Lorraine Sommer, Tennessee Member Since March 2010 Artist Statement I have always been amazed with the beauty of nature. It is so ever changing and vibrant that words alone were not enough for me to share all of the wonders that I came across. With every walk or dive, there is something new and amazing to see. Photography has allowed me to capture the fleeting moments of beauty and natural wonders that I have been so blessed to enjoy and made it possible for me to share this beauty with others. I love to be able to put a name to each creature I see, not always possible, but I try.
As a novice diver in the early 90’s I found myself wanting to know the names of the wondrous creatures that I saw on each of my adventures beneath the waves of the South West Florida Gulf of Mexico. This led me to a volunteer group called Volunteer Scientific Research Team (VSR for short). As a member of this volunteer team, I not only received training in Fish and Creature ID, but was also trained to fill out Fish Surveys for the Lee County Artificial Reef Committee and REEF. This gave both purpose and challenge to each dive, not only did it satisfy my personal quest to name each creature I encountered, it also allowed me to give back by providing fish surveys and photos to help build the Lee County database for the fish found in our local waters. Because of the low and often murky visibility in the waters of the Sanibel area, it is generally thought that it is not possible to get good underwater photographs in the area, but with a lot of trial and error, I developed a technique to capture this beautiful environment on film. Through the years, with each dive, my photographs have brought a little of the seldom seen underwater beauty of the Sanibel Gulf of Mexico and South Florida back for all to see.
After over 300 dives and 200 fish surveys for Lee County and 88 surveys for REEF, my photos are being used as part of the Fish ID Training given by the VSR Team’s Marine Biologist to help teach future fish surveyors. My Underwater Photographs have been seen in local newspapers since 1998 and I have had the pleasure of having my photographs featured in the Sanibel - Captiva Nature Calendar along with an educational narrative about the subject yearly since 2000.
With our eventual move from Florida to Tennessee, I have found myself wandering in the Forests and Mountains of Tennessee and traveling across the United States more often than exploring the underwater world of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. It has been an unexpected but great adventure, I never know where I will end up! Wherever I am Nature calls to me, I still find myself trying to photographically capture and then name everything that I see. The beauty of Nature is everywhere and every day is an adventure with something new to see. I hope you enjoy sharing the beauty of our wonderful world that I have been so blessed to see as you view the photographs in my galleries, thanks for visiting!