NOTE: This post contains mild nudity. If this offends you, please go here.
2016 was long and busy year. I did a lot of work for the University, but did not do a whole lot of personal work. Hopefully I can do more in 2017.
This was the last shoot for 2016 and was something I had been wanting to do since the pool was completed earlier in the year. In May, I purchased an underwater housing (Ewa Marine Bag) for my camera so that I can use it in the pool. I have already been using my action cams in their underwater housing to take photos while in the pool (mostly of my cats, who were outside the pool), but now I can take my Sony A7rii and a flash under the water as well. I practiced a few times with flowers to make sure everything would work the way I wanted, but I did not have a model to use as a subject for what I wanted to do.
Luckily in November, I contacted a traveling model, Astrid, who was coming to Florida the last week of December, and she specialized in doing underwater work. The weather was also with me and it was warm and sunny, that made it easier to heat the pool up to above 80 degrees so that everyone would be comfortable.
Astrid was wonderful. I wanted to create images that had both a haunted but peaceful feeling, and I achieved that with the help of her posing expertise in the water. It may look easy to take underwater photos, but I can tell you it is a lot more difficult than you can imagine. There is very limited time to get the shot while both the photographer and the model are underwater, just a matter of seconds. It takes repetition to achieve good results. Trying to coordinate the camera settings, focus, framing, lighting while wearing a swim mask is really difficult, not to mention the model has to concentrate on posing, facial expression, prop usage, etc.
Taking the photos was just the tip of the iceberg. Post processing was intense. Adjusting the colors, cropping, removal of pool drains were all fairly easy. When you look into a well maintained pool the water looks super clear and clean... until you shoot a light through it... These photos are lit two different ways, the first and the third are lit with an on camera flash, the 2nd and fourth with an Alien Bee strobe on the pool deck triggered with a Pocket Wizard just above the water line. No matter the direction of the light, hundreds of little white specks suddenly show up in the images. Taking them out was the most painful part of the whole process. Each image below has about three hours of post processing time dedicated to them.
Overall I was very happy with the way the images came out and I look forward to trying it again in the near future.
I think this is my favorite shot from the shoot.