As a child I ran wild across the piney woods and plains of the Texas Gulf Coast and never very far from the fresh and salt waters which abound there. I was a competitive athlete, not born with a camera in hand, but rather drawn to the paint brush. But somewhere about the time I misplaced my paint box I picked up a second-hand Nikon F and a 50 mm f1.2 lens. Oh joy! I loved the feel of it, the sound of it, the mechanical precision of it, and the low-light photography possible with it. There followed the long, self-taught learning curve. Even after 45 years, that curve hasn’t ended.
Education began at the University of Texas, Austin, constantly switching fields of study, with a degree earned at UCLA. My professional life is also an olio, mirroring all the disciplines with which I’ve been fascinated (lifeguard, swim instructor, fashion model, broadcaster, dive instructor and more). The allure of the ocean held fast, and ultimately, with my savings, I abandoned all reason and started up, with my dive buddy in Los Angeles, a diving-services company.
The Morgan/O’Neill Underwater Co. was a uniquely multi-faceted company providing photography, all levels of sport-diving instruction, film industry marine support, and program development. We authored many articles and columns, contributed to several books, and wrote one of our own, When Women Dive. Dedicated conservationists consumed with interest in all life, we also produced what I believe was the first marine life multi-media education program, Neptune’s Children. It has been used in diving programs, science classes, oceanography and tide-pool programs and even in the military.
I remain an avid outdoor photographer, both wet and not. I’m still running in the woods, across the globe, often toward the sea – perhaps fundamentally not changing much at all. My camera is rarely far from hand, and while I love the mountains, I can never quite happily wait until I’m in the water once again.
© 2015 Erin O’Neill Photography. All Rights Reserved.
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