Bikini Model, A Speargun and a Monk Seal make for a great shoot!

Im continuing with my Spearfishing themed shoots and this time I worked with an awesome young lady by the name of Mandy Butler. I found her to be very professional, showed up on time and posed naturally and moved perfectly for the camera, taking direction very well.

The Speargun was provided by www.hatchcustomsusa.com and is a custom painted affair with a matching mask but more about this in a future blog post.

I had scouted the location a few days before having seen many photos of it online, I just knew it would be perfect. Known as Lanai Lookout, its a series of amazing volcanic rock formations that form a jagged and often dangerous coastline with unique colors and shapes. Getting down to the waters edge can be tricky and the waters below very unforgiving. Don't try to walk down without closed toe shoes, I've personally donated skin to the Hawaiian gods walking down the steep pathways. Also do not take the warning signs lightly, waves splash up onto the rocks and many have been swept away, a daring photo opportunity is not worth ones life.

Enough doom and gloom but it needed to be said and now on to our shoot. We trekked down a steep path to a tidal plateau below a beautiful bridge and incredible rock formations. I setup an Alien Bees flash with a 47" octobox rented from my friends at www.hawaiicamera.com powered by a Paul C. Buff battery pack and triggered by my trusty Youngnuo triggers. I had this setup to the models left and secured by my trust assistant. To the models left I had a www.saberstrip.com housing my canon 580EX II and secured with a heavy sandbag.

Now dealing with the harsh sunlight and overpowering the sun with a flash sync of 200th of a second and a narrow DOF, for this I slapped on a breakthrough.photography.com X2 6 stop ND filter and got 200th of a second at f4, perfect for what I was doing.

The shoot was going great, we were standing on this huge tidal plateau, safe from the crashing waves pounding the coastline or so I thought, half way into our shoot a huge wave crashed over the rocks and almost instantly we were knee deep in sea water. We werent in any danger but the same cannot be said about my saberstrip and canon flash, even with a heavy sandbag it was toppled over by the power of the water, submerging it all and smashing my youngnuo to pieces. I sacrificed an expensive strobe that day but it was all worth it in the end. We got some great pics, thats for sure.

On a side note I mentioned a monk seal, a very rare mammal endemic to Hawaii with only 1100 left in the wild and guess who was on the rocks, having a lazy day snoozing away but a giant Monk Seal called 'Kolohe'. By law you are not allowed to harass them or interact with them. You must remain at least 50 feet away and let them be. Take your photos from a distance and remember that moment, its not everyday you get to see such a rare animal in the wild. We let him be and did our shoot around him without bothering him, was super cool to see one so close.

On to the photos, please enjoy...