Underwater is a very particular photography field that not many of us had the chance to experience but many of us wonder how it’s done, and what it’s like to do it. Elena Kalis is an underwater photographer which work is now famous around the world, especially with her series “The Bahamas Girl”.
Based in the Bahamas, that helps, Elena developed her own unique style within a few years. She has always been an artist, she started photography 7 years ago, as a new way of expressing herself.
“Flooding my camera is the most traumatic experience I’ve faced, sharks are much less frightening.”
“I now live on a small tropical island and spend quite a bit of time in and under the water so it’s an obvious environment for me to experiment with my camera.”
“Digital Photography opens up a lot of possibilities for artists. Before I got into photography, I was a trad artist and used brushes and paint on canvas. Digital cameras and software offer huge opportunities for new images previously impossible to produce.”
” Where I live, the very different environment of the underwater world is fascinating to explore. The dreamlike, weightless atmosphere allows for all kinds of setups that are impossible out of the water”
She explains to Digital Photo Magazine that for this kind of photography you can use an underwater camera or a housing to protect your camera. An underwater lighting might also be needed if there is not enough illumination.
She uses a Canon 5D and a 5D mark II along with a selection of prime lenses. It goes without saying that she needs a diving equipment like a mask and flippers and also sometimes a compressor and a tank as she says.
“Finding the right model can be challenging, you have to be very comfortable underwater and have a lot of natural poise and grace”
As she likes to point out, it’s difficult to control one’s movement so it can take many shots to obtain what you want, especially when there is current.
She also does shootings in pools but admits in the meantime that she prefers the ocean: “It’s ten times more difficult but the ocean have a beautiful natural stage, fish, corals and often provides spectacular lights.”
If one asks her in which location in the world she could shoot too, she answers that the Bahamas is hard to beat because of its clear blue water and shallow coral reef!
The Bahamas Girl series has been shot with her daughter Sacha modeling for the occasion. ” I’m very proud of my daughter, she’s my muse and my little mermaid.”
The advice Elena would give for someone who wants to give a go to underwater photography would be not to let your equipment stop you from experimenting and trying new ideas. Even the iPhone has a housing these days and you can get a simple protective bag for your camera to try it out. Even with fairly basic equipment there are still many effects and situations to be explored and all it takes is a few days on holiday near clear and warm waters.
Be sure to follow Elena’s work here: http://www.elenakalisphoto.com/
Scroll down for a larger selection of her amazing series. She also did a series called “Alice in Water Land” of which you can see a little selection at the end of this article.