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Thread: Who out there does their Mer-Photography deeper than the usual 25 ft?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Pod of the Great Lakes
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    Who out there does their Mer-Photography deeper than the usual 25 ft?

    First are there any of you out there who do modelling deeper than the usual 25ft? If so how deep? Do you take a pony with you? Do you take your own SCUBA down and then remove at depth? Or do you just Buddy breathe off your photographer? Please tell me you aren't trying to surface regularly to breathe at 30some feet or more? I am no where near ready for this kind of mermaid photography but I would love to hear what everyone else recommends, or has tried so that as I find myself more experienced I can begin preparing myself for these kinds of shoots.

  2. #2
    Very few photographers want to go down that deep! The greatest loss of light happens in the first 10-15 feet, meaning more/more powerful strobes to go deep. The deeper you go, the less air time you have. And you can make things look quite deep in 10-15 feet of water. At more than 20 feet, you have to know how to track your nitrogen level so you don't get decompression sickness. At less than 20 feet, you have unlimited time, and can go directly to the surface, even if you have saturated with nitrogen.

    Generally, you go down with a safety diver. He's your air source, and your ride to the surface.

  3. #3
    Member Undisclosed Pod MermaidIvy's Avatar
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    JUST SAYING, I think a pony would drown if you brought it in that deep. I think it would refuse to sink... But would you bring it down with or without tack?

  4. #4
    What exactly are you trying to gain in the shots from the added depth?

  5. #5
    I have gone down to about 45-50 feet, unfortunately my photographer doesn't dive so the deep water photos I have are taken from above and its not as impressive as if it were taken down below with me. I'm looking for a scuba diving photographer for when I move to Florida. I love diving deep in my tails, it makes it more surreal, but I need a photographer who can keep up with me and capture my vision.
    I don't use any special gear, iv just been freediving since I was very young and can dive up to 60 feet in one breath.

    In these pics I'm at about 35 feet, the reef is much more impressive in these deep water shots than in my shallower ones.
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    Senior Member Pod of Cali Ashe's Avatar
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    45 ft? Wow, that is really impressive, Ilonka And what do you mean by pony? Like a horse pony? I don't really see what that would do... Anyways, I think that diving that deep for photos is a bit unnecessary, unless you're Ilonka :P Are you needing access to coral reefs or kelp beds at that depth?
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  7. #7
    I don't think they mean a real pony. xD

    And wow, Ilonka, that's really impressive. I really hope to eventually get a breathhold like that. Your pictures always come out super nice, too. Hopefully you can find someone here (and a place for it!).

  8. #8
    Wow! Ilonka! That is amazing! How long are you able to stay underwater?
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kalani View Post
    And what do you mean by pony? Like a horse pony? I don't really see what that would do...
    She means a "pony tank" sometimes also called a pony bottle.

    They are very small scuba tanks, called ponies because usually they are attached to the regular large scuba tank ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pony_bottle )

  10. #10
    I've done underwater photography, down to pretty deep depths, but only using scuba, taking photos of sea life or other divers with scuba gear (who keep it on ) So hope I can give some good advice, although Ilonka is obviously more experienced . Great photos, BTW Ilonka- just gorgeous!



    Quote Originally Posted by Nixen Nicole View Post
    Do you take a pony with you?
    A pony is too small for going down to those depths and getting anything done safely. They're designed for enabling a diver to make it to the surface in an emergency, and it works because as the diver goes up, the air lasts longer. Going down with a tiny tank is a bad idea, the deeper you go, the less time your air supply will last (Boyle's Law).

    Photography always takes longer than you think it will underwater, and you get so little time on a pony that you will be tempted to take too long.

    Do you take your own SCUBA down and then remove at depth?
    I've done this. It requires guts and confidence. We were actually made to do this by our gonzo suba instructor when I took diver training at my uni. It's super important to remember to not hold your breath if you do this. Keep your airway open at all times.

    Wouldn't recommend this for photography. Could discuss more if you want.

    Or do you just Buddy breathe off your photographer?
    Again, not a good idea. The photographer will get too far away from you at times and be distracted.

