interested in coming aboard to dive into waters dubbed "The Cauldron of Creation", please contact us. Future group diving safaris are likely to include exotic places such as Fiji, the Maldives, Tonga (for humpback whales), Bahamas, and more. Come join us beneath the waves!


Florida Manatees  The seas are filled with wonderful creatures. So are the world's freshwater systems. Few animals move back and forth between salty and sweet. Manatees, of the Sirenian tribe, do so with grace and style. I've made many photo trips to west central Florida's Crystal River area to photograph our country's only sirenian, Trichechus manatus latirostris, the endearing, and endangered, manatee. Technically these individuals are a subspecies of the West Indian manatee. They are gray, fat, and just about the coolest marine mammal the non-hardcore diver or snorkeler is likely to meet up-close and personal. In winter months, hundreds of these gentle creatures move from the coastal seagrass beds in the Gulf of Mexico, into Crystal River and its tributaries to rest and feed in the warmer springfed freshwater. On a cold morning, it's not uncommon to find ten or twenty huddled together in the shallow water, sleeping and socializing, staying warm and occasionally swimming right up to you to say hello.

Our manatee photos have been published all over the world, illustrating magazine articles, appearing in advertisements, gracing billboards and book covers, calendars and cards. Follow this link to see more underwater pictures of Florida Manatees. We will be happy to help with licensing requests. Select prints are also available for purchase. 


Killer Whales  I recently returned home from yet another orca trip. I think I've spent something like 50 weeks of my life in pursuit of killer whales, my favorite animal. Very near and dear to me, as I began my career 20 years ago with orcas. Amazing creatures.

People often ask what it's like. I usually say something like "hours, sometimes days of boredom, punctuated by a few moments of magic..." That pretty much sums it up. Normally I do these trips by myself. Melissa has accompanied me a few times, but it's getting tougher these days because she is so busy with her art. Fun to remember that a week of whales in the San Juan Islands was our first date...

This time I was accompanied by a good friend, Frank WEST, a superb photographer from Switzerland. We met in South Africa a few years ago, while chasing great white sharks. He told me that he's always wanted to spend time with orcas, so it was my pleasure to show him around.

Below is an excerpt from my trip log, a "day in the life" sort of accounting. It's not blockbuster movie material, but it certainly gives you an idea what goes on behind the scenes. After the text, you'll find a link to new orca pictures from this trip.

Thanks so much to Frank for being such a great partner on this expedition. And thanks, as always, to the whales.


5am- Wake up early, again. 4 fitful hours of sleep is not enough for me anymore. Maybe when I was 25, but not anymore.

6am- On the water, surrounded by fog. Really thick. It’s been like this most mornings. Can’t see more than 20 yards or so, and with a maze of islands around us, no choice but to pull out the old crappy handheld GPS. We meander through a foggy sea for a while. Cold this morning.

7amish- Almost collide with an island. GPS doesn’t have this island on its map… Hum… I know about where we are. Philippe is kind enough not to ask me if we’re lost. We’re not, but I don’t know exactly where we are. As it’s low tide, and I’m worried about rocks, best to shut down and wait.

7:30am- Fog begins to tear apart, and we start motoring again. I get my bearings and plot the day’s course. Surprise! A group of transients off the end of Gooch Island, near the beacon. 5 whales, one big male, one tiny newborn, and three others. Pretty sure I’ve seen these guys before, but can’t recall the exact ID.

8am – 12 noon. No more fog, nice sunshine now. Transients slowly moving south, obviously hunting. After a nice spyhop, still with golden morning light, we follow them into a bay. We see them investigate a number of kelp beds, circling rocks, looking for harbor seals probably. Yes, definitely harbor seals. Witness two different attacks, lots of splashing around, saw the seal frantically trying to escape. Not 100% sure, but I think the last attack was successful. Unfortunately I can’t make any photos which really make sense of the attack.

Fascinating to watch these whales go about their daily lives. The orca pod worked together effectively, surrounding the prey, even creating waves trying to swamp seals and knock them off the rocks. One orca makes stealthy approaches into the shallows, almost sliding up into a tidepool where petrified seals are cowering. Whales celebrated a bit after the kill, playing at the surface, tail slapping, etc. Very young calf leaps out of water with mouth open. All 5 play under the boat, rolling upside down and blowing bubbles. We don’t have underwater cameras ready, so all we can do is watch, enjoy the moments.

