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The art of underwater pumpkin carving with SOCDC

Published on 2019-10-28 23:38:48

This is this time of the year again, the leafs are turning a very special kind of red here in California with all our wildfires, but the pumpkins are still bright orange and popping out on every doorsteps and, for us at the South Orange County Dive Club, underwater as well!

Conditions had been stellar for a few weeks already, with amazing visibility and awesome encounters, so we had no excuse this year, not to go carve ourselves some pumpkins!

I showed up at Shaw's Cove, probably the most dived at cove in our area, a little after 8:30am, and of course it was jam-packed, mostly with divers. But, after 15 years diving these waters, one knows that the early divers start around 7:30 and the later ones, around 9 and beach goers usually don't show up before 10. So 8:30 is when the guard changes, basically and the early divers start leaving and parking starts freeing. And it did. 5 minutes after parking on a side street a good 15 minutes walk (with gear!) from the beach, a parking spot opened right in front of it! I grabbed it really quick and started calling and texting the rest of the group to make sure they hurry up! We ended up packing 3 cars where usually only 2 fit, but that was worth it!

It was super hot that day, even at the beach and donning the 7mm was excruciating. My job on this dive was to document the bold feats of my fellow divers, risking their fingers, their gear and their reputation on an activity that I barely can achieve on dry land! In 2013 I had built a special video rig to film that exact deed, but even though it kind of did the job, it was far from optimal and the lighting was absolutely not uniform and it showed pretty bad on the video (11 minutes? Really?)

This year, I had invested in two very compact GOBE lights from Light & Motion and a holding rig made of Loc-Line coolant hoses bought at a discount on Amazon (I'm cheap, I know). I tried the rig on my sea lion dive a couple of weeks ago but had not secured one the arms of the rig properly and I ended up diving with just one light. This time, a few drops of Gorilla Glue later, the rig was perfectly operational and blinded the divers with 2x800 lumens of pure white energy...

The result: a couple of shots of divers carving pumpkins, obviously. Viz was good, but the lights really made the color pop! Photos were shot at 1/125s Tv, ISO400 max, with the exception of the sunburst shots at Tv 1/640s. Color correction in post-prod of course.

This time I also shortened the video to a more viewable and enjoyable 2 minutes 30 seconds and even added my first special effects at the end!

I'm sad to report that three pumpkins were actuallyhurt for the making of this film, so let's ear them scream!

And the short video


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