I have considered myself a freelance photographer since 2015 specialising in oceanography and seascape.

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I am now 18 years old and have lived on the Gold Coast all my life, however I have been really lucky having been able to travel and explore some parts of our amazing country and recently to Moorea, Tahiti.



I first discovered my love for underwater photography along the Coral Coast of Northern Queensland swimming alongside beautiful marine life and some truly amazing reefs.

Photography has become such a huge part of my life and as things are changing in our natural world i’m now aware of the urgency to protect our marine life and corals that are dying. I want to help preserve and protect our ocean by showing people what we cannot afford to lose and hopefully never will.



What is your favourite photo you have taken?

I’d have to say my favourite photo that I’ve taken is ‘Surfacing’ which is the image of the turtle surfacing for air at sunset on Heron Island. I love it because this turtle let me swim by her side for ages without feeling threatened by my presence, it almost felt like we bonded through it. I followed her, taking so many photos and was happy with how they came out from what I could see. Then the unexpected happen, she began to surface with the sunlight behind her and ever so slowly floated to the surface making for a perfect photo.


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What do you want to show people with your photographs ?

I want people to have greater appreciation for our Ocean. After all, the majority of Earth is made up of it. The creatures living in it are so misunderstood and mistreated by some. I cannot help people understand what it’s like to be around them in their environment unless they experience it for themselves. So through my photographs I want to portray their beauty so others might want to experience it for themselves. To have a greater understanding for them and want to protect them as much as I do.


Where do you go to take your photos?

My photos are taken mostly around the coastlines of Australia, besides the ones that were taken in Tahiti. I started off professionally taking them in the Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns and Denmark, Western Australia. I have taken a few photos on the Gold Coast at places like Tallebudgera Creek, Burleigh rocks, Coolangatta and Main beach, which are fantastic at high tide. We don’t have a lot of marine life  on the Gold Coast so I normally photograph people underwater.


Can you tell us a bit about this photo?  

This photograph was taken in Moorea, Tahiti in early September 2017. I had joined an expedition with six other marine lovers to swim with humpback whales during their breeding season. When we came across this very inquisitive Oceanic White Tip we took the opportunity to get in the water with it. I’ve swam with many black tip reef sharks so I wasn’t expecting the experience nor the feeling to be any different but it wasn’t at all what I expected. He would swim around us very closely as if he was sussing us out, not in the hunter/prey style, more like he couldn’t tell what we were and what we were thinking of him. We spent something around 40 minutes floating in the deep blue with this Oceanic, it was one of the most memorable parts of the trip.

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Can you tell us a bit about this photo? How does it feel being so close to such huge animals?

This photograph was also taken in Moorea and surprisingly, it was one of the most rushed encounters we experienced, it was over in a matter of seconds. It was getting towards the end of the day and we had jumped in the water several times already. We saw two adult humpbacks breaching not far from us. The male was in hot pursuit for the female who didn’t seem all to interested in his attention. It was incredible to see them move so fast and powerfully through the water, it was intense to be near. Because they are so aware of us and truly are gentle, intelligent creatures,  I’m not scared of their size. But I wouldn’t have liked to have been any closer to them in that moment though.


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What is your opinion on the Gold Coast’s attitude towards marine conservation?

I’m sure there are many people on the Gold Coast who share a passion and concern for the preservation of all marine life i.e. those trying to protect the Seaway (or the Spit) from development. However, there may be more who take the natural world in all its forms for granted and are simply be unaware of what is going on.

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What are you plans for 2018?

I plan on making my way to Ningaloo Reef around the start of the new year to swim with whales and tiger sharks. I’ll be going back to Cairns/Port Douglas in September and I’m very certain i’ll be going back to Moorea again in June. I’m currently looking at making a trip down to Montague Island in NSW as its renowned for its amount of sea lions.


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You can check out more of Ellythea’s photography on her website and don’t forget to follow her on instagram (@ellythea_).


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