Afternoon. After leaving the transients in search of resident whales, hours pass with nothing. Zig zag all over the place, covering about 60 miles without any sightings. Where are the other whales we saw yesterday?

Dinnertime, but of course we’re still on boat, and looking for whales, not eating dinner. That might happen later, depending on how tired we are when we return. Finally at about 6:30 we see some fins far away, way south of the south end of San Juan Island. Water is fairly calm, so we decide to stick with them til sunset. About 15 whales here, spread out. J and K pod members. I’ve known some of these whales for 20 years… No breaching or spyhopping tonight, just fin shots as the sun sinks and the water glows orange. Wonderful to be out here alone with the whales, listening to them breathe.

8pm. We have a long way to go, about 35 miles to reach the dock. Time to say goodnight to the whales, top off the gas tanks. Put on the warm jackets. It’s going to be cold tonight. Speeding back north, I wonder if we’ll find the whales tomorrow…

9:30pm Things were going fine up until half hour ago, until the last few miles, when we had to slow down and navigate by gps and use the spotlight to find our path through the darkness, avoiding the sandbar, rocks, and floating debris. Pull into the dock and tromp up the ramp. Not looking forward to filling up retrieving the boat, cleaning up, unpacking, readying everything for tomorrow, etc. Just want to sleep.

10:30pm. Back in hotel room. Too tired to eat. But have to download pictures and take care of some computer work. Need to send a picture to a client. And charge batteries and get some things ready for tomorrow.

1am. Lights out. But only for 4 hours. Start the whole thing over again soon…


A few people have asked about high quality prints of these pictures- Yes, we'd be happy to make a print or two for you, on paper, canvas, or metal. Please contact us via email and we'll take it from there.


Truk Lagoon  Back in April, Melissa and I dived into the Graveyard of the Pacific- Truk Lagoon, the wreck diving capital of the world. It was something complete different for us, history meets biology, artifacts and artificial reefs all jumbled together into an emotional experience overflowing with unique photographic opportunities. We explored dozens of Japanese shipwrecks sent to the bottom during Operation Hailstone in February 1944, a result of intense bombing by American planes in a surprise airstrike which dealt the Japanese naval fleet a fatal blow. Swimming through lightless inner passageways of 500' long warships we were truly immersed in the darkness of World War II. We discovered caches of unexploded bombs and torpedoes, cargo holds with demolished Zero planes, tanks frozen in time, and even the remains of soldiers who perished at sea. The above is a wide angle fisheye picture from inside the bridge of the Nippo Maru, a scene featuring Mr. Potato Head which brought a little levity to the otherwise heavy solemnity of the place.


And here's a link to a slideshow with more shipwreck artificial reef images from Chuuk:



RH71629-D-copyright brandon_cole_green_sea_turtle_underwater_photograph_high_resolution_stock_photo_available_for_personal_use_as_high_quality_prints
rh71629, new underwater photo of a friendly green sea turtle from Palau

fine art prints, canvas gallery wraps, and metal prints   Many people ask if our marine photographs are available as prints for display in one's home or office. Yes they are, and we'd be happy to help you find the perfect photo of a shark or whale or dolphin or tropical fish or octopus or seal or whatever finned or flippered creature you like best- including this curious green sea turtle shot at an interesting angle in Palau, photo . Please contact us directly at, or visit our new print gallery at Fineartamerica here:  We've just now started to upload photographs to this site, and we'd be glad to upload pictures specifically for you. Simply let us know what you want and we'll take it from there

marine photographs by brandon cole

20 years February 2013 marks twenty years in business for Brandon Cole Marine Photography. Thanks so much for your support over the last two decades! We sincerely appreciate having the opportunity to share the wonders of worldwide oceans with you. Our image library continues to grow and we look forward to continued collaboration. Our commitment to you remains unchanged- to happily provide exciting, beautiful and affordable imagery from beneath the waves, and superb service backed up by accurate information and solid scientific knowledge. Please let us know how we can be of assistance. No project is too large or small.

