Sea turtle motion blur, Florida, USA
Most underwater photographs are captured while scuba diving, but it is still possible to take award-winning images with just a mask, fins and camera—on just one breath. Our latest Photographer of the Week, James Ferrara, is proof that if you combine a good eye for composition and lighting with impressive freediving skills, you can build an awesome portfolio of images any scuba diver would be proud of.
James lives in South Florida, which gives him easy access to some excellent dive destinations and a life centered around the ocean. His work has been featured in both dive and spearfishing magazines, as well as being commended in the prestigious Underwater Photographer of the Year contest for the past two years running. He regularly dives close to home in Florida, but also travels extensively to other well-known destinations such as Tonga, Dominica, and the Bahamas in search of special marine life encounters. All of these locations provide action close to the surface and the chance to get up close and personal with large and iconic marine life such as turtles, mantas, sharks, and whales.
Every image on display here was taken while freediving using Sony cameras inside Nauticam housings with a wide-angle fisheye lens and most of them using only natural light. When he does use strobes, James often experiments with slow shutter speeds to create motion blur, and other techniques such as split shots and some nice black and white conversions in post that contrast nicely with his blue water backgrounds. Besides marine life, James also enjoys slow shutter landscapes, waves, and Milky Way photography. He plans to continue traveling in search of new adventures, sea life, and experiences, in order to keep his art fresh and exciting. He is inspired by the beauty and power of the ocean, which will always be the foundation of his work.
Sperm whales sleeping, Dominica
Giant manta ray, Socorro, Mexico
Freediver blowing bubble rings, Cayman Islands
Lemon shark surrounded by fish, Tiger Beach, Bahamas
Freediver in the engine room of a shipwreck, Barbados
Tiger shark over the sand, Tiger Beach, Bahamas
Sea turtle eating seagrass, Florida, USA
Tiger shark in the seagrass, Tiger Beach, Bahamas
Freediver among silversides in a cave, Vavau, Tonga
Sperm whale swimming through sargassum, Dominica
Curious humpback whale, Vavau, Tonga
Giant manta ray sunburst, Socorro, Mexico
James photographing great hammerheads, Bimini, Bahamas
To see more of James’ underwater images taken while freediving, check out his awesome Instagram page.
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