We are really happy to introduce our new SUBTECH AMBASSADOR, Ashleigh Baird who’s a competitive freediver and a very talented underwater photographer.
We checked in to hear more about how she got in to the sport of freediving, her favorite place to dive on and if she has any tips on how to capture a really good underwater image as well as future plans.
-How did you get in to freediving and underwater photography?
Growing up in Florida gave me a lot of opportunities to be in and around the water, so I developed a love for being underwater at an early age. I took my first freediving course in college and have been doing it ever since – both recreationally and as a competitor.
I discovered my love for photography in college as well, but freediving always came first so I didn’t invest in photography gear until recently. Luckily, I’ve been surrounded by a lot of friends who were also freedive photographers, so before I was able to start shooting on my own I was able to learn a lot by watching them work and asking them lots of questions along the way.
– Do you got any tips on how to capture your spectacular underwater images?
I’d say to get the most out of shooting underwater, one should take the time to become really mentally comfortable in the water (having a good breath hold is obviously also very helpful). Taking a freediving course will lay the foundation needed to do this safely, but finding comfort only comes by spending a lot of time in the water and developing a love for it. Once you’re comfortable and the dive techniques have become like second nature, you can really start to focus your mental energy on the shots and being creative rather than the dive itself. These skills can be very beneficial for those wishing to model underwater as well.
– Where is your favourite spot on earth to dive on?
That’s a tough question. I’ve been lucky enough to dive some really incredible places, but currently I’d say my favorite place to dive is right here in Florida. I really love the multitude of springs in this area, and although they are not deep they provide endless opportunities for photos and adventures no matter what time of year or what the weather is like. They are just stunning.
– How do you use your SUBTECH products?
I never travel without my SUBTECH laptop case, it adds a solid layer of protection from the rest of my diving and photography equipment, and keeps it safe from wet gear, rain and sand if I’m camping.
I also love my quick-dry beanie and keep it in my dive bag for windy days on the water. Wind can negatively impact my sinuses so keeping my head and ears covered between sessions is a must.
The PRO DRYBAG 45L has become my catch-all for my camera and dive gear. It is big enough to hold everything I need, and the Smart Pack System (Small) keeps the more sensitive items like lenses protected and easy to access. If I’m traveling or out on a boat in rough conditions, I’ll inflate the Shockproof Inflatable System just to make sure everything stays safe in case things get tossed around.
“Right off the bat, I was impressed with how well-made it is. The design of the whole bag is really, really well thought out.”
Down below you can check out the video to hear what Ashleigh has to say about the bag herself:
– Do you got any exciting upcoming plans you would like to share?
I’m currently planning to do some depth training in Hawaii later this summer, and possibly spend some time in Croatia afterwards. If training progresses well, I’d also love to start competing again this fall if travel restrictions can safely be lifted. Getting back to depth is my biggest priority right now.
We are stoked to have Ashleigh on our team and can’t wait to develop more bags with feedback from her competitive freediving experience as well as underwater photography.
To follow Ashleigh and check out her mind blowing underwater images you can check out her instagram profile @deepleigh LINK.