To help celebrate our partnership, when you license a picture from us in the next three months we will send you a gift (a signed print of either a photo in our collection or Melissa's artwork at, make a donation to a marine conservation organization on your behalf, or offer a special discount off your licensing fee. Thanks again, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

Key to photos, starting at top left and continuing same row to right, then continuing left to right each row beneath:

Oceanic Whitetip Shark, Hawaii USA 1993; crab camouflaged on sea cucumber, Indonesia 1994; Killer whale breaching, Washington USA 1995; gooseneck barnacles, Canada 1996; anemonefish, Thailand 1997; spawning Sockeye Salmon, British Columbia Canada 1998; Leafy Sea Dragon, South Australia 1999; Great White Shark, South Africa 2000; Green Sea Turtle, Hawaii USA 2001; Whitetip Reef Sharks feeding at night, Costa Rica 2002; nudibranch, Indonesia 2003; Horse-eye jacks schooling, Belize 2004; Florida Manatees, Florida 2005; Giant Pacific Octopus, BC Canada 2006; Humpback Whale tail flukes, Alaska USA 2007; coral reef, Fiji 2008; Bottlenose Dolphins, Honduras 2009; California Sea Lion with seastar, Baja Mexico 2010; aerial view of Greet Barrier Reef, Australia 2011; Green Anaconda, Brazil 2012 

video clips We have recently begun to capture HD video footage of the big blue- whales, sharks, schools of tropical fish, and more. High quality clips will be available for licensing to our clients worldwide. Please contact us for more information. For now, please enjoy watching a few clips:

  V-QZ52826-v1. school of Diagonal Banded Sweetlips fish on Great Barrier Reef in Australia



  V-RD0129. Humpback Whales, mother and calf swimming together



  V-RC0073-c1. Colorful tropical fish and reef sharks swimming over coral reef




Our new photo (QZ74125) of a Pink Anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion) published on the front cover of National Wildlife Magazine. This "Nemo relative" lives in a symbiotic association with Magnificent Sea Anemone (Heteractis magnifica). Photographed on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, tropical Pacific Ocean.

New Australia photos are now available on our web site. Melissa and I really enjoyed exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the world's most famous coral reef, Earth's largest living thing. It had been a few years since my last photo expedition to the GBR, and I was happy to see healthy hard coral gardens, schools of tropical fish, sharks, and so much more. In addition to scuba diving along the Ribbon Reefs outside of Cairns, and on the remote Osprey Reef out in the Coral Sea, we photographed one of the top shipwreck dives on the planet, the SS Yongala, a magnet for marine life. Check out the exciting Yongala images, including aggregations of stingrays, and then take an helicopter flight with us to make aerial pictures. We are considering a follow up trip in the next year or two to encounter the dwarf minke whales. Please let us know if you have any projects for which you need dramatic marine photography from Australia. As always, we will be happy to help.


OCEAN ENCOUNTERS  We’re happy to announce our new photo e-book app for the Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, " Ocean Encounters ".

Join us in exploring beneath the waves. Enjoy close-up encounters with marine wildlife large and small (whales, dolphins, sharks, fish and invertebrates)... scuba dive down onto colorful coral reefs and through swaying kelp forests... and learn about the marine environment worldwide. 250 photos, "notes from the field", and a cool interactive map bring ocean adventure into focus like never before. 

If you own one of the above mobile devices, visit the App Store today to download " Ocean Encounters " by using this link:

Please take a moment to write a review after you give it a test drive. User feedback is really important in helping to highlight quality apps from among the hundreds of thousands of things available on iTunes/App store.



Baja Mexico  We would like to take this opportunity to show you new photography from an exciting trip to Baja Mexico, more specifically the La Paz area in the Sea of Cortez, and the Socorro Islands way out in the Pacific Ocean. Highlights of the expedition include swimming with huge friendly manta rays, interacting with playful sea lions, watching whale sharks feeding, being enveloped in clouds of baitfish, poking around the Cabo Pulmo coral reef, and even petting a completely wild dolphin. We've been visiting Baja for more than 20 years- in fact this is where my wife Melissa and I met- and it remains one of our favorite places on the planet. Please take a moment to browse our new Baja photos or all of our Baja photos and let us know what you think.

