“Louis Pasteur said that “fortune favours the prepared mind”. He wasn’t a photographer, but that’s good enough for me. Sometimes in photography we get lucky, but if we want to create a great picture a little bit of planning goes a long way, and so I hatched a cunning scheme for my masterpiece, a classic image referencing legends and heroes, all on a budget that would have just about stretched to a pint of milk.
How hard could it be?
For inspiration I looked to Arthurian legend, and proceeded to put together my shopping list:
One castle, with moat. Not too difficult – we’re in Sussex after all
One broom handle
One model (who could swim)
My grand scene would be the Lady of the Lake thrusting Excalibur from the misty mysterious depths of a moat. As a smoke machine was out of the question, (needed milk), I would resort to that old photographer’s trick of using neutral density filters for a long exposure to make the surface of the water look like glass, two minutes should do it I reckoned.
The plan was simple. My wife would wade out into the moat until she was totally submerged, and then hold the broomstick at arm’s length over her head, (I’d replace it with a sword later).
Unfortunately I never got to the castle. I had committed the fatal mistake of underestimating the enthusiasm of my model. I did point out that pearl divers never had a problem holding their breath for longer two minutes, that wasn’t sensible. Not being able to find a snorkel didn’t help.
With the benefit of hindsight I’d like to share some lessons:
1. Agree with your model before-hand what is to be done, especially if you live with them!
2. Always have a snorkel handy!”
– David Charles Mason
David runs a Photography Group and an Introduction To Photography workshop at our studio. For further information on when they run and prices please click here.