By chance I stumbled upon a model who lives just down the road from me, well not literally on the same street, but certainly less than a very short car journey away. So I arranged a short 2 hour shoot to see how we got on, some of the edits from that shoot you can see below. Let me know your thoughts…
I’ve always been fascinated how light and water interact, especially with reflections and shadow play on moving and rippling water. Some people get mesmerised by staring into a fire in the same way I get visual pleasure by the play of light on top of the water as well as underneath it.
I was fortunate to hire a holiday villa for a week with my wife and I took along a model for the week to photograph them, so a sort of working holiday if you like. I’d recently purchased two Nikon D7000’s with prime lenses, which I’d be using primarily for video work, but also for some stills work. I thought that whilst in Spain with the super clear light, warmer weather and sunshine it would be too good an opportunity to miss to take some underwater images and video footage of the model. My first challenge was to find a waterproof housing unit, and here I didn’t want to spend thousands on a high-end camera casing as I’d no intention of taking up scuba diving again and taking the camera down into the depths. I did want to take advantage of the prime lenses and quality of the Nikon equipment but ensure it kept dry and safe to a depth of about 6 feet, which was the depth of the pool we had in the villa. After a bit of research I located the SLR Camera Case from Aquapac costing £95 : http://store.aquapac.net/slr-camera-case-458.html
This product is submersible to a depth of 15 feet for up to 30 minutes, both depth and duration were well above what I had in mind so I ordered one. When it arrived I fitted my Nikon into it and tested it out in the bath to make sure it was okay. Being small and soft-formed it was easy to pack along with all my other gear on the flight across to Spain.
In use, it took a while to get used to handling the camera through the rubberised bag, it was like wearing heavy duty gardening gloves, in the end I used manual focus, a good depth of field and set the exposure manually before each session so I only had to press the shutter button. Framing was also a bit hit and miss, I was wearing prescription swimming googles so I could actually see underwater, but meant that looking through the camera’s viewfinder was tricky. In the end I got to pointing the camera at the model and working from there. My first couple of attempts with this technique meant I chopped off limbs, heads and even missed the model completely! However, with constant review and practise I got better and better with framing the model in the shot.
During the course of the week we shot stills and video footage in the pool and reviewed it afterwards, by day four we were really getting on well and getting some good repeatable results. It it impossible to communicate with your model underwater and as she was swimming widths of the pool it meant I could take 1 or 2 shots per width. So before each width we would discuss the pose, the depth, the camera position to make sure we each knew what to do.
Below I’ve included a selection of the better stills from the sessions in the pool shot during the week. I shot about 1200 stills and ended up with about 10 that I’m happy with, so not a good success ratio that’s for sure. I’m still not sure whether I prefer the mono or colour versions best. What I do like very much indeed is the play of light on the model’s body, which was the main thing I was trying to capture with these images.
This Month’s issue of JADE magazine has been published with one of my images on the the Front Cover – looks great. Image it titled Face-Off and features Iveta as the model. Image it lit with three lights, two more than I usually use! They are all fitted with grids, two on the backdrop and one on the model.
Link to a larger PDF version: Jade 90 – May 2012 – john tisbury – cover
JADE Magazine can be found here: http://www.greatnorthernpublishing.co.uk/jade-magazine/jade-contents.html