Underwater Yoga Photography

This post first appeared as a story in elephant journal.

Two things happened at once in 2010 to inspire this series of yoga photographs. I came across a postcard advertisement for Prana with a stunning image of a black man in lotus pose underwater in a swimming pool. It went up on my inspiration wall right away. Soon after I was visiting the local dive shop here in Boulder, Ocean First Diving, chatting with the owner Graham, and he mentioned he had just upgraded his underwater camera rig and was putting the old one up for rental at the shop (For you gearheads, it was serious iron, a Nikon D2X in a Seacam case).

Bing! So I put out the call for a pool, some models and a couple of weeks later I was at an apartment complex swimming pool, with the camera, scuba rig and 4 models.

I learned a lot that day. First of all, the concept ROCKED! The dappling light from the sun through the water, the weightlessness of the yogis and their yoga poses, and the sheer otherworldly-ness of the images worked beyond my wildest hopes.

 

 

But there were lots of issues and challenges. It was really tiring for the models to do yoga underwater, and it was  hard for them to get into the poses and then stabilize for a shot from the right angle. And I hated the lines on the bottom of the pool, and the swimsuits ruining the simple lines of the bodies and poses.

I solved that issue by asking around for a couple of months until I found a private pool without lines that I could use, and putting out the word for models who would be willing to loose the suits.

 

 

 

 

I’ve shot yoga at this private pool now three times (Thanks Jen!), once in 2010 and twice in 2011. I continue to be enthralled by the quality of the light and the energy of the images, and grateful beyond belief that I have friends who will model for me in such challenging circumstances.

 

 

 

 

*You* try holding your breath in Dhanurasana (bow pose) upside down underwater! Or getting into Lotus pose nude and then being picked up by two guys and thrown into the pool.

yoga art underwater lotus pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s impossible for me to pick an image as favorite, but these two of Tunde and Rusty in Lotus, tattoos lit up by the water light, really work for me.

The only thing I wish could change is that private pool is really small, and I can’t get all the camera angles I want. If anyone knows of a largish private pool in the Boulder/Denver area, get in touch!

To see more of my underwater images, and also the “Behind The Scene” shot of Catherine in Lotus being pitched into the pool by Rusty and Guillome, visit this gallery on my website OmLightPhotography.com.

 

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