The entire MAC Group and Mamiya family are sorry to hear of the passing of photographer Wes C. Skiles. With one of his stunning photos currently gracing the cover of National Geographic for a story on the blue holes of the Bahamas, his loss comes at an especially hard time.
Skiles, known for his lifelong diving affinity, grew up in Florida, where diving holes attract divers and photographers from around the world. A diver for 44 of his 52 years, Skiles frequently shot stills and motion footage for scientists and researchers racing to document the fragile biological balance of blue holes before rising sea levels change their chemistry forever.
Not only did Skiles return from dives with incredible images and/or video, he also did so under the dangerous conditions technical divers and cave divers subject themselves to. Frequently breathing nitrox, a delicate mixture of nitrogen and oxygen, cave diving is known for its high fatality rate, particularly among divers who eschew careful planning and redundant backup systems for their gear. Some images from his dives can be found here. DVDs of his underwater cinematography can be found here.
Skiles owned and operated Karst Productions, a production company specializing in underwater location shoots. He died on Wednesday, July 21, in a diving accident off the coast of West Palm Beach, Florida. As of this writing, no further details have been reported. Our good thoughts go out to the family, friends, and coworkers of this highly talented shooter.