Saturday, July 16, 2011

Project: "Underwater Anna" with the AquaTech housing & 5DMKII

< So I was lucky enough to get ahold of the AquaTech waterproof camera housing for the Canon 5D Mark II.  I also had the port adapter for the 14mm wide angle, and the 580EX II flash housing.  I was very excited to finally be able to bring my HDSLR underwater.

< The AquaTech is intended for shallow water (33') or rain, and has a waterproof acrylic-backed housing system.  When put together, it's fairly heavy to hold.  But when you get it in the water, the system has positive buoyancy.  It will even float on the surface, but cannot be used as a life preserver.

< The 25mm Port Extension & LP-1 Dome Port are necessary for the 14mm wide angle lens.  You must also order the TTL cable separately, if you want to move your flash off your camera's axis.

< Through a mutual friend, I found model Anna Panici.  She had experience working underwater, and even brought her own water wardrobe for the shoot.  When she learned the pool wasn't heated, the look on her face was priceless.  Thanks for it all, Anna!

< I stumbled upon a cool new filter in CS5 called HIGHLIGHTS/SHADOWS that cuts a lot of glare from the sky and pool, and brings out the blues.  I added yellow saturation to the dress to bring out its natural color.

<  This shot is what I consider the money shot of the day.  There were a lot of average snaps, but this one just seemed to stand out with the hair, face, light, blue sky, etc. coming together in one big moment of synchronicity.

<  We found a sunny corner of the pool, and it provided us with awesome natural reflections off the water's surface.  For this shot, I hung Anna backwards over the side of the pool, with her calves holding her down to the ground above.

< Anna rocking it.

< Anna twisting on the surface.

<  I loved the bubble ripples throwing shadows on her face.

< Too weird to promote.  Too cool to delete.

< Anna upside down, but flipped.

< Anna from Heaven.  This was just a magical stroke of good luck, where the setting sun lined up perfectly by the water's edge.  Had I been more clever, I would've had her float into the sunspot.  Instead, I was slowly drowning, and felt it more prudent to return to the world of oxygen.

< Me, taking a quick breather.

< Camera assistant, Robert Stenger, shot with the 70-200mm lens in its waterproof housing.

< Rob working the Sola 1200 dive light as a fill.  I went for one Sola 1200 as a subtle fill light, while the other Sola was used as a background light.  They both did the job--sorta.  While they work great as macro dive lights, they were very weak in the pool during the daylight.  They salvaged their performance once the sun went down, illuminating the pool with shafts of light.  Promising, but I wouldn't recommend them as any kind of fill.

< The new Sola 1200 dive light ($700). 1200 lumens in the darkness of the ocean, but as a fill light it left me wanting something more powerful.  I'm keeping them because I know I'll use them on some production when I need a small and bright battery-powered light.

< A cool accident shot.  We waited for the sun to drop, and then draped a black waterproof tarp over the back wall of the pool.  I was going for a poorman's darkness infinity look.  The slow shutter speed gave Rob the hand tracers.

< Here's me with some 3-point lighting.  I'm using the pool light (very yellow) as my key light on my left side.  I'm using the 580EX II flash on the right side of my face for fill, and the Sola 1200s are dangling on a pole behind my head.  Photo: Robert Stenger

< Here's a BTS video frame grab from property owner and legit cameraman Jim Perry.  While we worked, he brought out his sweeeet SI-2K camera and recorded us.

< BTS: Discussing the shot.

< Another BTS frame grab from Jim Perry.