Underwater Cinematographer Reveals the Marine Life off the Coast of Western Canada

Octopus Underwater Off Vancouver Island

Underwater cinematographer John Roney is at home in the water. So it should come as no surprise that while spending much of the pandemic close to home on Canada's Vancouver Island, he found himself exploring local marine life. Roney, who also works as a video editor for SeaLegacy, recently published a stunning video of what he found—and the results are incredible.

Roney's work shows how the waters of the Pacific Northwest are teeming with life. From octopi to jellyfish, each animal is captured in rich detail. By setting his work to dramatic music, Roney takes us on a cinematic journey underwater and proves that there's so much to see beneath the surface.

“What surprised me most when I first began diving was the sheer amount of color in our waters—entire walls of purples, yellows, and pinks,” Roney tells My Modern Met. “I think this is something most people still don’t realize, and it’s one of my favorite things to share.”

The inspiration for this project came from the questions Roney would receive from onlookers while he was diving. When he would surface, they would ask if he saw anything interesting. So rather than let them take his word for it, he decided to use his skills and show them.

John Roney Underwater Cinematography

Roney also hopes that his video will raise awareness about western Canada's marine ecosystem. As he's passionate about ocean conservation, it's important to him that more people understand what life lives below the surface of these waters.

“I want locals from Vancouver Island to feel the same pride for marine life in these waters that they do for our forests and mountains,” he shares. “And I’m not just talking about the famous orcas and salmon, but all of the incredible species that call these waters home; giant plumose anemones, Puget Sound king crabs, wolf eels, and everything in between. We have this incredibly diverse ecosystem right in our own backyard that needs protecting and yet because of the many challenges of cold-water diving, few people have had the opportunity to see what lies beneath.

“If people are going to fight to protect this ecosystem, they have to know what they stand to lose. My goal is to help people to fall in love with the animals they never even knew existed.”

Underwater cinematographer John Roney spent the pandemic exploring the waters off Vancouver Island.

John Roney: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by John Roney.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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