Adventure photographer Daniel Woods has always been amazed at the beauty and vastness of the La Jolla sea caves in San Diego, California. After many years doing photo shoots at La Jolla Shores, Woods couldn’t help but think how cool it would be to introduce lighting to the cave in a night time shoot. Making it his own personal passion project, Woods got a crew together, using a Sony α7R III camera in an Outex waterproof camera housing and added a bevy of waterproof lights for a glowing sea cave adventure sports shoot. This short video was featured by Sony alpha universe on Oct 12th, 2018.
"The beauty of working with these lights was that they matched up so well with the α7R III's sensor capabilities. In the end, the lighting combined with the incredible sensors and technology in a Sony camera was a perfect recipe for raw visual impact. It was awesome.", said Daniel Woods.
Underwater Equipment Solution
“Since you can’t put tripods in a sea cave, we had five good swimmers holding lights throughout the cave,” says Woods. “Two far back in the cave, two in the middle and one up by me for fill. Plus, we had a "behind-the-scenes" cameraman, a video man, the talent (Steve Connell, Laura Abraham @laurenabraham), and me – so a crew of nine people.” Equipped with the Sony α7R III (and Sony α7 III for BTS) and a Sigma E-mount 20mm f/1.4 lens using #Outex housings with a Dome glass port, Woods used a nighttime picture profile he found on YouTube and set Memory Recall to easily switch between still images and video, and to quickly change video resolutions and frame rates.
Underwater Camera Settings
“I’ve pulled off handheld shots on kayaks in the cave at 1/80-sec., but I needed a faster shutter speed since the waves were moving not only the talent but also the crew,” says Woods. "I shot at 1/160-sec. at f/2.2 and ISO 3200, and those settings seemed to be the ticket for this shooting situation.” Of course, the element that really makes the shots is the lighting. The glow under the paddleboarder and ethereal illumination inside the cavern. Creating that look turned out not to be all that difficult, once Woods had the right lights. "I discovered these Light & Motion lights. They're dive lights built for much deeper conditions than this shoot and they're continuous lights so there aren't any strobe issues or long cables and they're super bright. The beauty of working with these lights was that they matched up so well with the α7R III's sensor capabilities. In the end, the lighting combined with the incredible sensors and technology in a Sony camera in the Outex camera housing was a perfect recipe for the raw visual impact. It was awesome.”