Robert Michelson of Braintree, Massachusetts has been a professional photographer/videographer and owner of Photography By Michelson, Inc. since 1974. In addition to his photographic background, Bob became a certified SCUBA diver in 1979. He acquired his Divemaster rating in 1982, followed by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors' (PADI) Specialty Instructor ratings in Underwater Photography in 1983, Underwater Video in 1995 and Underwater Naturalist in 2007. In 1999 he became certified as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Science Diver.
Bob co-founded and served as dive supervisor and surface and underwater photographer/videographer from 1984 through 1989 for the Quincy, Massachusetts Environmental Inspection Unit, the first unit ever formed in New England to monitor pollution and its effects on Boston Harbor and surrounding waters. Documented evidence gathered by Bob on behalf of the City of Quincy, helped force the now federally mandated clean-up of Boston Harbor.
His photography and articles have appeared in: In-Fisherman, Salt Water Sportsman, Chesapeake Bay, The Island Journal, Aquaculture, Arkansas Wildlife, Massachusetts Wildlife, Rescue, Nor'Easter, Offshore, Alert Diver, Rodales Scuba Diving and Scuba Times magazines, as well as The Gulf of Maine Times and many local newspapers. He was also the senior New England environmental news correspondent for Underwater USA, a national monthly newspaper for SCUBA divers from 1988 through 1992 and a regular science contributor to the Patriot Ledger, a large regional daily newspaper in Massachusetts from 1992 through 1994. In 2001, Bob won 1st place honors in The New England Outdoor Writers Association photography contest in the "Transparency-Fauna" division. He has authored and published An Introduction To Underwater Photography in New England, the only handbook available on cold/turbid water Underwater Photography technique.
His video work regularly appears in the New England Aquarium in Boston, and has been featured on the NOVA documentary "Are You Swimming In A Sewer?", on ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and on Boston's ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates, as well as on the WB Channel 56 Ten O'clock News in Boston. Bob was the founder, co-host, executive producer and underwater videographer for the nationally syndicated cable television program Divers Down, a half-hour series about cold water sport SCUBA diving, from 1986 through 1989.
Bob produced a documentary entitled Clean Waters, New Harbor-The Boston Harbor Clean-up Project. This production won first place in the New England Cable Television Association awards held in 1990. In the fall of 1991, his half hour documentary Return From The Sea ...The Restoration of Atlantic Salmon In New England was broadcast on PBS stations throughout the northeastern United States and the Canadian Maritime Provinces. In the spring of 1993 it was subsequently broadcast nationwide on the Discovery Channel, as part of that channel's educational series Assignment Discovery. Return From The Sea won first place honors in the 1991 Massachusetts Community Television Contest in the Documentary/Media Professional category, was a Blue Ribbon finalist in the International Television & Video Association's 1991 awards, and was nominated for the 1992 National Academy of Cable Programming's "Award in Cable Excellence" (ACE Award) in the Documentary Current Events/Issues category. The "ACE" Award is cable televisions highest award for programming.
Bob was also nominated for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences 1992 New England "Emmy" award in the category "Outstanding Individual Achievement/Videography Non-News" for his underwater videography produced for Return from the Sea.
Bob also produced a half hour documentary entitled Return From The Sea...The Restoration of American Shad To The Atlantic Coast. This program made its broadcast debut on WGBH-TV Boston in October of 1994 and has been distributed to other PBS stations along the Atlantic Coast. In conjunction, he produced a short format video entitled Our Coastal Resources: American Shad In Massachusetts. This production won first place in the 1995 New England Cable Television Association's Public Service Awards in the "Education" category. Bob won "Best Science or Nature program by a Media Professional" for his production Our Coastal Resources: Rainbow Smelt In Massachusetts in the 1996 Massachusetts Community Television Contest.
In 1996, he produced the third in a series of half hour documentaries on the restoration of various species of anadromous fish, Return From The Sea...The Restoration of Striped Bass To The Atlantic Coast. This program made its broadcast debut on WLIW-TV, New York on December of that year and on WGBH-TV, Boston beginning in April, 1997, and was distributed to other East Coast PBS stations. Also in 1996, Bob produced Gathering Waters: The Great Bay Watershed and You, a half hour documentary which deals with the issue of Non-Point Source Pollution and its impacts on this sensitive watershed in coastal New Hampshire. Gathering Waters made its broadcast debut on WGBH-TV, Boston during April, 1997.
Bob's underwater footage and edited programs of anadromous fish species are now on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoological Park as part of the Amazonia Science Center's Earth Situation Room. He provided New England underwater reference material for Steven Spielberg's company Dreamworks Productions for use in the feature film In-Dreams. The film was released in theatres nationwide during the winter of 1999.
Bob has also provided reference footage for the Disney TV series Gideon's Crossing. In 2002, he produced footage for the nationally broadcast television series Game Warden Wildlife Journal and Ripley's Believe It Or Not. During 2003, Bob produced Humpback Whale behavior and aerial footage for the History Channel Production "Deep Sea Detectives: SS Portland." New Hampshire Public Television used underwater stock material on several episodes of the series New Hampshire Wildlife Journal. During 2006, Bob's whale behavior footage was used by Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Adventures television series American Adventures. This program was aired nationwide on PBS television station affiliates.
Bob worked with the Quincy, Massachusetts, public school system from 2000 to 2002 to develop and implement local marine curriculum for the Quincy Public Schools. This two-year Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant funded program will become a model for statewide use in educating students about their local marine environment.
Bob formed the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Dive Team in 1999 and worked with NOAA on various projects including writing the curriculum and coordinating the Northeast REEF Fish Identification/Great Annual Fish Count (GAFC) and Northeast Invertebrate/Invasive Specie diver education programs thru 2006.
In 2001, the National Oceanic and Atmospeheric Administration (NOAA) presented Bob with an Environmental Hero Award. He was honored for life-long efforts in educating the public about the diversity of marine life found off the coast of New England. In 2007, he continued coordinating the Northeast Great Annual Fish Count event with the New England Aquarium Dive Club in Boston, MA and Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) in Florida. This annual SCUBA diving event holds the designation of being the largest single day GAFC event in North America for the past six years, with more than 100 divers participating each year. In 2008 Bob will continue working with REEF to update the Northeast REEF Fish ID curriculum and help draft a new curriculum for training divers and snorkelers how to identify and monitor Northeast Invertebrate's and Invasive Species.
Bob is currently working with the US Coast Guard and Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources to document the remains of the 1850 Minot Ledge Lighthouse which went down in the storm of April 17, 1851. Documented evidence gathered by Bob on their behalf will be used in having the original 1850 structure placed on The National Register of Historic Places. A documentary on this subject is in production.
He offers PADI sanctioned Underwater Photography, Underwater Video and Underwater Naturalist courses through Massachusetts dive training centers and travels the Northeast giving seminars and workshops on undersea life and wildlife to school groups and other organizations.