I decided in late October:
1. I want to do more freelance work and
2. I would like to have a solo gallery show in 10 mo. to a year.
Combining the two in the next year I will supplement the costs of having a show with freelance work (ideally that is..). My series is going to be all based underwater. For my senior show in college back in 2010 I used a Sea and Sea MX-10 35mm camera to do my first underwater shoot and it turned out surprisingly well. Since then I haven’t done too much with underwater photography but those images are ones I’ve held onto for a long time (see here). Therefore for the next handful of months I am going to be shooting all new underwater material.
The Sea and Sea is a solid underwater film camera but the aperture only goes to f/4.5 which puts a bit of a limit on my lighting. I decided to invest in a new camera and underwater housing. I went with the LC-A + and the Krab Underwater housing made by Lomography. It has a zone focusing system, f/2.8 lens, and once you set the ISO it determines the shutter speed for you. It’s a nice and simple camera but it allows me to meter my underwater light much better. I also have an Olympus Tough which is a point and shoot that is waterproof. I won’t be shooting anything with it but behind the scenes shots and doing a few test shots here and there.
Goals for this project:
- Advance my knowledge in film
- Learn techniques for underwater (lighting, set design, general problem solving)
- collaboration- I would like to include as many people as possible for modeling, assisting, set design. I will be reaching out to many people and PLEASE reach out to me if this project sounds like something you’d be interested in being a part of.
As of this past weekend (Nov. 3rd) I successfuly completed my first test shoot with the LC-A and the set I created. This would not have been accomplished with out the help of my fabulous friends Greer, Mike and Chris (model). Greer was my make up artist/assistant and Mike was also my assistant and they were both capturing photos of behind the scenes as well. Most importantly they were making sure the exterior lights I was using did not fall into the water.
(Shots taken with Olympus Tough)
The set up is pretty simple in the end but getting to this point definitely involved me asking people for advice and then just deciding to do it. The location was at my parent’s house. They have a nice and narrow lap pool that works perfectly for setting up a scene.
The backdrop is a random sheet Greer and I found a while back at Savers (which I mainly use a wall tapestry for my bedroom).
The lights I was using:
two Westcott Spiderlites with a 2x3 soft box and a 4x3 soft box.
Those PVC pipes? They were used as the suspension poles for the mason jars you see above.
How I assembled the jars:
- Spray paint with frosted glass paint
- Make holes in the tops of the jars
- Fishing wire threaded through the holes (it’s translucent as well so it won’t be as visible in a photo)
- Washers tied to the wire so it doesn’t come through the holes
- Glass gems (Hobby Lobby) to weight the jars down in the water and also to add color
- Underwater LED lights
Voila! Illuminated hanging underwater mason jars. Overall it took me about 3 hours to set up this shoot.
What I learned:
- Having a vision for a set and creating it by hand is WAY cheaper and easier than I thought. (Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, and Savers)
- BUT is also takes some pre-planning and research or else you’ll have to make some returns/burn the money.
- Zone focusing systems in an underwater casing (since you can’t constantly change your focus..) are rather hard to nail. And meters are a lot longer than I thought.
- Underwater shoots are more tiring than I remember. Also chlorinated water is not fun for your model. Sorry!
- My lighting was spot on—which I think is the hardest part- the focusing is an easy fix.
I plan on learning something new for every single shoot I do and I am looking forward to this in a big way. This project already has a good amount of meaning for me and this year will be filled with huge ups and downs and a ton of knowledge. As a professor once said, “photography can change you if you let it”, and I whole heartedly believe in this statement.
As far as the final results of these photo shoots go..you’ll just have to wait and see.