Behind the scenes of mermaids in training: How I shot underwater

June 25th, 2013 | by Jay Calderon | Comments
canon g-10 underwater housing

The Desert Sun has this Canon G-10 underwater housing.

I had the good fortune Monday of being able to take photos of some world-class synchronized swimmers who were in Palm Springs training for an upcoming underwater exhibition in Dubai. Fortunately, The Desert Sun does have an underwater camera housing for our Canon G10 point-and-shoot camera.

My main contact at the assignment Pete Voggenthaler (can’t thank him enough) was kind enough to give this rookie scuba diver a quick 10 minute scuba lesson where I learned how to breath underwater through the regulator attached to compressed air.  Trained and ready, I was equipped with goggles to see underwater and we started the photo shoot.

The four swimmers went through their training and I proceeded to shoot away.

synch swimmers1

Synchronized swimmers, from left, Rebekah Rife, Rachel Rife and Alison Williams practice at the Palm Springs Swim Center for an upcoming show in Dubai on Monday, June 24. (Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun)

Shooting underwater is not easy,  I put the camera on automatic because changing my exposure while submerged would be a difficult task and I just wanted to get as many pics as I could in my limited time.

The swimmers were very accommodating swimming in front of my camera as if I was the audience.  They went through a series of synchronized moves and I tried to frame them the best I could on the camera’s LCD screen that I had to use as a viewfinder.

Underwater was surreal.  There was music playing underwater for their routine.  Occasionally the choreographer coach would bang noises to the swimmers which they must have understood because they would then change poses.

synch swimmers2It was my first time breathing through a scuba regulator and occasionally I found myself holding my breath just on instinct until I realized I could breath underwater again.

I really appreciate how the underwater photos looked.  The relation of the swimmers bodies from front to back and top to bottom in the frame really added a lot of depth to the look of the photos.

Here’s hoping I get to do some more underwater photography soon.

See a photo gallery of this shoot here.


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