Photoessay: inside waves

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Despite the appearances of curation, these images weren’t shot as a sequence or two; they’re the result of probably the lowest yield photographic exercise I’ve ever done. The fifteen images here required nearly 3,500 frames to realise – there were so many physical limitations in play I simply didn’t realise would be an issue when conceptualising the project. Ever since my first time snorkelling, I’ve always wanted to create images like this with views of a wave from underneath and inside. On top of that, close observations of stills of breaking foam really reinforced how much of a genius Hokusai was in his (accurate) representations – but how would they look from underneath, backlit? However, investing in a full underwater housing would be prohibitively expensive and have zero returns afterwards. On top of that, such housings are lens-specific and without trying it out first – I would have no idea what kind of angles of view would work; as it turns out there’s a reason underwater photographers prefer wide angles: there’s less crud between you and the subject, and even the seemingly clear water (as this was) still has a lot of suspended particles that rob contrast within short order. However, the kind of perspectives I was looking for were not really suited to a wide angle, so some careful alignment and positioning would be required. Bigger challenge: this is simply not possible when you are being knocked around by the waves and have no means to maintain either absolute or relative positioning. A lot of the time, I found it easier to shoot almost blind and focus on anchoring myself rather than operating the camera (and this showed in the number of mis-aimed or out of focus images I had). Lastly – this is nitpicking, but feeling the rather shallow and stiff half press position of the RX0 II was nearly impossible underwater (fail, Sony). On the plus side, the camera performed flawlessly otherwise, with no ill effects from the submersion or dynamic pressure, and with the battery lasting surprisingly long in burst mode – easily an hour or thousand frames at a go, with some in reserve (obviously using tethered power or changing batteries out there was not an option). Enjoy! MT

This post was shot with a Sony RX0 Mark II and post processed with Photoshop Workflow III.

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POTD x3: The kind of sequence that kills cameras, and a quick reminder

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The kind of sequence that kills a camera: or, advancing waves at 14mm. Olympus E-PM1 Pen Mini, 14-42 kit lens.

Let’s just say there was a reason I was using this and not, say, an M9. Also, I was moving out of the way rather quickly!

I’ve been experimenting with sequences/ sets a bit lately; it’s something that I thought might be interesting to build off the contact sheet idea – any not make the contact sheet and thinking process part of the desired end output? But then I suppose it would require us to think about the individual frames in the context of their own contact sheet, which would be rather meta and confusing…or perhaps the right way to approach this would be thinking of the sequence in itself, much like a video clip – except we just capture key frames. I have a sneaky feeling that pursuing this path of development will eventually lead me back into experimenting with cinematography again (which will be the subject of a future article).

A quick reminder: My Singapore reader meet up will happen tonight, at 7pm, outside Ion Orchard near the red floor installation and the ‘bubble’ MRT entrance. You’ll find me because of the M9-P hanging around my neck, and I’ll be wearing a red t-shirt. (For some odd inexplicable reason, this is beginning to feel like a blind internet date. Oh well, at least we know we all have one thing in common!) We’ll wander around from there and find something to eat. Looking forward to meeting you all! MT

POTD: If you’re not getting wet, you’re probably not close enough.

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Wave action. Olympus E-PM1 Pen Mini, 14-42 kit lens…at 14mm.

Sometimes risks are necessary for experimentation. Just don’t do it with any gear that would be critical if dead, unless you absolutely have to get the shot. MT