Featured Diver of the Month: Michael Zeigler

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After weeks of stalking Michael’s amazing photographs on Instagram, we finally see of shot of him in his exposure suit. We nearly fell out of our chairs when we realized he was a dry suit diver! We thought for sure the color and vibrance portrayed in his photos were from warm California waters. Here’s more from Michael, on his favorite dive spots and his current kit:

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Professional background, hobbies, what you do when you are not able to get to water… I’m originally from Detroit, Michigan, and I moved to Southern California in 1996. When I’m not diving, I’m sales representative for Siemens Healthcare. My other hobbies include photography (more on that later), golf, snowboarding, and surfing.

How long have you been diving?

I earned my Open Water certification in 2004.

What was the defining moment that made you want to become a scuba diver?

I knew I wanted to be a diver the second my head dipped below the surface in the shallow end of the training pool during my first Open Water pool session. I just thought being able to breathe underwater was so amazing (and still do).

How did your life change after you became a certified scuba diver?

The impact to my life has been tremendous. A few years after becoming certified, I discovered the wonderful world of underwater photography (www.seainfocus.com). Since then, my passion has grown into a business (www.immersedimaging.com). I enjoy creating beautiful images to share with the non-diving public, and raising awareness for the need to protect our marine environments. I also enjoy teaching people how to improve their skills as underwater image makers.

What is your current cert level?

I’m a NAUI Master Diver.

What does your current scuba kit include? The whole shebang… from exposure suit, to BCD, to favorite accessories…

Waterproof D7 Pro Cordura ISS drysuit
ScubaPro KnightHawk BC w/ Air2
ScubaPro MK25/S600
Aqua Lung Rocket II fins
Atomic Frameless mask (love)
Fourth Element undergarments
Beneath the Surface beach strap system
Nikon D810 in a Sea & Sea housing with dual Ikelite DS-160 strobes

Tell us about your first cold water dive.

It was a beach dive at Shaw’s Cove in Laguna Beach, California. The kelp was amazing!

What is your favorite dive spot currently?

Santa Barbara Island, California. Even with the warmer-than-usual water temperatures in Southern California, SBI still boasts healthy kelp forests.

How often do you get to dive?

About twice a month.

Have you been able to do any dive traveling?

My last trip was a 3-day trip to the northern Channel Islands in California.

How do you prep for a dive trip?

I prepare all of my camera gear a few days before departure and make sure everything is in good working order. That gives me a bit of breathing room in case I need anything before the trip.

Do you have any dive locations on your bucket list?

Philippines, Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes (Michigan), Fiji, and Solomon Islands (going 2017).

Who is your go-to dive buddy?

Todd Winner (www.toddwinner.com)

What is your favorite snack for refueling while diving?

Red Vines licorice.

What advice would you like to share with people who are considering cold water diving?

Good thermal protection can really help you enjoy your diving experience (both topside and underwater). Also, until you are comfortable in that environment, plan on shorter dives. The cold water really takes a toll on your consumption of breathing gas.

What has been the most memorable dive of your life?

A recent dive at Santa Barbara Island, California. The water was clear, blue, and water temperature was 72ºF (unusually warm for Southern California). The visibility was 150’+ and rivaled visibility anywhere in the Caribbean. The kelp was tall and healthy, and cast a golden hue on the sea floor. Finning slowly through the kelp forest was like a dream. Of all of the places I’ve been diving, Southern California is still #1 overall.

What do you like to do when you are not diving?

I cherish spending time with my family.

Random closing question… What’s your favorite song?

It depends on my mood. It could be anything from Bach to The Black Crowes.

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To see more of Michael’s work, check out his website at www.seainfocus.com and his business site at www.immersedimaging.com. He can also be found on Instagram @seainfocus. Seriously, you want to follow him – his photos are beyond description.

Thanks for chatting with us, Michael! It’s an honor to share your wonderful images on drysuitdive.com. And we will definitely seek you out for some diving when we visit Southern California 😉