Beam me up Duxy!!
A few days ago I posted a picture on my Facebook account, and it has garnered quite a large response since.
I took it just over a week ago (1st July 2015), on my summer photo workshop out in the Northern Red Sea. Our boat Mistral was sharing the area with her sister ship MV Whirlwind, where Alex Mustard was also conducting his annual summer workshop.
I mention Alex, as I would never have posted the shot, unless I had also seen a very similar shot to mine that he had taken of the very same subject.
I guess this is one of those examples of Zeitgeist, as I had no idea of his shot, and I’m certain he had no idea of mine.
On reading his FB post his approach to the shot was much more measured and planned, and he has mentioned that he will post a “how-to” article soon, which I will cross link to from here as soon as it’s posted, and I look forward to reading it.
Alex of course needs no introduction being one of the worlds foremost underwater photographers, known for pushing the boundaries and shaping our tastes in our favourite hobby.
So I was quite pleased that i’d had a similar idea to his on the spur of the moment.
The dive itself was conducted with my partner Shelly and Phil Medcalf as a buddy trio, and we’d agreed to mostly look around the deck of the boat. We operate an “open-deck” policy at a couple of the sites on my workshops, with the Thistlegorm being one of them. so Shelly and I, and our friend Phil had the place to ourselves, which is one of the key advantages of the “open-deck” policy.
If you’d like to see more about what “open-deck” entails then please check out this video on this page, click here
Some of the folk on the previous dive had mentioned seeing a particular type of Nembrotha nudibranch, so I said I would pop down into hold no 2 and have a little looks to see if it was still where they had said it was.
I saw the now famous “Ele’s Bike” named after Alex’s wife, and given on an earlier workshop of his.
So I thought I would try a quick off camera strobe shot. Easier said than done, as I only had the regular two strobes attached to my housing. A Sea and Sea YSD1 and a smaller Inon s2000.
Knowing that when the fibre optic cable is removed from the Inon’s strobe head, leaving the sensor bare, it is quite sensitive, and doesn’t need any third party strobe triggering devices to fire it usually. Of course if you were going to do a lot of this off camera strobe stuff, then it would be best to use a dedicated strobe and a purpose made triggering device, but needs must.
I also needed to detach it from the ball and clamp arm system I was using, and the clock was ticking.
A word to the wise here, if you have buoyancy floats attached to your arms, then be careful when detaching the clamps as the arm could quite easily float upwards, possibly never to be seen again.so I clipped mine to a carabiner I have on my BCD.
I decided I wanted to have the strobe firing from behind the front wheel, so I positioned it carefully behind the wheel, around a couple of feet back.
I now had to illuminate the bike facing me and the corner of the hold in the foreground.
So I took a couple of test shots to ascertain my exposure, which for the final shot was at 200ISO at f5 at an 1/8 of a second, but the initial shot I posted was at 1/60 at f5.
I used a variation of the dual bunny ears lighting with in this case the bunny only having one ear!! If you want to see an earlier post about flash positioning please click here
I was quite happy with my initial results, but needed to go and rejoin my buddies, so gathered up the kit, reassembled it all and pressed on with the rest of the dive.
These trips are after all, about the guests, and I had promised to be a spotter!
I may never return to shooting this bike in exactly the same way again, as I feel it’s now been done.
I will be sharing it with others though on upcoming trips, so that they can do the same.
And whilst it may not be as controllable, or as flexible as using a third strobe with trigger attached. It is useful to know that you can do this with minimal kit on the spur of the moment.
If you’d like to join me on a future trip, and learn these techniques in some of the worlds best underwater photography locations then please check out my upcoming trips page and click here.
Keep coming back for regular posts.