The Lady & the Dragons

19-May-2011 Back to Image Gallery

The Lady & the Dragons

Capturing this picture was an exercise in persistence for both my wife Cherie and I! I had created this image in my mind but it took me three dives on three separate weekends to finally achieve it. Add to this the fact that this is a shore dive involving a hike in full equipment and heavy camera system down and back up a steep rocky outcrop, plus it was winter, the water was cold and I would not let my model, Cherie wear a hood! After reviewing my processed film images from attempt one I realised I hadn’t exposed the background sunlight exposure so it was too black. Attempt two revealed too much backscatter due to the excessive nutrients common to this dive site which would repel most photographers from attempting wide angle images here.Retuning for attempt number three with previous setbacks resolved I struggled to find the sea dragons and just when I succeeded Cherie showed me her air gauge had just 60 Bar left (600 PSI). Cherie will tell you that apparently I have this look of death that can emanate from a face mask and dramatically reduce ones air consumption. Cherie on the other hand can actually smile with her eyes behind a face mask! A talent that Belinda Barns, co-editor of Sport Diving Magazine noted and prompted her to use this image as the magazine cover shot, Issue #42, Feb/Mar 1994.

Photo Data: Location: Kurnell, Botany Bay, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Genre: Wide Angle Sunlight & Dual Strobe. Photo Data: Nikon F3, Nikkor 18 MM lens, Aquatica Housing, Dual Sea & Sea Strobes, Manual Focus, Manual Exposure Mode. Fuji Velvia Film ISO 50 Exposure f5.6 @ 1/30th second. Image by Kevin Deacon

Photo Hints: To be successful with photographs of divers you need a very co-operative model that has the training, experience and interest for the role. They need to understand the technical parameters and limitations of underwater photography, they need to cheat their face so strobe light reveals their features, manage close encounters with all species of marine life, some safe, some not! Photographer and model must develop a hand signal language unique to photography and be intuitive to what will make a great image. Remember, pictures are taken but great images are made!

Interesting Facts: This is one of three images I can remember that took great persistence. I will reveal the other two in the near future. I have a number of famous quotes that I live by. Following is one of them: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.†Spoken by President Calvin Coolidge, born 1872, 30th American President. The famous shipwreck in Vanuatu, The President Coolidge was named in his honour.

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