My First Cover Photo!

AA Traveler Cover


I shot this in the Puget Sound in the summer of 2012. It was the hardest shoot I have ever done. I was looking to shoot something different, something more than just your usual Stand Up Paddleboard Image. In my research for this photo shoot, I discovered the absence of  low angle photos for this sport. I came up with the idea to shoot from the water’s surface and in order to get these type of shots, I needed to be in the water.. I donned a full wet suit, put my camera in a waterproof bag, and got in the the cold water of the Puget Sound.

Puget Sound water temps are cold even in the middle of the Summer. Even though the air temps in Seattle that day were in the 90s the water-temps were still a chilly 55 degrees. I had to wear a full SCUBA wet suit to stay warm. I also wore my paddling life vest to keep me just above the waterline and help me be more stable.

Having a camera in a waterproof bag makes it almost impossible to make any quick adjustments. My underwater camera bag is made to go down to 100 feet so it’s very well sealed. It has finger pockets to adjust the controls but you have to fumble around in search of the buttons. I settled on having to preset the camera to the best settings for the light conditions and not try to make any adjustments while in the water. As a setting I went with a fast shutter speed to account for the massive amounts of camera movements from the waves. This speed adjustment, in turn, made it possible to freeze the splash in this photo. Yes, it was a happy accident but it was the result of my anticipated camera settings.

I saw this capture just after it was taken on the back of my camera and although it was only a two second review, I knew it was something special. We tried to recreate more splash shots for options in editing the shoot but this one just stood out as “The Shot”. There’s something in capturing that accidental moment that just can’t be reproduced. You just have to be ready to capture it when it occurs.

This is one of my top selling images with the Microstock Agencies. It has been downloaded hundreds of times and used on everything from websites to print materials. I discovered this cover piece from AA Traveler while researching my image usage thru Google’s Reverse Image Search. AA traveller is the official publication of the Automobile Association of South Africa.

About the author

Terry Schmidbauer:

1 Comment

  1. Russ P July 29, 2014

    This is awesome Terry - I'm glad you've decided to take your talent to the next level and it looks like it's working out. Great picture.

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