How to: Lighting up a pool at night

On a recent vacation trip to Aruba, I was fascinated by the underwater lights on the main swimming pool. I knew I could use a time exposure to burn in the filtered lights, but that would have left little detail elsewhere. I had to add some light, and also add visual interest in the form of a model at poolside.

So off I went with a lightweight tripod, a Really Right Stuff travel carbon fiber. I posed my model in the foreground, which was virtually pitch black, and set my Contax G2 for a time exposure, on Fuji Velvia 50 film. To add light, I used a Vivitar 383 flash set on an auto exposure at f/4. The rangefinder on the Contax was useless in the darkness, so I used a manual focus setting of about 20 feet, which was within the range of the flash automatic range. I tripped the shutter and counted off seconds, and within the middle of the exposure I manually fired the flash. I made a series of exposure ranging from a few seconds to about ten seconds, and picked the best result for the picture displayed here. If you look closely, you might notice that the model moved ever so slightly during the time exposure, but still the photograph seemed effective and interesting.

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