Richard Salas was first introduced to diving and underwater photography as a student at Brooks Institute of Photography.

Richard Salas was first introduced to diving and underwater photography as a student at Brooks Institute of Photography. (Courtesy of Richard Salas)

The Wildling Museum invites the community to join a virtual event honoring the museum’s Wilderness Spirit awardee, underwater photographer Richard Salas, 4-5 p.m.  Sunday, June 6 via livestream.

Salas’ work embodies the Wildling Museum’s mission of bringing art and nature together as a means of preserving wild spaces. He has spent a lifetime under water, capturing extraordinary images of marine creatures, from sharks and seals to the smallest sea life.

Salas is an advocate for the oceans and their inhabitants, and has written and published books documenting his adventures.

Attendees will enjoy an event featuring live and prerecorded tributes to Salas, as well as a live presentation by Salas, along with underwater video footage.

“While I realize that as an individual, I have never been more than a drop of water in the face of the vastness of the ocean, I have also seen that as a species, our collective weight is having a profound and harmful impact on our seas,” Salas said.

“With my lights and lots of patience, I create dimensionality in my photographs of these beings so that they may leap off the page to meet and greet the viewer,” he said. “Through my images, I hope to convey the profound sense of oneness with the underwater world that I feel when I am diving.

“I am committed to using my art to spark in others both a reverence and a sense of responsibility for all ocean life.”

Advance registration is required. Admission starts at $50-$250 per household with various benefits, see website for full list. To buy tickets or to sponsor the event, visit www.wildlingmuseum.org/news/2021-wilderness-spirit-award, or call 805-686-8315.

A California native, Salas is a graduate from Brooks Institute of Photography, where he was mentored by Ernest Brooks II and first introduced to diving and underwater photography.

Salas has worked professionally in digital media for some 25 years. His distinct approach to bringing out the texture and depth of his underwater subjects is informed by years of experience in lighting products and people.

He has authored three books of photography, including “Sea of Light: Underwater Photography of California’s Channel Islands,” “Blue Visions: Underwater Photography from the Mexican Border to the Equator,” and “Luminous Sea: Underwater Photography from Washington to Alaska.”

Thanks to Silver Sponsor Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Bronze Sponsors Rich and Janice Nagler and Gail Persoon; and thanks to the Wildling’s Wine Sponsor, Beckmen Vineyards.

For more about the Wildling Museum, visit www.wildlingmuseum.org.