Ethereal Young Girl with Long Flowing Hair Floating Peacefully Underwater (Steve Greer)
The dreamy surreal look of an Underwater Photoshoot with a Model can be alluring to us creative types. The challenges to make an image with that look and feel require some preparation.
The first step is finding a model who is comfortable in the water. Competition swimmers are usually good at being able to relax their face, so it doesn’t look like they are holding their breath.
And then when your model first goes under the water there are millions of distracting bubbles everywhere. This can cause your autofocus to go into overdrive trying to find the subject. I found that pre-focusing on the model above the water and maintaining the same distance under the water created a higher percentage of in-focus photos.
There were many failed attempts to get the model’s hair to flow properly. When she descended below the water her hair would hang above her head and then with just a little movement towards the surface her hair would flatten against her face. You have to wait for the moment when the model’s hair begins to relax around her ears, wait for the bubbles to dissipate and hope she has enough breath to hold the pose before pressing the shutter.
One thing that helps the model stay in position is to take a deep breath in and then breath OUT before you go under. Breathing out makes you sink to the bottom of the pool. For the photographer, wearing a scuba weight belt helps to keep you from bobbing around like a champagne cork!
My Canon 5D and a 24mm lens was protected with a EWA marine waterproof bag.
I started out making test shots of my assistant using only the natural light. This gave me a baseline to know where to overpower the ambient light with strobes and sculpt the light only where I wanted it to land on the model. The daylight balanced manufactured light also helped to avoid any color casts and keep the model’s hair red.
For the shoot, I used 2 Elinchrom Quadras, one with a gridded softbox directly overhead on a boom, and the other with a cone to concentrate the light on the model’s face. An Elinchrom BX400 was used as a fill light. All the strobes were triggered with Pocket Wizard’s Flex TT5s.
A note to the wise, radio waves do not work underwater. But at approximately 4” below the surface they worked well. Anything deeper than that and you need to use an optical signal to sync your lights, or go big and get some underwater lights.
Go to top
Sound of Money, tune your financial instrument
It may be considered the root of all evil, but money is also the inspiration for hundreds of the best pop and R&B songs since rock music started making parents nervous decades ago.
With that in mind I wanted to create a music business concept image using an acoustic guitar. I started by removing the original tuning pegs and replaced them with half dollars. Under studio lights I angled white sheets of foam board on the coins to get the reflection and contrast desired.
I used a slate grey paper background to compliment the colors of the guitar and the coins. The scratches and logo were removed later in post-production.
Go to top
Landscape print is transformed into a manicured green grass landscape (Steve Greer)
Our attitude toward the natural world and our need to control it has long influenced my photography.
The love affair with carefully manicured grass began when the American Garden Club convinced home owners that it was their civic duty to maintain a beautiful lawn. From that point on the days when Woodrow Wilson had sheep on the White House lawn were gone forever.
This art concept illustrates a future generation of homeowner who will look at a summer meadow and see it as an opportunity to change it to thirsty cultivated grass.
Behind the scenes – composite photos
Using a 20 ft. length of artificial turf, I hung one end on a background studio stand. I shaped the ripples in the turf to give the material a lighter more paper-like appearance.
Composing at 24mm at f22, I made sure the camera height matched the top of the background. If the lens was higher or lower than this viewpoint, the landscape and portrait composite would not match this perspective and not look believable. At this elevation I then tilted the lens down a little.
Using strobes, I lite the turf to match the intensity and angle of the sunlight in the landscape photo. The landscape photo was made using a 24mm lens at f4.
A similar studio lighting setup was used for the model holding the foam core. The portrait was created using a 105mm lens at f9.
Adding and blending the 3 photos was done in Photoshop.
Go to top
2013 New Jersey Wild and Scenic, and 2013 Birds and Bloom Calendar
The selection of calendars out there, and all their formats, never ceases to amaze me. Even in our digital society, print calendars still exist, and even thrive.
I guess there is a part of us that will always be analog. I confess, I still like to turn the pages in a book, hold a pen, and put a sticky note on the edge of my monitor. Of course maybe it’s the 50% off all calendars in January that is nearly irresistible to ignore.
Well whatever it is, whoever first combined how we keep track of the days and months using kittens or babies was a genius!
This year I have the cover for the 2013 Birds and Bloom calendar, which you can purchase here. And I also contributed eleven images, including the cover, for the 2013 Wild and Scenic New Jersey, which you can purchase here.
Time to start selecting images for 2014!
Go to top
Summer visitors on the beach, Seaside Heights, New Jersey (Steve Greer)
As a tourism and lifestyle photographer my job is to create imagery to make NJ look its best. Much of what draws folks to the Garden State starts with great photos of our pristine beaches, world-famous boardwalks and the lively nightlife in the coastal resort towns.
Ocean City, New Jersey (Steve Greer)
Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey hard and transitioning from emergency relief to recovery and rebuilding is going to be nothing short of epic. The dramatic aerial photos of the coastline devastation is heartbreaking to look at.
Jersey Atlantic Wind Farm and Waste Water Treatment Plant, Atlantic City, New Jersey (Steve Greer)
Many of the iconic amusement parks, arcades, restaurants, boardwalks, and homes I’ve photographed over the years are either damaged or completely destroyed. It will take time, but better days are ahead.
Amusement Theme Park, on the beach, Wildwood, New Jersey (Steve Greer)
Sailing the calm summer ocean and back bays, feeling the “sugar sand” between your toes, attending kite-flying festivals, and being thrilled on one of the many amusement pier rides will return.
To see more aerial photos of the New Jersey coastline visit my website
Go to top