    This is where the Nemo's suggestion of having a third diver available to support you for buddy breathing comes in.

    Please tell me you aren't trying to surface regularly to breathe at 30some feet or more?
    Actually, freedivers do this all the time (as Ilonka has shown with her beautiful photos.)

    You need to learn freediving to do this, and at a minimum, it's best to have a third diver watching you from the surface, ready to do a rescue if you BO, or support you if you Samba when you surface (take some training and you'll learn what this means)

    Because it's possible to get DCS from freediving repeatedly and rapidly to depths >20 feet (sometimes called Taravana) you should learn about Surface Intervals (good reading here http://forums.deeperblue.com/beginne...intervals.html )

    I am no where near ready for this kind of mermaid photography but I would love to hear what everyone else recommends, or has tried so that as I find myself more experienced I can begin preparing myself for these kinds of shoots.
    I couldn't recommend too highly, taking a really good training program in scuba and/or freediving, depending on how you decide you want to go. Don't do one of those quickie specials at a resort ( http://www.familytravels.com/destina...e_courses.html )


    If there's a freediving or spearfishing club in your area, that's a great way to go, great source of training and buddies for your dives. Same for scuba clubs, but most scuba divers have no knowledge or experience with freediving, and my opinion is if you're going to freedive, you should have companion divers who know what they're doing. (Ilonka, maybe you can chime in here)?



    Finally- this is super important. Mixing freediving and scuba is super complicated. Don't freedive down, then take air under pressure from a tank. Although there are very few scientific studies to support the idea, most divers who do both don't freedive after scuba diving, the idea that building up blood gases diving with a tank, then bouncing pressure up and down by freediving might cause gas bubble nucleation (kind of like shaking a can of soda pop) Also, deep freediving before scuba diving will build up gas in your bloodstream, and if you scuba dive immediately after freediving, decompression calculations will not be accurate. Most divers who do both use some rule like waiting at least 2 or 3 hours after freediving before doing scuba, many won't do both on the same day.

    There are some very expensive dive computers that can calculate gas loads from freediving and scuba diving, but that's a topic for a whole more advanced level.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod Coradion's Avatar
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    I do, I can make it to 80' but usually hang out around 30-40'. My friends free dive, so we just do it on one breath and play down there before coming up.

  12. #12
    Junior Member Pod of Cali
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    I agree with Coradion. I prefer to model between 30 and 40 feet where I am buoyancy neutral. Going deeper would be fine but I prefer the control I have at that depth. The first 33 feet you dive, the buoyancy causes you to float up. At 33 feet, you don't float or sink making it really easy to hold a pose.

    At about 50 feet, you begin to lose color and only see contrast like stripes on your tail. Typically you want to keep your colors so you stay above 50 feet. I've never had an issue with light when I'm diving deep. Visibility is what I'm always concerned with. You really can't shoot if visibility is less than 10 feet. Even that sucks.

    You don't need air tanks unless you're doing something very specific. Typically I surface way before I need air to get more direction or find my photographer. We can get pretty far away very quickly swimming in a monofin! Ilonka is right- finding a good photographer is the real challenge.

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    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AptaMer View Post
    Finally- this is super important. Mixing freediving and scuba is super complicated. Don't freedive down, then take air under pressure from a tank.
    While this is an old thread, this^^ cannot be stressed enough, and it drove me nuts when they showed on H2O (a super popular kid's show!) how Zane does exactly this to "cheat", and it's no problem.
    I had red warning lights before my eyes and heard a loud siren wailing while watching that scene lol.
    Bad example for kids who watch.

    Anyway, I get the appeal of going down as deep as it takes for one to be neutrally buoyant.

    For me, that happens at around 20-25 feet, so I don't have to go as deep as others say they do (whose neutrally buoyant zone seems to be in the what's normally the freefall zone already).

    Regardless of this, if you haven't watched the Underwater Realm, do it.
    The last film shows the Atlanteans deep down on the sea floor, while high above, on the surface, are tiny ships which throw a guy with a rock into the water.
    He then keeps sinking, and sinking, and the Atlanteans try to swim him up, but the rock is too heavy.
    Eventually, they let him go and he sinks to the ocean floor.

