Photographer David Stahl has built what’s thought to be world’s first 8×10” underwater analogue camera. In search of a challenge, and not buried treasure, Stahl went against his friends who repeatedly told him that bringing his idea to life was impossible and came up with this anything but shallow device. Throw yourself into the deep end and swim among mermaids after the jump!
Stahl admits he wanted to create something that involved all the hardest aspects of photography. An aluminum box you see below, weighed down by 60 pounds of lead, was what he came up with. It takes large-format pictures that capture a distance of 5 feet, as Stahl “wanted to capture as much of the underwater world as possible, as a landscape, with a main subject being at the center of attention”.
His aversion to settling for second best or swimming the shortest route to arrive at a destination rings through in this quote on digital photography, and also explains his wanting to create a camera from scratch rather than use existing underwater digital cameras: “Digital is way too easy, shallow might be a better word, and this easiness always comes out in the final image. The work should show struggle and hard labor”.
Technically speaking, the dome and lens of the camera gives the subject a substantial width on the negative that covers an area of eight feet and is able to pickup on fine details of the surrounding scene, such as the detailed air bubbles seen in the black and white photo of the four mermaids.
The camera is attached to a tripod mount to which dive weights are attached, to regulate buoyancy, as well as strobes to provide light as would a flash. The exposure data for Four Mermaids is: T-MAX 100 with full sun at 2:00 PM, depth 4 feet – f11 ½ @ 1/125.
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Information for this article was taken from bwphotopro.com
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