How to Capture a Swimming Hole

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Back in the day when I was an art director for an adventure travel company, I had the pleasure of visiting some truly great swimming holes in Europe with the illustrious (and always fun) NY photographer, Rob Howard.

Getting the perfect swimming-hole shot in action is not as easy as it looks.

In the days when we were still shooting actual FILM, Rob had to make every shot count. Each frame of 120mm film cost about 3 bucks, and we only had the finite amount of film he and his trusty assistant could carry with them on a 2-week photoshoot. None could be wasted!

Then a couple of years later, digital came along and we were relieved of that burden, but it still takes a particular skill and art to get those shots just right. 

The human body in motion is a tricky thing -- if you catch an arm or a leg in a not-quite-right position, it just reads as WEIRD in a photo. And the timing is so crucial... one moment your subject is rooted to land, the next they are airborne, then there is the splash (also worth capturing) and then they are gone, under water.

Rob's eye-to-hand reflexes were so speedy, so honed, and so instinctive, that I always knew he would GET the shot...

But since practice makes perfect, we did have to jump in... again... and again... and again...

Photographs courtesy of Rob Howard.

Rob shot us jumping off our little yacht, The Callisto, in the Aeolian Islands from a sea kayak.





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