This Photographer's Underwater Photos Will Make You Wish You Were a Mermaid
Ben Hicks takes amazing pictures of marine life. It sounds simple, but we knew there was more to his story, so we sat down with Ben to learn how his passion for environmentalism and photography combined to create some of the most stunning underwater images we’ve seen.
Travelzoo: Where are you from, and where do you live now?
Ben Hicks: I am from Venice, Florida, and currently live in Boca Raton, Florida, with my wife Cristina and little one Carson.
Travelzoo: How did you realize you wanted to focus on marine life and underwater photography?
Ben Hicks:: I started shooting sports in college, borrowing my younger sister’s Canon Rebel film camera in 1999. I’ve always been interested in animals and nature my entire life, along with a love for the ocean and all types of water sports. When photography came into my life, it was a natural direction to combine the two!
Travelzoo: Has anything scary ever happened to you while shooting in the ocean?
Ben Hicks:: I always try to be as prepared as possible, and luckily, nothing super scary has happened. I have been slammed into the reef shooting waves a couple times. Once on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia, and another pretty good slam in Nicaragua. No stitches, just sea urchin spines lodged into my leg!
Travelzoo: What is your favorite place you’ve shot? What made it so incredible?
Ben Hicks:: It is often hard to pinpoint my favorite place I have shot since I have been to so many rad places. The Mentawai Islands off Sumatra, Indonesia, are probably up there.
Travelzoo: Any simple tricks or tips for getting a good underwater image? What is the gear you can't live without?
Ben Hicks:: Patience is key to getting a great image underwater. Always remember: Without a lot of failures, you'll never get that gem! I can't live without my iPhone 7 and underwater housings. The best camera is the one you always have with you.
Travelzoo: If you were going to be trapped alone on any island in the world, which one would it be and why?
Ben Hicks:: I could be trapped on St. John. Definitely another favorite place to shoot. It’s got a great vibe, amazing marine life and sustainable lifestyle.
Travelzoo: What drives you to shoot the sea creatures and ocean animals?
Ben Hicks:: I am driven by so many things to get out there and shoot in the ocean. It is different every time I go out. I am passionate to show the world how important it is to cherish and protect our oceans. Using my images to get that message across has been a passion of mine.
Travelzoo: As someone who spends a lot of time in the ocean, what would you say to people who don't?
Ben Hicks:: You’re missing one of the greatest things our life on Earth has to offer!
Travelzoo: Who inspires you on Instagram?
Ben Hicks:: Brian Skerry, Clyde Butcher, Kelly Slater, Paul Nicklen, Chris Burkard, Donald Miralle, Thomas Peschak, Jimmy Chin, David Doubilet.
Travelzoo: What’s something about you that surprises people?
Ben Hicks:: Something people are always surprised by: I don't scuba dive and can't go below 20 feet. My right ear doesn't equalize after over 10 surgeries as a kid.
Photo credit: Ben Hicks Fine Art