GRACE PEMPEK

Grace grew up landlocked in the desert of Joshua Tree, California. With the beach being several hours away and resources being limited, she would only visit the ocean a couple of times a year with her family. She had her first taste of snorkeling on a trip to Hawai’i as a child, then later tried diving through a Discover Scuba course in Jamaica when she was 16. While the experiences in the water were few and far between, it was just what she needed to become mesmerized and to long for more.

Flash forward to her relocating to Florida for work almost 10 years ago. A whole new world was now available to her… warm water, vibrant coral reefs and an endless ocean to explore at her doorstep. She started like many, primarily snorkeling and free diving in the Keys and off the beach in Fort Lauderdale where she lived. She got a waterproof housing for her phone to try to capture the immense beauty she was seeing – wanting to share it with her loved ones. But the phone wasn’t cutting it. She eventually upgraded to an Olympus TG-6 and fell in love with shooting macro subjects. She found Blue Heron Bridge to be the perfect training ground for her passion.

Grace moved further north to Hobe Sound, FL in 2020 and discovered even more incredible diving opportunities out of Jupiter – with big animals, dramatic ledges and of course heavy current. The reefs were deeper and the need for strobes and wide angle lenses became apparent. At the beginning of 2022 she upgraded to her current set-up – Olympus Pen E-PL10, a pair of Sea & Sea YS-D3 strobes and a set-up for both macro and wide angle. You could say the salespeople at Backscatter.com saw her coming!

This desert girl never takes for granted the accessibility she has today to the incredible underwater world. In her free time you are likely to spot her setting up her pink gear in the back of her Jeep parked at Phil Foster Park, or lugging all her camera equipment down to a local dive boat in Jupiter. Underwater photography has allowed her to share what she loves with the world, and she hopes it will serve to inspire those who are not fortunate enough to experience the beauty that lies beneath to care and conserve for future generations.