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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

ETSU's Carter Warden contributes underwater photos to National Geographic

Carter Warden and his underwater work follow:
Carter Warden and his underwater work follow:
Additional photos below »

May 18, 2015

JOHNSON CITY — Carter Warden, East Tennessee State University's assistant director of student activities, loves underwater photography and videography.

He first began photographing paddlefish in Sweetwater during 2008. Paddlefish are called "primitive fish" because they have evolved with few changes and fossil records of the fish date back over 300 million years.

Last summer, Warden received an email from National Geographic. Warden says, "They told me that Zeb Hogan's WILD Series, "Monster Fish,' was being made into an exhibit at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., and they were putting together a companion educational book. One species being featured was going to be the paddlefish, and they wanted to use my pictures."

Underwater life has always fascinated Warden. "One of my favorite television shows when I was little," he says, "was "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.' I remember at the age of 10, I created my own "scuba gear' out of a Cracker Jack box, string and a vacuum cleaner hose, and I would jump off the back porch into my "ocean.'"

In 2004, Warden completed basic open water scuba certification before going on a vacation to the Eastern Caribbean. He bought an underwater camera to take along, and that opened up a whole new world. Nearly 400 dives later, Warden notes, "Everything seems so wonderfully quiet, tranquil and peaceful under water."

Warden's paddlefish photos have also been used by a website in the United Kingdom and an aquarium in Germany. He adds, "Paddlefish look terrifying, but in reality they eat zooplankton, which they detect electrically with their unique "rostrum' or paddle-like nose."

To see more of Warden's underwater work, visit For more information, call Warden at 423-439-8474. For more information, call Warden at 423-439-8474.

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