Galapagos Islands  The incomparable Islas Encantadas 600 miles off Ecuador once again delivered a remarkable array of animal encounters- whale sharks, walls of hammerhead sharks, mind-boggling schools of bonito, sea turtles, my favorite modern day dinosaurs the marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, playful sea lions, current-swept reefs covered in sea fans and gorgonians, penguins, and on and on and on. It remains one of my favorite places on the planet. Please browse our new Galapagos photos when you have a moment.

new professional stock marine life photos from the Galapagos Islands, including underwater images of schooling hammerhead sharks, penguins, whale sharks and scuba divers, eagle rays, sea lions feeding on salema baitballs, sea birds and blue-footed boobies, reptiles such as the giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and land iguanas

Bryde's Whales feeding on baitballs  Earlier I reported on our very successful marlin shoot. But I did not mention that in addition to striped marlin, I also was fortunate enough to capture some of the most dramatic underwater feeding shots of Bryde's Whales (Balaenoptera brydei) in the world today. I wish I could say that these pictures of this unusal rorqual whale resulted from careful research, but that would be a lie. I had absolutely no idea that these baleen whales were going to show up to crash the marlin party. I was simply in the right place at the right time. Lady Luck deserves much of the credit this time. Anyhow, it was quite the experience to have to dodge the rapier-like bills of fiesty marlin AND twenty tons of blubber at the same time. The National Geographic Magazine has just published two of the images in the October 2009 issue, and I can finally post my collection on my web site. Photos here: ( link )

Bottlenose Dolphins  Fresh from last month's dolphin shoot in the Caribbean: new stunning sunset shots, intimate portraits, dolphins at play, and underwater images. We've added the first batch of dramatic mages to our web site. More to come soon. This new coverage adds to our already class-leading collection of marine mammal photography. Please contact us to discuss how we can help bring your next editorial project or advertising campaign to life. Photos here: ( link )

New Zealand  I'm not sure why it's taken so long to dive Middle Earth. Whereas previous trips to this magical land saw me focusing on whales and dolphins, this time we did everything that we had not done before, including scuba exploration of the Poor Knights Islands. Which I'll sum up with "Great fun, bold color, interesting critters, refreshingly different underwater habitat." But that was only the start. With scuba gear still wet, we piled into a campervan and went on a rampage, north to south. Our list of topside adventures included caving in the Waitomo area, Maori culture and boiling mud pits in Rotorua, hiking up volcanoes in Tongariro National Park, clawing up and sliding down Franz Josef Glacier, kayaking in Milford Sound, cruising on Doubtful Sound, killing swarms of sand flies in Fiordland, marveling at tree-sized ferns in temperate rainforest, and much, much more. Honestly, I would say that there's more exciting outdoorsy stuff to do here, and more jaw-dropping scenery awaiting around every corner, than just about any place on earth. What a trip! Photos await: ( link )

Sailfish and Striped Marlin feeding on baitballs  I just returned from two wildly successful photography expeditions and have something very cool to share with you: brand new underwater pictures of striped marlin and sailfish. Not struggling on a fisherman’s line, but totally wild and free, lording it over the blue. Quality underwater photos of these majestic gamefish are very rare. I was fortunate enough to finally find myself in the middle of amazing baitball action with dozens of billfish on the hunt. Displaying remarkable agility and speed, the excited, neon-flashing "stripies" and "sails" rocket into the spinning mass of sardines and mackerel, slashing with spear-like bills to separate, stun, and then swallow one unlucky baitfish at a time. Photographing these eight-foot long menacing "superfish" hunting in the open ocean was one of my career highlights. ( Marlin photos link )  ( Sailfish photos link )

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upcoming travel

201-2016  Planned upcoming shoots include humpback whales in Tonga, great white sharks at Guadalupe Island Mexico, scuba diving in the kelp forests off southern California, the Egyptian Red Sea, sailfish feeding on sardines in Mexico, basking sharks in the UK, Grand Cayman and additional projects yet to be determined. Please let us know if you have a "piggy-backable" assignment you'd like us to complete.


news bulletins

Selects  We've created this new feature on our web site ( link ) to highlight some of our favorite photographs from over the years, and to give you a quick, easy look into the subject diversity of our photo library. We will update this page every so often, so check back every so often.

Melissa's Blog  My wife and partner Melissa, an artist specializing in colorful, detailed paintings of fish, birds, and other animals, has recently updated her web site , added e-commerce capability, and a blog. Please stop by for a visit and see fantastic art in the making!

Blog  We finally join the blogosphere. Come on over to our blog for sporadic updates, news, and other info.



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