jwArtWorks LLC was formed by Joel and Linda Weisbrod to sell Joel's artistic creations and his scuba photography techniques books. They have been happily married since 1972 and have worked together before in Joel's computer business.
Joel started taking photographs more than 35 years ago using a Minolta XG-1 camera given to him by a friend. After many years of serious reading and experimentation, Joel mastered the techniques required to shoot photographs using the fully manual mode of the camera. After going through several equipment upgrades, Joel is currently using a Nikon F-100 film camera and digital Nikon D2X, D200, and D-100 cameras.
Joel started diving in 1983, more than 20 years ago, but was not certified until 1999. After becoming certified, he quickly felt the need to continue his photographic efforts while diving and started out using a Sea&Sea MX-10 Camera with attached strobe. For almost two years, Joel grappled with the problems of taking 36 photographs while diving and waiting until hours (or days) later to see the results.
When Olympus announced the C-4040 digital camera, Joel was ready again and purchased this camera along with a Tetra housing and lenses (from Light & Motion), Ultralight arms and brackets, YS-90DX strobe (along with cables and bulkheads), rechargeable batteries, and San-Disk 128MB memory cards. Armed with these tools, Joel began mastering his technique for digital underwater photography. After literally hundreds of photographs on dozens of scuba dives, Joel discovered that a different technical discipline was required for underwater digital photography. Joel is still using this setup for his current underwater photography.
When a professional underwater photographer wants to take a specific photograph, he may visit the same dive site over and over. He might go at different times of the day to determine the best time for lighting, the best currents, and even the habits of the desired species. Professional photographers might stay in one spot for the entire dive using multiple tanks and some even have assistants to hold additional strobes.
Knowing this, Joel wondered how the average diver could possibly get acceptable photos. The average diver follows the dive master off the boat and then follows him along the reef until the end of the dive. There may not be time to stop for photographs and certainly not for an entire dive. This knowledge led to the development of a methodology that can be used by average divers who want to get superior photographs.
A few weeks after a dive trip, some friends were looking at his scuba photos and when thinking about their own pictures one of them said ”That does it; I am going to get the same camera gear he has! Then my pictures will look like these!“
This is why he decided to write this book. You see, it really is not the camera, not the strobe, and not the housing or any other parts of the camera outfit that make the difference. Any digital camera with a strobe can be used to take photos like the ones you will see in the book. All you need is a method you can follow and you can do it too.
While writing the book, Joel began to get requests for copies of his powerful landscape and brilliantly colored floral images. Both the book and these requests led Joel and Linda to create jwArtWorks.
The photograph above (using his F-100 Self Timer and HP Scanner) shows Joel and Linda at Yosemite National Park. They are standing in the spot Joel chose to wait for the sunset so he could photograph the Half Dome rock formation during the evening light conditions.