A few years ago, my wife and I decided to put in a pool. We had been talking about it, crunched the numbers, knew that it was a big investment, but with two children, it was essentially the 'best time' to do it, if we were ever going to.
At the time, it never even dawned on me that it would become one of my favourite ways to create art.
We both grew up with swimming pools. We both had above ground swimming pools. We both loved our pools as kids. We like where we live and have no plans to move.
What my wife wanted, if we were going to do this, was a deep end. Something that neither of us had had as kids. We have family and friends with sport pools and they're wonderful, but for whatever reason, she really wanted to dive in fully and completely.
At the time, I was working in a career with a very demanding schedule, especially during the summer months, with storms damages, etc. The last thing I wanted was another commitment.
'So if we get this, this is going to be your baby, right? You're going to do all the work for it, right?' I naively said to my wife prior to making this decision. She reassured me that she would.
We were standing in the showroom with our quote and now a contract before us... My wife signed her name excitedly. I stepped up, did the same... Once signed, I turned around, excited about this new venture... and POOF, she was gone... Like a puff of smoke in cartoons when the Roadrunner high tails it out of town.
Since that fateful day, the pool has been my project.
I'm not sure when I decided that I wanted to try some underwater photography in it, but probably early on. In looking into options, it essentially came down to two. One was this glorified ziplock bag (ya right) and the other was the true housing. This was an experiment... I had to be reasonable about this in my own mind. The housing for my DSLR was VERY expensive. See that all caps? Ya... I'm not kidding... It was prohibitively expensive. I then thought... 'Ok, what about my smaller camera?' thinking I could try this out with that one. WOW, even a housing for that camera was still too expensive...
After a little looking around, I found this relatively inexpensive camera that one takes to the beach or on vacation. It's essentially a pocket camera, but can go underwater. It does have some great features that suit what I do perfectly. It also has some things about it that I wish were different or expanded or better...
But as photographer Chase Jarvis says... 'the best camera is the one that's with you'
All the underwater images I shot in 2013 & 2014 were shot with this little trooper of a camera. Pushing it to its limits more and more.
At the end of the season last year, I realized that the pushing I could do with the camera were reaching its limit. I was at the crossroads of having to settle on some of the technical limitations of this piece of gear, or move forward with a different piece of equipment.
I'm a firm believer that the equipment we use are just tools. The aesthetics of the images, the vision of the photographer, the orchestration of all sorts of elements is not the camera's job. The camera just records it. But I am excited to be trying out a new camera system and housing (both were very economical, relatively speaking) this year. One that I hope will be a catalyst for more images. My hope is that I'll be better able to overcome some technical issues, while at the same time continuing to creating more and more underwater images.
Winter can't end soon enough for me... It's going to be a great summer!