Full Frame: The Story Behind the Image


© Jean-Paul Van Swae

Splash Landing
What’s the biggest challenge about photographing a dirt bike jumping into a swimming pool?

“Aside from not dying by either being hit by the bike from landing so close, or being electrocuted by the lighting power pack since the area around the pool was only about two-feet wide, the hardest part was to understand how to send a signal underwater to fire off the strobes above to get the necessary lighting,” photographer Jean-Paul Van Swae said about this spectacular shot.

The image was captured for Dirt Rider Magazine for a story “on how to resurrect your bike once you had drowned it.” Van Swae used a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, an EF 16-35mm f/2.8L lens, an AquaTech water housing, an underwater light meter, PocketWizards, and a Profoto Acute 2400 power pack and three heads to light the scene. There were also dive tanks, masks, fins, wetsuits, a weight belt, and a slew of logistical gear to make this complicated shoot happen.

“Most of the lighting came from above,” he explained. “Because the pool was quite tight and the fact that the light would refract easily underwater, I was able to bounce a bit of it from above and use a kicker light below.” See more of Van Swae’s work at www.jpvsphoto.com.