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Breathtaking Underwater Photos Help Save Sea Life

August 14, 2014

Underwater photographer Richard Salas' work benefits the seas in more than one way — his images serve to educate viewers about sea life, and he donates 50 percent of all profits to The Ocean Foundation.

Luminous Sea, scheduled for release in the spring of 2015, is the final installment of Salas' trilogy of photography books showcasing creatures of the deep ocean. He's traveled from the equator to Alaska in pursuit of mesmerizing photos.

"My main intent is to introduce people to these wonderful beings beneath the waves," Salas explained to weather.com, "especially to folks who will never have the opportunity to see them up close and personal."

The upcoming book will feature images taken in the waters from Washington to Alaska. Though the water is a chilly 43 degrees on average, the photographer reports on his website that the seas are chock full of life, with more creatures per square inch than its tropical counterparts.

Sporting thermal underwear, a wetsuit, and, of course, his cumbersome photography equipment, Salas does not have an easy job. Getting to a dive site can be rough, especially during foul weather; clouds can cut visibility at the depths he reaches, but he pushes on.

Salas was inspired to begin his project while scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands. As he watched hundreds of scalloped hammerhead sharks swim by, he felt determined to give these powerful beings a voice. "They couldn't tell us that their numbers had gone down 90 percent in the last 50 to 60 years and that they were in trouble of becoming extinct," he shared. "So I started to learn and speak out in lectures about them and all sea life."

In fact, according to Scientific American, scalloped hammerheads are among the most threatened migratory sharks. But the sharks are just one of the many sea creatures that have been Salas' focus. From seals to candycane shrimp to wolf eels, Salas has photographed a diverse collection of sea life, which, he says, is often luck of the draw. "I almost never know what I'm going to get photographically, since the captains of the dive boats anchor where they think is best and I just jump in and see what I can find," Salas said. "I like not knowing what I might happen to come upon."

View the above slideshow for some of Salas' stunning images. For more information, visit his Indiegogo page.

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