Photographer dives deep

POIPU — Throughout his life on Kauai, Thomas Green has had a deep love for underwater photography. And as the photographer built up his photos, he established his own gallery, “Fish Eye Kauai.”

Now, the artist has opened a new gallery in Poipu.

“I’m super stoked,” Green said. “One of the reasons I wanted to do underwater photography was to teach people about underwater life.”

Green’s photos include a sunset taken inside a crashing wave, dolphins swimming above coral reefs and a sea turtle lying on the sand beneath a starry night sky. For those who ask, he describes where his shots were taken and how he took the photos.

In order to produce his art, Green uses a gear housing for his Canon 7D camera, which is a plastic, waterproof casing which snaps around the device to prevent water from leaking into it.

When the photographer has set the casing, he then dives down into the ocean and waits for the perfect shot to come his way before he snaps of picture of Kauai’s ocean life.

“I love the animals and I wanted to learn about them,” Green said. “I love being underwater. There’s really no other place I’d rather be.”

While the gallery showcases his work, it also displays other artists’ pieces, including that of his good friend Seth Womble, who helped to paint the gallery’s ocean wave-like floor.

“I’m thrilled,” Womble said about the opening of the gallery. “I think it’s great. I’ve been a self-proclaimed artist but I never thought of being in a gallery. There’s something easier and lighter about this gallery.”

Having studied art in Australia, Womble is a mural painter with a background in sculpting. One of the artist’s works is a painting of whales and ocean waves carved into a recycled surf board.

Many of the pieces in Green’s gallery come from recycled materials, such as jewelry made from shells found on Kauai’s beaches. The gallery also features paintings in addition to the jewelry, sculptures and photos created by local artists.

“Locally made products are really important to the economy,” Green said. “It’s helping people who live here and the stuff is really cool.”

Originally displaying his art in different shows throughout the island, Green wanted to have a gallery where he and other artists could display their Kauai-made works.

Unfortunately, no gallery on the island would take Green’s pieces, despite the fact that Green had been taking photos on Kauai for four years.

However, it was this rejection that inspired the artist to create Fish Eye Kauai.

As the photographer searched for a place to showcase his works, he discovered his first gallery’s location on Kauai’s North Shore in Princeville. Although Green had tried to find a place in Poipu, he had been unsuccessful until six months after he opened his first gallery.

After receiving a call that a location had opened on the South Shore, Green decided to open a second showcase.

“I never dreamed of owning one gallery, let alone two,” he said. “This may never have happened if any of the galleries on the island started carrying my stuff.”

Fish Eye Kauai can be found at 4280 Kukui Highway in Princeville and at 2360 Kiahuna Plantation Drive in Poipu.

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