The Thrills and Chills of Shooting Underwater


YazTheSpaz recounts her ‘eye-opening’ experience during a fashion shoot for an upcoming issue of Aquila Style magazine.

The Thrills and Chills of Shooting Underwater_Aquila Style

Have you ever had the feeling of losing sensation in your toes from the cold?

Recently, I had the pleasure of experiencing that – and then some! Being submerged in what felt like ice-cold water gave me the feeling of a complete loss of blood flow and sensation in my body, hands and even nose.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the honour of being part of an exclusive Aquila Style photoshoot. This wasn’t just an ordinary ‘look at the camera with a fierce face’-type of photoshoot. This shoot was submerged.

I’d been approached by Lisa, the photographer for the shoot, who called me up and asked, ‘How would you like to do an underwater photo shoot?’ As soon as she said that, my eyes lit up with excitement!

In the weeks of preparation for the shoot, Lisa got in contact with other photography students who were eager to get involved. The first was Michelle Sarkissian, a photography student at the University of Central Florida. Michelle took on the lead assistant position; her job was to find the best locations and visuals for the shoot.

Next was Nelson ‘Nene’ Rodriguez. He was basically my lifeguard and overall assistant for the shoot – from picking up equipment to pulling me back up when all my clothing dragged me down!

The makeup was taken care of by Brittani Leskis, who gave me a flawless, radiant glow, even underwater. Lido Photography was in charge of behind-the-scenes footage from all angles of the shoot.

Of course, all of this could not have been done without Lisa from Lisa M Vogl Photography. She was able to capture breathtaking photos while trying to stay afloat with her underwater camera armour.

Last but not least, we have to thank Bel Vestito Abaya Replicaz (BVAR) who sponsored two stunning abayas that took centre stage in this fabulous shoot – one piece in gray and the other in deep purple.

The Aquila Style underwater shoot took place over a two-day period. The location for day one was the home of Rasha Mubarak, regional director of Emerge USA, an NGO. It had a gorgeous 1.8-metre-deep pool that seemed like the perfect location for the shoot – if only the water hadn’t been so frigid! It felt like thousands of needles poking me. At the time, we had no choice but to get some shots in before the sun went down, even if we were shivering to death.

Personally, I was not totally satisfied with the shots from day one. The freezing water was a shock to my body, and I could see it reflected in the photos. Both Lisa and I had never experienced anything so ‘miserable’ in our photo-shooting lives, but we persevered because work was work. After finishing day one, Lisa and I immediately jumped into a bathtub filled with steaming hot water. It took our bodies almost one hour to get back to normal temperature!

We came in with much more enthusiasm on day two, knowing that Michelle had gone to a nearby university to book a 3-metre-deep pool that was indoors and heated. Lisa and I couldn’t wait to jump straight in and get started!

In order to capture as many shots as possible, the pool was reserved for six hours. During those six hours, Lisa and I would count to three before going under water – ‘One, Two, Three!’ – and down we went, posing and shooting as many times as possible until we had no choice but to come up to the surface to breathe. I took huge gasps of air when I came up – you can imagine how much the wet outfits pulled me down! At one point, Lisa attached a 10-pound (4.5 kg) brick to herself in order to weigh her down more deeply into the pool to capture images from below.

The most painful part of it all came at the end. After having been underwater with my eyes open for much of the six-hour shoot, my vision became blurry and my eyes became red and swollen from the chlorinated water. Nevertheless it was a positive outcome; we got the shots we wanted – and more.

Overall, it was an incredible experience for everyone on the team.

What did I learn?

Pursue your passion no matter what it is or how much you struggle to succeed.

Perhaps you’re asking: ‘Was it a successful photo shoot?’

I guess you’ll just have to wait and see when Aquila Style publishes it in the April 2013 issue of their magazine!

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