If you can look at a photo and know who it belongs to, that photographer is doing something right. This is the case with underwater photographer Brandon Verdura. On countless occasions, Brandon has been given this compliment, signaling that his style is one of a kind.
Brandon Verdura is a photographer, avid spear fisherman, US Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer, 100ft+ free diver, and EMT living out his dream in Oahu, Hawaii. He developed a passion for the water at a young age, learning how to free dive and spearfish in his father’s footsteps in South Florida. His career takes him to many water-based locations where he is able to master and practice his love for photography and spearfishing. Shooting underwater does hold a special place in his heart; nevertheless, his photography has extended towards fashion portraits, and so on. His work can be seen in advertisements, magazines, and social media all over the world.
“It begins with listening to the client’s vision. Once I have a basic understanding of your vision, we throw in my experience and knowledge to make it a perfect collaboration. Whether it’s a beautiful sunset, or the moment you pulled the trigger on your dream fish, we’ll capture that once in a lifetime moment. I ensure you will leave with images that take your breath away. I try to keep a comfortable, fun mindset during my shoots. After all, when you feel relaxed, you will enjoy the shoot, and it will show in the images.”
Wondering about the underwater world of free diving and spearfishing that Brandon and brave others submerge themselves in? There are few things that compare to the feeling of being completely submerged in something that could kill you, yet never feeling freer. This is the case with the sport of free diving. These athletes dive to depths of up to 700 feet of water on a single breath of air, with no oxygen tank handy to save them if needed. These adrenaline-crazed individuals, such as Brandon, experience something unlike anything else on earth. One cannot be more dependent on their training and skills than at this moment. It is both an exercise for the body and the mind. One of the most important talents in free diving is remaining calm. The calmer one is, the less oxygen their body uses, giving them maximum bottom time.
“It’s one of the best challenges, being able to overcome your mind to be able to push your body to experience something a small percentage of the world gets to see,” said Brandon Verdura. Before beginning a dive, divers practice what is called a breathe-up. This is where they slow their heart rate and prepare to fill their lungs to maximum capacity, to dive for as long as possible. Special fins reaching over three feet in length, are used to provide maximum bend and thus propel the diver downward with as much force as possible with minimal energy so oxygen is not wasted on the descent, but rather exploring what lays beneath the surface.
To Florida residents who may be reading this, or anyone who is planning to travel to the Sunshine State in the future… Want to give it a go? You’re in luck. Florida offers many options for perfectly conditioned dive locations year-round. Some of Brandon’s favorite locations include Ginnie Springs, Seven Sisters, Wekiwa Springs, Blue Springs, Crystal River and more. All Florida springs pump out crystal clear fresh water at a constant temperature of 72 degrees, making it swimmable all year, although a wetsuit is advised due to the chilly temperatures, which can drastically cut breath-hold time.
Few people dare to risk their lives for something only personally pleasing, but that’s what makes this sport so unique. The experience one has beneath the surface, completely on their own, is special to them in a way only a limited number of people can relate to.
Interested in purchasing one of Brandon’s photograph prints to decorate your home, work space, or give as a gift? All of Brandon’s photo are available for print orders on his website.