Al Hornsby Receives DEMA’s 2017 Reaching Out Award

Al Hornsby Receives DEMA’s 2017 Reaching Out Award

Al Hornsby Receives DEMA’s 2017 Reaching Out Award

Al Hornsby is a well-known diving and wildlife photographer, dive industry executive, author and environmental advocate. Having learned to dive at the age of 12 when his family moved to the Pacific island of Guam, the course of his life has been driven by his combined loves of diving, wildlife and the natural world.

His early appreciation of the beauty and wonder of nature was fostered by his father, Rogers, who grew up in the forests of rural Alabama. Rogers’ deep-seated respect and knowledge of animal life grew out of his own life experience, perhaps influenced spiritually by his Creek (Native American Indian) family ancestry. Some of Al’s earliest – and favorite – childhood memories are of silently leaning against the trunk of a hickory nut tree with his father, deep in a dark wood, waiting for the sun to rise and for the creatures of the forest to emerge. In his father’s words, “If we can sit here, real quiet and still, the animals will often come to us. If they don’t notice us, they may walk right up. And if they do realize that we are here, they may be curious and come closer, ‘cause they’ll need to figure out if we are a danger to them or not….so, just be very quiet, boy, and you’ll see what I mean. And, what’s best, we won’t have bothered them at all…”

Al’s photography and magazine assignments take him to some of the world’s most beautiful and exciting natural places, with interactions with wildlife, especially big animals such as sharks, whales, mantas, bears, crocodiles, Komodo dragons and big cats, his favorite moments. Having been constantly published over the past 35 years has provided him with a large library of experiences and imagery, portions of which are shared throughout this website.

What’s most special to him, however, according to Al, is that he is now getting to experience his childhood wonder of nature all over again, through the eyes of his ten-year old daughter, Juliet. Not only his constant snorkeling companion and free diving model, she is also a budding wildlife photographer in her own right, already having a number of published images to her credit.

Professionally, along with his photography and writing efforts, Al has been in leadership roles in the recreational diving industry for 40 years, as a longtime executive for PADI (the Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and PADI Instructor; former Group Publisher and Editorial Director of Skin Diver Magazine; was a frequent Board member of the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA, the dive industry’s international trade organization), including having served as its President for 6 years; and was a founding Board member and Vice President of the Recreational Scuba Training Council (the training standards’ body for the global dive industry). Environmentally, Al was a founder and the Secretary of the Board of the well-known Project AWARE organization and its managing director for its first 9 years of operations; as well as having served on the Boards and advisory boards of a number of other environmental organizations.

Along with hundreds of published magazine articles, Al has authored three books, This Is the Caribbean; The Retail Dive Store: Management and Operations; and Face to Face: Up Close with Mother Nature, published in 2016. co-authored a third, Diving With Sharks, and was a featured contributor in Fifty Places to Dive Before You Die. His ocean-related poetry is included in the anthology, Poets of the Deep, and he released an original music album, “Dolphin’s Dance” in 1990.

Al notes: “For any visitor to this website who loves wildlife and nature but has never experienced diving and snorkeling, you are missing an opportunity to discover the incredible richness of our planet at its very core. I’d urge you to find out more about diving and the underwater world, which can open the door to experiencing nature in ways that are otherwise beyond imagination. A click here: About Diving is all you need”.   Al