She may have started off life in a land-locked US state, but these days she spends every day surrounded by water and that suits her just fine!
Elly’s family moved to California when she was only six months old. She was quite academic all the way through high school, so when she left she yearned to try something different and not so analytical. Art and photography had always appealed to her so she signed up for a photography course at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where she studied at a leisurely pace, completing it in five years including some apprenticeship work primarily focused on the commercial market.
In 2001 her family came to the Cayman Islands for a vacation, and stayed at the Reef Resort in East End. She took a Discover Scuba course with Ocean Frontiers and took to it like a dolphin to water. It wasn’t long before Elly decided she would like to pursue Scuba further, and so when she and a friend went backpacking in Thailand, she signed up for her open water and advanced courses in Koh Tao.
She had enjoyed her experience so much at Ocean Frontiers that she returned to the Cayman Islands to visit, and over two trips attained her rescue, Nitrox and divemaster certificates. At the same time she was working in LA taking all types of photography assignments – everything from weddings to head shots for actors, not to mention retouching to ridiculous levels when subjects would request that she make them look ten years younger.
Elly began to weigh her options. She had been offered a job at Ocean Frontiers if she finished her dive instructor course in California. The idea really appealed, and so she (literally) took the plunge. In August 2007 Elly Wray was officially a dive instructor, and she made her way to Grand Cayman. When the photographer/videographer left the company, Elly was offered the position.
She teaches courses on the subject on land and guides students to photo opportunities beneath the waves. She also captures clients’ dive vacations on film for them to take away as a lasting memory of their trip.
Elly’s work has been published in a number of magazines and as she says herself, it is a constantly evolving industry and learning experience. She loves what she does, her place of work, and the staff members that socialise in and out of work. If it ain’t broke…
Stop by Ocean Frontiers and book an underwater photo shoot with Elly Wray. I’m ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille! WH