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Diving Dogs

Underwater DogsPet Photographer Seth Casteel’s new book makes a big splash

We all know dogs love to swim and dive for tennis balls. And every day, photographers enjoy snapping photos of adorable pets. But when Seth Casteel combined the two, he discovered that the end result is like no other. Earlier this year, Casteel began posting his unique photos of dogs diving in the water—highlighting their goofy smiles, giant teeth, and flowing fur—on his website: LittleFriendsPhoto.com. Fans began reposting the images other places online, and the response was unbelievable. Casteel became an overnight sensation: To date his images have garnered more than 150 million views on social media sites.

TAILS November 2012 CoverJust in time for the holidays, Casteel has compiled his favorite photos in a gorgeous coffee-table book, aptly named Underwater Dogs (Little, Brown and Company). Eighty individual portraits reveal new sides of our old friends with vibrant underwater photography. You’ll find it impossible to look away.

Docile Dachshunds? Lazy Labs? It may appear that way on land, but under the water Casteel captures the true personalities of our canine friends, unlocking their inner sharks and primal instincts. “I’m drawn to the emotions of dogs because they have a similar range of emotions as we do. It’s fun to see [their] exaggerated expressions,” Casteel says.

Casteel is driven by his desire to uncover an unseen side of dogs. “I do what makes the pets happy. I don’t put them in the studio. I do it on their terms and embrace what they like to do,” Casteel says. “It’s unpredictable, and that’s when you get really exciting photos.”

Seth Casteel and Nala

Seth Casteel and Nala

One of our favorite parts of the story: Casteel is truly in it for the animals and is committed to giving back. In 2011 he founded Second Chance Photos, a non-profit organization that teaches shelter employees and volunteers how to take better photographs of shelter pets, which increases adoptions and saves lives. “My goal is to give people the tools to do this themselves,” Casteel says. “Anyone can become a better photographer, and you can save lives with one picture. All it takes is one picture.”

Casteel plans to use Underwater Dogs as a vehicle to raise money for Second Chance Photos. He will be conducting shelter workshops in cities across the country while on his book tour. Be sure to check TAILS event listings to find a workshop in your area.

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