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About Donelle Ehritt

photo of Donelle Ehritt

I started scuba diving in 1990 with my friend Marie. After becoming certified divers, we took annual vacations together for several years. Our first dive trip was on a cruise that included a full day of diving the coral reefs in Pennekamp, Florida and another in St. Thomas. Marie and I nearly killed ourselves due to our inexperience but we were definitely hooked. We later went diving in Hawaii and several times in Isla Mujeres, an island off the Yucatan coast.

At first I did not try any underwater photography. In fact, other than the occasional family photo, I had no experience taking pictures. But I was so fascinated by the extraordinary variety of ocean life and amazing colors underwater that I wanted to record them for myself and others.

Initially, I shot all my underwater pictures with a simple disposable camera. In 1994 I got serious and switched to a Nikonos V dedicated underwater camera. I continue to use film as I still feel the color saturation and resolution of film produce results that are superior to digital photos.

I currently have several Nikonos V cameras with various lenses and extension tubes for macro shots. My husband Don learned to dive in 2001 and he always carries a camera down for me, allowing me to use two on every dive. I usually set up one for macro and the other for wide angle. We’ve gotten pretty proficient at switching cameras underwater.

All my photos are developed commercially into color slides. Originally, I printed them in a traditional darkroom using Ilfachrome processing with equipment located at Bay Photo Lab in Santa Cruz. When their facilities were no longer available for printing, I began to print at home, scanning slides into my computer and then printing them on various types of paper. I also do all my own framing and matting.

All photos were shot on 35mm film, Fuji Velvia 50 and 100.

When not diving, I am an audiologist in Santa Cruz and Watsonville, small cities located about 75 miles south of San Francisco.