A Vancouver Island cinematographer is diving into the waters below, offering an underwater exposé of marine life and colours seldom seen.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Parksville’s John Roney took it upon himself to step outside, explore and do what he loves most.
“Underwater cinematography has been a passion of mine. It’s my driving passion,” Roney told Victoria Buzz in an interview.
In spring 2020, he grabbed his Panasonic GH5 camera, underwater diving gear and jumped into the ocean surrounding the island to capture nearly two years’ worth of stunning images.
“I’ve been hoping to do some filming in warmer waters, but then as the world started shutting down, I realized that I had an opportunity to really just hone in and film the local marine life,” Roney said.
And just last week, he shared the final product – Beneath the Pacific Northwest. The video has since gone viral, receiving over 38,000 upvotes on Reddit.
Roney credits his partner for helping him pull it all together, as well as his friends within the local dive community – a group he calls “tight-knit.”
“I continued to work as a film editor for the ocean conservation company SeaLegacy, but during my evenings, mornings and weekends, I was out capturing as much of that footage as I could,” he said.
Filming locations were all over the map – from the North Island down to Ogden Point in Victoria and everywhere in between, including Nanoose Bay.
“Diving in our waters here, it’s cold,” Roney explains.
“You have to put on a dry suit with thermal layers underneath that. And even then, your face is still exposed and will get sort of numb over the course of the dive, especially in the winter months.”
“But it’s so worth it.”
According to Roney, that’s because it’s an adventure like no other, where you’re immersed in a completely different world where vibrant colours abound.
“The visibility isn’t anything near the tropics, but at the same time, the colour rivals any tropical diving I’ve ever done. In fact, I’d say it’s more colourful. There are these vibrant pinks and purples and yellows.”
“There’s just so much incredible life to see,” Roney added.
“And what I love most is it’s this completely different world that’s in our own backyard. I think that’s what I love so much about sharing it with others, so few people do know what’s down there.”
Take the deep dive into Roney’s video here: