Check out these images that Myfanwy Rowlands, Our World Underwater Scholarship Society's 2009 North American Rolex Scholar, shot in the early stages of her journey.
"I am an aspiring Conservation Photographer," Myfanwy Rowlands says. "These images are a sample of my young portfolio, but because I have yet to 'put them to work' for conservation goals, they do not satisfy the mission of true conservation photography. I hope to use this year to begin my first real foray into conservation photography of the underwater world. There are a growing number of photographers employing their talents to create a genre of the highest-quality photography designed to work alongside the most ambitious goals of conservation."
Image 1 Birds rest on a dead branch on Bird Island, Tetiaroa Atoll, French Polynesia. Bird Island is separated from the main atoll by a narrow channel of water, making it impossible for rats to infiltrate and prey upon eggs. It has been designated a protected sea bird sanctuary. Although you can circumnavigate it on foot in less than 15 minutes, it is the largest of its kind in French Polynesia.
Image 2 A newly independent young grizzly bear pads through the rain in Jackson Hole, WY.
Image 3 A yellow-bellied marmot stares into the lens early one morning on top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.
Image 4 Two friends stroll across the lagoon at low tide in Kavulik Village, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea.
Image 5 A village boy casually uses a machete half his size in Malom Village, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea. Children are trusted with machetes soon after they learn to walk.
Image 6 Two boys from Malom village prepare to launch their homemade raft into the waves in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. The boys have put a couple of kulau (young coconuts) on the raft; they'll crack the kulau open and drink the juice if they get dehydrated.
Image 7 A member of Fungia, a Genus of free-living hard coral, basks in the light on a reef in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.
Image 8 A "sea pearl" catches the light in my hand while diving in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. These iridescent, grayish-purple spheres are a type of algae.
Image 9 A small crab peeks through the branches of a Poscillopora colony he has claimed as his own.
Image 10 This bulbous-looking thing is a type of hard coral that extends its bubble-shaped tentacles throughout the day. To give the photo a blue tint, I set my white balance to Tungsten while underwater and experimented with what I saw.
Image 11 A sea fan clings to an overhang in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. After settling on the sand under the overhang, my buddy shined his dive light through the fan, and from the other side I snapped a picture.
Image 12 A day before I was supposed to leave New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, a local man came to our office and asked if we might help recover his boat engine, which had sank in about 20 meters of water. I could not dive (having a flight early the next morning), so I volunteered as snorkel support. I was intrigued by my reflection in the bubbles sent up from the divers below, and played around with a black and white setting on the camera until this shot came through.
Read more about Rowlands's "Grand Green Plans" on page 18 of the September issue of Sport Diver magazine.