What Lies Under – Lifestyle Media
As President of the South Florida Underwater Photography Society, Lureen Ferretti understands that nothing is easy to capture moments below sea level.
As well as being an above average diver, she explains the importance of buoyancy control to stabilize yourself against currents, to have a constant awareness of your surroundings and to know your camera and your device so well. lighting that you can quickly adjust settings to suit an ever-changing underwater environment.
Of course, this also helps maintain focus. Especially in the dark.
“I was doing a night dive on a friend’s boat once,” says the Pompano Beach resident. “He drops anchor on a wreck, then we follow a line to the wreck. That night I was fiddling with my arms on my flash to be able to shoot as soon as we reached the ship. I wasn’t hanging on to the line, but I was watching it. Or I thought I was.
“I must have fiddled with the strobe for too long and lost eye contact with the line. When I got to the bottom, I couldn’t find the wreckage. By the time I surfaced, I was so far from the boat that I couldn’t swim. And they couldn’t see me, even though I was shining my strobe lights. So I started swimming. Fortunately, I came across a small fishing boat. They picked me up and took me back to my friend’s boat.
“I could see the land, but it would have been a long swim. And a very long night.
Brush with danger aside – and, like many longtime divers, she’s had a few – Ferretti has no reservations about jumping into the depths with his Canon 70D.
The New Jersey native (she grew up in Pittsgrove Township) moved to South Florida in 1995 after already obtaining her diving certification. But it wasn’t until 15 years ago that Ferretti added photography to his underwater hobby.
At first, she took pictures out of necessity in her volunteer role with the Reef Environmental Education Foundation. Ferretti took “proof of life” snapshots to accompany the fish identification work she did for the foundation; these studies include mapping the conditions and various species of fish at a given dive site, allowing marine experts to monitor the continued health of a reef.
Meeting more and more people who liked underwater photography, Ferretti realized that his proof-of-life photos were not as crisp and well-lit as those taken by his peers. So she invested in a flash. Then another. Soon she became addicted. Before long, Ferretti planned his trips around diving and photography; she took images on the high seas in French Polynesia, Indonesia, the Maldives, the Philippines and Mexico.
“It’s the only real form of stress relief,” says the award-winning photographer, who day in and day out is the implementation project manager for Oracle NetSuite. “When you think of our jobs, we can’t stray from technology. We can’t get away from the phone, we can’t get away from email. Diving is really my escape.
Way of life asked Ferretti – whose work illustrates both the beauty and the fragility of our marine environment – to share some of his favorite images of dives in Florida waters.
As evidenced by the following images, his escape is the gift that never ceases to give and to educate.