    In this scene, the surface looks at least like 50m away, if not more.
    But in fact, the scene was shot in a 5m deep pool.

    This means one does not have to be in really deep water to get the most amazing make-believe shots.
    Last edited by Echidna; 06-20-2015 at 10:43 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Pod of Texas Seatan's Avatar
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    I get what you're saying, but in my opinion it is no problem to take air underwater as long as you know to continuously release it on the way up, as long as you don't do it more than one time. Otherwise you need surface intervals. Most ocean free divers have SCUBA training as well, or at least understand the physics of breathing underwater. It's NOT a problem to swim down 90 feet, take a breath off a SCUBA unit and exhale it as you rise as long as you make sure you are releasing enough air as you go up. I don't think it really sets that bad of an example for kids, either, as I can't imagine how any kid would be in this situation unless they were a SCUBA diver. (Of course I'm not sure I remember what episode this was, either... I have a terrible memory.). Mixing freediving and SCUBA is not super complicated unless you do it multiple times a day (in that case you need a computer) you simply need to be certified in SCUBA and have lots of SCUBA experience so you understand the intricacies of air under water. Continual exhalation as you slowly make a controlled ascent makes taking air underwater fairly simple. No, it's not as safe as holding your breath from the surface or continuously breathing from a regulator, but it's not that dangerous if you know what you are doing and it's a lot safer than blacking out underwater because you freedived too deep and can't make it up. Not that I think anyone should ever use a SCUBA unit without proper training. I just think we make it seem a little more advanced and ominous than it really is. Anyone who has seen the "air filled plastic bottle" effect underwater can appreciate how air under pressure works and should be able to breathe from a tank underwater then rise slowly to the surface while exhaling the whole time. You can feel the air in your lungs expand as you rise, so if you are calm and cool and continously exhaling, you will be fine.

    As for buoyancy there is no set level where a person magically becomes neutrally buoyant. If you are solid muscle you may be neutrally bouyant at fifteen feet. If you are all breast and booty you may not be neutrally bouyant until sixty feet. That's why people wear weights: to achieve neutral buoyancy at whatever depth they want to. I myself think the closer to the surface the better as reds are fazed out every meter you go down. The most vivid shots are the ones with lots of sunlight penetrating the water. Even adding a red lense just adds color on top of lost color--it doesn't actually restore the real color. Though I LOVE my red lens SCUBA goggles! I am as bouyant as hell. To be neutrally bouyant in salt water without weights I would have to go down really far. Not worth it IMO--I will just use weights.
    Last edited by Seatan; 06-20-2015 at 10:42 PM.
    Once upon a time I was known as Seavanna. Going by Seatan these days. I always wanted to be the high lord of underwater hell.

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    Senior Member Pod of Texas Seatan's Avatar
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    What does bother me is how H2O seems to encourage freediving alone. Having someone on the surface with a stopwatch is not good enough. You should always dive with a buddy.
    Once upon a time I was known as Seavanna. Going by Seatan these days. I always wanted to be the high lord of underwater hell.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    The episode I mean is in season 3, where Zane uses a trick to cheat Will.

    And yes, showing a freediver attempting a record while his "buddy" is standing on the boat looking at a watch with a worried face is...irresponsible at best.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Echidna View Post
    The episode I mean is in season 3, where Zane uses a trick to cheat Will.

    And yes, showing a freediver attempting a record while his "buddy" is standing on the boat looking at a watch with a worried face is...irresponsible at best.
    Ohhhhh. I thought you meant like, a behind the scenes clip on YouTube or something. I had completely forgotten about that episode somehow and had no clue what you meant. That's not something I'd ever really realized enough to put into thought--I knew that you couldn't do it but I guess my mind just slipped that info up every time I watched that episode. Huh.

    I'm not sure if any kids watching it are gonna go out and be amateur freedivers or anything--I feel like the average person knows that holding your breath and swimming is really difficult and dangerous. I see your point, though. Irresponsible as heck, lol. :P

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