Chris Gug, underwater photographer

Chris Gug—an innovative and heralded underwater photographer—recalls growing up “landlocked” in Connecticut, enchanted by the sea and dreaming of becoming an underwater photographer, but meanwhile shooting all sorts of pictures locally, until, at 15, having purchased scuba gear and an underwater camera, he fulfilled his dream with his first ocean adventure.


Acknowledging that he launched his career without any formal photography training or education, Gug describes components of his self-taught path, notably marked early on by a seven-year stint in the Turks and Caicos, where he lived on a boat in order to dive and shoot photos every day. He explains the learning and experimenting that occurred during that period and in subsequent years, and how he arrived at a signature style. Gug also addresses some of the more disturbing things he’s seen in his extensive travels above and below the sea—he’s now shot in some 40 countries—including instances of shark finning and the horrors of gill netting, spurring him to endeavor to use his images to help spread a marine-conservation message, and seize educational opportunities whenever he can. Partly in response to a listener’s question, Gug explains how digital technology has altered his methods from the film-only days, noting that while he’s been steeped in Photoshop for numerous years, none of the images displayed on the Gug Underwater website have been manipulated that way. He spends a few minutes chronicling the details behind a few of his images I singled out, including “Jumping For Joy,” (below) “Shark In The Dark,” (bottom image) and “Turtle In Motion” (above). Photos by Chris Gug/Gug Underwater  (




ALSO: I spoke briefly with Chris Rusnak, of Nature’s Classroom in Thonotosassa, FL, about its then-forthcoming “Woods, Water and Wildlife” open house, featuring art displays, live music, children’s activities, animal handling, and more.

COMEDY CORNER: Joe Zimmerman’s “Crows” (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: The Who’s “Boris The Spider”


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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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