Tom Campbell started his diving career at age 18 in the cold water lakes & rivers of Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. He moved to California with the goal of becoming involved in professional military diving. After completing the rigorous physical and mental demands required for volunteers into the Marine Corps First Force Recon Company, Tom was sent to the US Naval School of Underwater Swimmers in Key West, Florida, where he graduated as a qualified Navy Diver. In 1964-1965, Tom was part of a select Force Recon unit that was assigned to SEAL Team One in Vietnam to conduct covert operations. Shortly after his discharge, Tom became a NAUI diving instructor and has introduced hundreds of people to the ocean realm.
After graduating from college with a degree in business and law enforcement, he attended the California Highway Patrol Academy and started his career in one of the world's top law enforcement agencies. While a patrol officer with the CHP, Tom was selected to be part of President Reagan’s security team. Later, as the CHP's public affair's officer, Tom also started several successful educational projects including the "Sober Graduation Program" for high school and college students, designed to create an awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving. Celebrities, including Kenny Loggins, John Travolta, and other movie stars worked with Tom to help spread the message. When featured on "Good Morning America," the Sober Graduation Program was quickly expanded to other countries. Nancy Reagan saw the TV show and was so impressed she invited Tom and John Travolta to the White House to meet her and President Reagan.
International Wildlife, UNEP, and BBC's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions have honored Tom with world recognition. In addition, Tom often appears as a featured speaker at film festivals, such as those in Antibe, France; Lofoton, Norway; Wildscreen in England, as well as at festival in the US such as the prestigious Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, the International Wildlife Film Festival, and the BLUE Ocean Film Festival, of which he is a founding board member.
After many years of shooting videos for television productions, Tom plunged into the world of High Definition (HD) cinematography. As a pioneer in underwater HD, Tom is world renowned for his meticulous camera work and stunning imagery. His talents are in high demand around the world for assignments, which have taken him from the frigid waters of the North Atlantic to the tropics of the world. Recent projects include filming the President of Mexico (Felipe Calderon) for a PBS special (“Mexico: The Royal Tour); giant mantas in Mexico and Mozambique BBC’s award-winning “Andrea: Queen of Mantas;” dugongs for the King of Abu Dhabi; venomous fish in Papua New Guinea; great white sharks in South Africa and Mexico; manatees in Florida; and the kelp forests of the Channel Islands.
Throughout his professional years, Tom has been a highly successful still photographer and cinematographer. His underwater still images and magazine articles have appeared in hundreds of popular publications worldwide.
He has completed assignments for a wide range of corporations such as the BBC, Continental Airlines, National Geographic, Discovery and History Channels, Time Life Books, New York and LA Times magazine. Tom feels that the most important contribution any wildlife photographer or filmmaker can make is to create an awareness that will protect and preserve our environment for future generations. To that end, he seeks out projects that feature scientists working on marine wildlife to better understand our endangered ocean habitats.
Tom divides his time between his ranch north of Prescott, AZ and the Far Northland of New Zealand.