Chuck Espinoza Photography

Los Angeles Based Freelance Photographer.
About this shot | aquatech

Shooting Underwater in the dark

October 17, 2017

I’ve wanted to experiment with using strobes in the pool and finally got my chance. I called on fellow water photographer Melissa Lundie to help me with the shoot. Melissa has the know-how and a few pieces of equipment I needed to make things work. Aquatech housings allow for expansion and with the equipment Melissa brought I had the option of triggering my strobes (which were out of the pool) with a pocket wizard or I could use a an off-camera 580 EX flash in an Aquatech strike housing that could be in or out of the pool. For the beginning of the shoot we opted to use the pocket wizard to trigger the strobes. Because the water will not allow for the transmission of radio waves the pocket wizard needs to remain floating or out of the pool.  I opted for two battery powered Elinchrom rangers for safety’s sake. I knew at some point I would need help focusing in the dark so I used an underwater flashlight to help me pull focus.

This shot shows the two heads outside the pool.

This would have been an impossibility without Melissa’s help. It took a lot of trial and error to get the lights dialed in. For the first part of the shoot it felt like a waste of time because I was blasting so much light into the pool that it had the look of a daylight shoot. By the time we were half way through the shoot I found a look I was happy with. It looked more specific and justified the hassles of working in the dark.

Amber & Kerisa Denison

Because Melissa and I were both curious we ended the shoot using the 580ex. Melissa had 30 ft cable and she hand-held the flash. Turns out that we needed very little power to get the look you see here. Melissa had the flash zoomed out to get the spotlight effect. I would have liked to experiment more but by this point it we had been in the pool for hours.

Off-camera 580ex in Aquatech strike housing

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