Lauri Hafvenstein has been a longtime friend and colleague to the Your Shot team here at National Geographic. With a passion for underwater photography, she is always in pursuit of her next dive trip. Lauri earned a degree in fine art photography from the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C., and has also co-authored the book Park View, a part of the Images of America series. When she’s above water, you’ll find her hard at work on the restoration of her 100-year-old historic D.C. row house. Lauri has been engaging with the #underwater hashtag and talks about some of her favorite images from this challenge.
“When I first saw [the whale shark] swimming toward me out of the blue, my heart nearly stopped. I was so overwhelmed with happiness that I actually cried into my mask.”
-Christine Albanese, Your Shot Member
I’ve never seen a whale shark, but I know that “cry into your mask” feeling. It’s a surge of emotion that hits you in the chest, wells up in your throat, and triggers an almost uncontrollable flow of happy tears. I first experienced it on a dive site called Small Wall in Bonaire when a rather ordinary bit of pinkish-colored coral quite magically transformed itself, upon closer inspection, into that near mythical creature: a seahorse!
It’s a testament to the power, pull, and mystery of the ocean that the sight of a tiny seahorse can engender emotions similar to Christine Albanese’s encounter with the largest fish in the sea. I am continually drawn to it, as I have been drawn again and again to Albanese’s photograph “Entourage.” It’s a perfect moment captured, a glimpse into the world of this spectacular fish as it swims upward, beautifully framed by a school of trevallies and the breaking surge above.
“Sidling”. That’s what the diver’s doing. I learned that word from The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker! The things you learn from videogames!
Shout out to all my Tumblr followers! For the past few months, Ascent has been able to get a little more than 200 followers just based on word of mouth (or rather, reblogging). Thanks for Following and Sharing and Liking! You guys rock.