Amazing Women in Diving: Underwater Photographer Diana Paboojian

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Diana Paboojian and friends!

Diana and I met on a dive trip exploring the Socorro Islands (very far south of the Baja) on the Solmar V. She caught my interest early…her camera equipment was obviously “serious”, and her husband, Shannon, was the videographer. I enjoyed viewing her images during the trip as most of us hung out in the dining area categorizing our photography. Her images were, and are, light years ahead of mine. I learned quite a lot from watching her.

Like my family of four, she and her family are all divers, and enjoy dive trips together. Her two sons are now in college, and she and her husband raise quarter horses and are organic Alfalfa/Grass feed farmers who live in the northern part of the Central Valley of California. I’m trying to imagine something better….horses, diving, animals, traveling. Throw a dozen dogs and cats in the mix and that’s pretty close to heaven for me!

Diana Paboojian

A natural in the water, Diana didn’t get certified until her younger son sought dive certification. I would have guessed during the trip to the Socorros that she had been diving far longer than 6 years or so. Photography is tough to do underwater…one needs to be a damned good diver before you add a camera into the mix!

When I asked how she became interested in photography, she told me, “I have been always been interested in photography.  I loved taking my own pictures for my horse business and I am also an excellent sports photographer.  As for under the water, once I mastered my buoyancy, it was a natural progression to take a camera with me.  I started with a point and shoot, then upgraded to a micro 4/3’s camera, and now I shoot with a DSLR.  I have taken many pictures and have had a few great teachers to get me where I am now.”

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I also asked her about her photographic experiences, and which was the most exciting (I know that is a very hard question to answer). She replied, “I have had so many exciting adventures out of the water and in. Gorillas in Rwanda, Lions in Botswana, Leopards in Tanzania, Bull Sharks in Fiji, Mantas and Dolphins in Socorro, Whalesharks in Mexico!  When we were on a safari with Derrick Joubert in Botswana, we were watching two painted dogs sleep.  A herd of elephants with babies walked by.  After the elephants disappeared in the distance, the two painted dogs stood up stretched and started mating.  I took a few pictures, but then just sat and watched.  Derrick was filming the whole time so we stayed as quiet as we could. Every experience has been exciting but the most important advice is to make sure you put your camera down every once in awhile to truly enjoy the experience!”

Diana Paboojian

Diana doesn’t call herself a conservationist or activist, but an educator. She says, “People just do not know what is really happening in our oceans or in Africa.  I want to use my photography and knowledge to educate them to be more caring.  To make a difference.  I always say you can’t un-know what you know so all I can do is get the information out there.  Then we can only hope that the human race can evolve enough to save the world.”

Diana Paboojian

Her photos are amazing, and they make one care about the creatures she photographs. From sea horses no bigger than your pinky finger to gorillas in Africa, the photos keep you interested, and curious about the animal itself.  You can find Diana’s work on Zenfolio, and the link is www.dianapaboojianphotography.zenfolio.com. If you are looking for fantastic wildlife photographs, you won’t have to look any further than Diana’s photos. Her Macro underwater photography is particularly engaging. She captures the tiniest sea creatures in incredibly detailed shots.

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So, what is next for this traveling, empty nest, shutterbug? “Heading back to Indonesia in July.  We will be going to Villa Markisa in Tulumben, Bali to get a little muck diving!  We will then head to Komodo on the Liveaboard Damai.  We will finish off with Cenderawasih Bay to see the Whalesharks!”

There is never a dull moment in Diana’s life… she embraces all experiences. Her son is studying Marine Biology so who knows where that will send her family? I can’t wait to find out…and maybe go along!

I always enjoy following Diana’s travels around the globe, and hope to meet up with her again on a liveaboard somewhere…or a dive resort. Or a safari. She is an inspiring figure, and a great role model for women of all ages. And I love her photography!

For more from Tam, visit www.travelswithtam.com.

Tam Warner Minton

Tam Warner Minton

Tam Warner Minton is an avid scuba diver, amateur underwater photographer, and adventurer. She encourages "citizen science" diving, whether volunteering with a group or by one's self. For Tam, the unexpected is usually the norm!

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