About 20 years ago my wife Sherri Barber (www.sherribarber.com) and I were shooting sports every week. She was a newspaper photographer and I was a free-lance sports photographer. We had an equipment “Package” for each sport. A selection of cameras & lenses, fanny packs, knee pads, rain slickers, ear protection, sunscreen and accessories all designed for the effective coverage of whatever the day’s event was; basketball, football, golf, skiing, car racing, tennis or rodeo.
Not often but occasionally I need to build a new package. That was the case last week when I was going to the east coast of Florida to shoot stills and video for In-Situ Inc., a Colorado based manufacturer of water testing devices. We were going to be out in boats, wading around on sandbars and doing some half underwater half above water filming too. We were using Nikon HDSLR cameras and GoPro’s on this trip.
The gear we have now is so much easier to use than what we were working with 20 plus years ago. But it still requires some pre-planning and adherence to a schedule, you can’t just go for a boat ride and expect to get everything you need.
I didn’t want to work from my normal “Lightware” cases with their porous Cordura fabric covers yet I didn’t really need to have my cameras completely protected in underwater housings. For my primary camera bag, I ended up buying a new variation of a dry bag from Gill, a sailing supply company. It opens along the long dimension rather than the traditional roll down end of most dry bags. I added some structure inside with a small box and a lens divider from a Domke bag to keep my gear separated. I wasn’t too concerned about cameras bouncing around I just wanted some level of water protection. My other gear, lights and strobes were packed in waterproof, bins and dry bags.
Fortunately, our primary shoot day was sunny, so I didn’t have to use any portable lights on the sandbar. I decided to sacrifice my oldest tripod and just plant it in the saltwater and rebuild it after the shoot.
I managed to keep the head dry so dismantling and cleaning the legs and feet was all that was necessary this week. Obviously, I was knee to chest deep in water all day, so my uniform was board shorts, Keen sandals and a long sleeve fishing shirt.
I have long been in awe of the crews that shoot the fishing shows and how they function in that challenging environment. Especially when the key moments are when the wild fish are being stalked and caught. I’m certainly no water sports specialist but I’ve been around the block more than a few times and can usually cobble together a package that gets the job done. At least on this shoot I could laugh at my mistakes and tell everyone to “Reset, we’re going to shoot it again”.
Here is a little “Behind the Scenes” video from the trip.
Watch for the dolphin surfing in the boat’s wake.
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Written by: Bill Sallaz, Owner
Specializing in Web Video Production Services
Sarasota Video Production | Video Production Bradenton FL