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On the cover of the August issue of National Geographic, two divers float through a mysterious underwater world. The image is one of many taken by Wes Skiles, a pioneer of underwater photography and filmmaking. He died Wednesday at age 52 while filming off the coast of Florida, his home state.

Skiles began diving when he was jus eight years old. He spoke to NPR earlier this year.

Mr. WES SKILES (Freelance Photographer): The water world has just been a natural thing for me ever since I was born. I took to the water quite like a fish. I'm a Pisces, it kind of goes hand in hand.


Wes Skiles was known as a passionate conservationist and a relentless explorer. He worked closely with scientists and National Geographic to study what had previously been inaccessible.

Mr. SKILES: I'm very appreciative of the fact that I'm in a very interesting niche world that is about true exploration and discovery.

MONTAGNE: Wes Skiles died on Wednesday. You can see his photos, including the National Geographic cover at

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