Friday, October 20, 2017

Running Through the Sprinkler

So, what I really wanted to do for the latest image in my Why Nudism? series is take one of those awesome underwater swimming shots you see sometimes. But the harsh reality is that I don't own a swimming pool, don't know any private owners of a swimming pool, can't go skinny dipping in a public pool, and surely can't take a camera into the pool with me at a nudist camp and start snapping pictures. I might be able to sneak a shoot in a lake or river somewhere, but I don't know if the murkiness of the water would be a deal-breaker; at the very least it wouldn't have that bright, clear look that pools have. Plus, there's the added concern of losing your equipment if it gets away from you.

The next option was to do another "coming out of the water" type shot on the beach or lake shore, but I've done those in the past and not been too satisfied with the results (I'd love to have Sports Illustrated's experience); plus the public location makes it harder to focus on the task at hand and get the shot I need (especially if I'm naked). Besides, I really wanted to go above and beyond for the shots in this series, and I didn't want them all to have a "samey" look. That's why I was gunning for the underwater shot - it would be truly unique, as it's something I've never done before. But I'm open to compromises, because above all, I want to get this series finished, and not leave it open indefinitely.

So one day I was doing yard work in the ninety degree late summer heat, and it crossed my mind that I could cool off by spraying myself with the garden hose. That's when I noticed the rainbows that the spray created, and an idea was born - how cool would it be to do a "running/jumping through the sprinkler" shot, with a rainbow in the frame? I'd like to be able to say that the rest is history, but there's a little more to this story yet. I didn't have enough time before the sun dropped below the treeline to do the shoot right then and there (and you need the sun to get rainbows), so I had to schedule it for another day. Unfortunately, that was the last day of a long 80+ degree streak, before the weather dropped down a good ten to fifteen degrees for several days. When you're outside getting wet, the warmer the temperature is, the better.

But I had to shoulder on anyway. First, however, I had to master the trick of creating rainbows. The process is simple enough - spray some water in direct sunlight. But if you're going to be taking pictures - especially ones that are framed and composed well, and shot with a remote - you need to be able to predict where the rainbow will show up, and make sure it's in a good spot in the frame. And even though a rainbow will move as you move your head (or camera - whatever device is "seeing" the rainbow), it'll only turn up in a particular direction, and at a particular circular angle. So I had to brush up on the science of rainbows (it's pretty fascinating stuff). You probably know that they're caused by sunlight being reflected and refracted in droplets of water. But did you know that if you stand with your back to the sun, the rainbow will appear in a circular arc 42.52 degrees from the spot on the ground where the shadow of your head falls?

Armed with this knowledge, I temporarily experimented with constructing a "rainbow finder" out of a paper cone, scratching down all sorts of trigonometric equations and ratios. Then I decided to just go out in the yard with a camera and my garden hose, and play it by ear. I think the results turned out pretty well. I mean, I would have liked a more prominent rainbow, but under the conditions, I'm happy with what I got. It adds some extra flair to that corner, making the image more interesting overall. (And it's all natural - no Photoshop here!).


  1. There’s a rainbow coming out of your as ! I’d say that’s appropriate. ;)