philsokol | SmugMug

Your Bio


Thanks for visiting my photo site. In 2008, my passion for scuba diving and travel had me begin to take my photography more seriously, invest in good equipment, and devote myself to try and push my images to something beyond a typical snapshot. I try not to get all philosophical or strive for any arty pretensions - I create images that I enjoy as an expression, to challenge myself, and push my creativity. To that end, I find myself expanding my interests and subjects beyond just the underwater realm. This is clearly an ongoing process, an opportunity to learn, discover, and be surprised.

I have been fortunate to have had some excellent teachers and mentors as well as traveled with and run across others of great knowledge and skill who have pointed (sometimes pushed) me down the path. I am honored to have had many of my underwater images recognized in several international photo competitions, published in Scuba Diving and Nature's Best Photography magazines, on permanent display at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Oceanography Institute, as well as hung in the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Oceanside (Ca.) Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

The purpose of this site is twofold. First, to present the images I'm really proud of or that others have deemed worthy. These "Portfolio" galleries provide a great starting point into my areas of interest. The second purpose of the site is to share with friends, family and traveling companions a more extensive collection from a given trip or event, sort of a photographic journal of my travels and adventures.

A note about the galleries: "Underwater" speaks for itself, but may include "people" or "landscapes" from the same trip. Of course, I was probably "traveling" at the time. And "underwater" necessarily implies "nature", although not necessarily vice versa. And many of the HDR shots were taken while "traveling" to pursue "underwater", "nature", "landscape" or "people" images. I may even split the galleries if the trip had two distinct aspects. So the categories only loosely define the images you'll find there.

Finally, if you're interested in an image for yourself or friends, please know that I donate all cash proceeds from my photography to charitable causes, usually ocean and wildlife conservation. So think of a professionally printed, limited edition, signed image as your special gift for helping preserve both wild life and wild places. I'll be adding updates as to the amounts and the organizations as they're made. Please feel free to contact me at for any special requests.

Thanks again!


Gallery Categories


6 galleries with 317 photos

Updated: Dec 12, 2014 11:14am PST


25 galleries with 864 photos

Updated: Feb 07, 2013 5:38pm PST


9 galleries with 458 photos

Updated: Nov 30, 2014 5:01pm PST


3 galleries with 119 photos

Updated: Feb 10, 2013 5:10pm PST


5 galleries with 204 photos

Updated: Feb 07, 2013 5:12pm PST


1 gallery with 38 photos

Updated: Dec 02, 2014 5:37pm PST


2 galleries with 42 photos

Updated: Sep 02, 2013 8:40pm PST

Yours Truly

1 gallery with 5 photos

Updated: Sep 14, 2014 10:23am PST


2 galleries with 66 photos

Updated: Sep 22, 2014 7:02am PST


1 gallery with 43 photos

Updated: Dec 12, 2014 11:28am PST