When I merged the blog and website into one blogsite in 2010 I thought it would result in galleries and site content that were updated a lot more frequently. I’d be there blogging anyway, right? I seem to have missed the mark with that prediction.
This year I’m taking a different approach which starts with the introduction of a new weekly themed blog post series I’m calling Wet Wednesday.
Each week I plan to feature a favorite underwater portrait (or series of underwater portraits) and explain how they came to be and why I include them on my list of favorites. Most will be portraits of people underwater but a few surface shots and creatures of the sea will undoubtedly make an appearance or two in this new series – including here in the very first Wet Wednesday post.
The first week or so of our vacation had been a bit wet and windy and we didn’t spend much time at the beach. As the new year started the winds finally died down and the vog started to hover. Little did I know the fishing season had also just started and between that and the break in the extended absence of sun we arrived to find a flood of extra people at the beach we usually go to for it’s quiet and less touristy feel.
As I swam and photographed fish on the reef I found there to be a little more spearfishing than I was comfortable being in the midst of. I started moving to another area which required swimming through what must have been a swim team practice. As I waited for “traffic” to clear I was simply awestruck at the view in front of me. Swimmers, snorkelers, paddle boarders, and fisherman all enjoying the same space. The diversity on the water was beautiful all by itself but the sun had finally dropped below the clouds and through the vog took on a dramatic blood orange hue that was nothing short of ethereal.
I knew the shapes of the people would make incredible silhouettes if I could find a way to see them clearly and still focus. From the surface your view is obscured by water at different amounts as the waves move. It looked like this:
To get the picture I wanted I had to be high enough out of the water to get the full shape of these subjects but also low enough to also have the sense of moving water in my frame. To further complicate things it was deep enough that standing was not an option and I’d be treading my way through all of this. If you think shooting through an underwater camera housing is hard try adjusting settings, composing, and focusing on a moving set of unaware subjects while you tread water vigorously enough to keep your shoulders out of the water. Still loads more fun than anything at the gym.
There was enough distance between me and these subjects that f5 was probably plenty to give me a generous depth of field and keep them all in focus but I was working way too hard to take any chances and shot most at f9 just to be safe. With all that movement I opted for 1/1000th of a second as my razor sharp image producing shutter speed. This meant using ISO 1000 which is no cause for concern and virtually noise free with my beloved D700. The D700 and my Tokina 12-24 were once again housed in the travel friendly ewa marine bxp100.
Enough with the technical geekery…I know you just want to see the image, right?
Same picture, different crop for use as my Facebook timeline cover photo:
I’m torn and still trying to decide which version to print and hang in our entry way.
Last but not least another extreme panoramic photograph where the paddle boarders are sitting for sunset, the swimmer is a little more obvious, and the sailboat finally sails into my frame: