More than 3300 PADI Instructors, Divers, and PADI Facebook Fans voted in the 2011 PADI Diving Society Member Card Contest. Read about the winner, Dixie Greenwood and her winning image of a white-spotted eagle ray.
Name: Dixie Greenwood
Professional level: PADI Master Instructor
Number of dives: 1200+
PADI Diving Society (Society): Tell us a little about yourself as a PADI Instructor.
Dixie Greenwood (DG): I was certified as a PADI Open Water Diver in 1984, became a PADI Instructor in 1988 and received my PADI Master Instructor rating in 1994. For the past 18 years my husband Jim and I have operated our own dive business (Long Point Divers) in Port Dover, Ontario, Canada which is a small community on the north shore of Lake Erie.
(Society): What is the best part about being a PADI Instructor?
(DG): I’m a very social person, so for me the best part of being a PADI Instructor is meeting so many interesting people, sharing my love of diving with them and making lifelong friendships. Most of our close friends and my best friend are all former students!
(Society): As an Underwater Photographer Instructor – what tips do you share with your students?
(DG): I always tell my students to read as many books, magazines and articles as you can on underwater photography. You can learn so many great tips and techniques from other amateur and professional photographers. I’m a self taught underwater photographer and my first underwater camera was a Nikonos V. The original PADI Underwater Photography and Macro manuals were an invaluable source of information for me. Many of the techniques I now use have come from articles I have read in magazines and on the internet.
On the practical side, my best tip for students is to master your buoyancy skills before you take a camera underwater. Then, get close to your subject but never disturb or harass marine life, take several shots of the subject (not just one or two) and most of all have fun!
(Society): Tell us more about your winning photo (left)
(DG): Local diving for me is in the cooler waters of Lake Erie and a few small quarries. I don’t get many opportunities to use my underwater camera at home so we try to make two dive trips per year to the Caribbean. I’m more of a fish portrait and macro photographer and my favourite dive destination is Bonaire which truly is a Diver’s Paradise. The eagle ray photo was taken on Bonaire in May 2010 in approx. 15 feet of water at a dive site called Invisibles. The camera system used was a Nikon D70s digital SLR camera, Nikon 10.5mm fisheye lens, SUBAL housing and Sea&Sea YS-110 strobe.
Eagle rays were being regularly observed at this dive site, and as Jim’s favourite underwater fish, we headed to the site around 7:00am to hopefully see one. This would be my second dive trying out my new fisheye lens. We had just entered the water around 7:30am when we spotted 2 eagle rays hunting in the shallows. The rays circled away from us so we stopped and positioned ourselves in the sand to watch. The larger ray suddenly turned and headed directly towards us, and started hunting in the sand for food. It wasn’t paying any attention to us so I moved very slowly towards the ray until I was approximately 3 feet from it. I was able to get this image and a few others before it turned and swam away.
(Society): What made you decide to enter the contest?
(DG): I’ve always admired other underwater photographers for their talents, but have never felt confident enough with my images to enter contests. It wasn’t until I captured this photo, and with the encouragement of family and friends that I decided I could compete with the talents of past winners. As a PADI member for over 25 years I felt this was the perfect contest to enter.
(Society): What is the best part about being a PADI Diving Society member (PADI Americas region*)?
(DG): Being a PADI Diving Society Member has many benefits, but I do like the variety of information and resources that are available on the PADI website and in Sport Diver magazine. Also, as a Society member a portion of my membership fees is dedicated to supporting the efforts of the Project AWARE Foundation whose mandate is to conserve underwater environments and that is very important to me.
(Society): Which Society membership benefits* are you taking advantage of?
(DG):I take advantage of the discounts available on hotels and I thoroughly enjoy reading Sport Diver magazine.
(Society): When you’re not diving, what type of activities are you involved in?
(DG):When I’m not diving, I enjoy land photography, boating, motorcycle riding and travelling. In addition to the dive business, I work full-time as a senior fisheries technician for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Photos: Courtesy of Dixie Greenwood
Want the 2011 Society card? Join PADI Diving Society today and stay tuned to padi.com and PADI's Facebook page to learn more about the PADI Diving Society, the 2012 Member Card Photo Contest and more!
*Depending on where you reside, as a PADI Diving Society you can enjoy many exciting benefits. Magazine publications vary by region. Visit padidivingsociety.com for more details.