NIKOLE HEATH

I grew up in San Diego, California with the ocean in my front yard. I was lucky to have a family that enjoyed diving so naturally I became a diver. I attended San Diego State University and joined the scientific dive team, this is where my passion for ocean conservation started. I worked in the local dive shop and I started getting into underwater videography (my first camera was a camcorder in a Yellow Jacket housing!). After college, I became a dolphin trainer for the US Navy’s Marine Mammal Program and thought this was my dream job…little did I know my dream job was just ahead of me. I wanted to teach people my passion for the ocean through education and my photography/videography by showing people to “dive for a purpose”.

I moved to Hawaii in 2008 and in 2009 I settled here in South Florida because of the great diving and the local community of divers. In the last ten years of working in the dive industry I have travelled all over the Caribbean and Mexico, and have made a trip to Thailand and the Galapagos. Another great reason I am here in Florida is I met my husband, Matt Heath, and together we work in the dive community. He also shares a passion for underwater photography and he helps me understand the technical side of photos and pushes me to get better with using my manual settings.

I currently work at Force-E Scuba Centers and for the past four years I was making a career as a professional social media photographer and an event coordinator. I have been involved in coral reef research, sea turtle research, and shark research here in Florida which all uses my photography to help scientist monitor the conditions and critters that are in our ocean. I have also used my photos and videos to show the local dive community that they are the eyes and ears of whats going on and that we need to document the changes we see. At Force-E, I have set up programs and presentations for divers to reach out and get more knowledge about what they can do; for example, BleachWatch, Fish ID Surveys, Marine Debris Clean-ups, etc.

Its amazing how my photography has grown through the years from just documenting my dives to actually using my photos for research and conservation, so I am so excited to now show case my work here with SFUPS. I am also known to take lots of fun underwater selfies to tell a story and just recently started working in the underwater modeling photography world. Currently, I use the Sony Alpha 6000 Mirrorless camera in a Sea & Sea Housing with two Sea & Sea YS-D1 Strobes…quite an upgrade from my first video equipment.


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