It was a joy, mostly, to shoot yoga instructor Ka’ale Sea performing feats of grace in the gushing mist of a tropical waterfall.
We had just a couple hours to capture teaser stills and video for the up-and-coming launch of Waterfall Yoga at Nihiwatu Resort, in western Sumba. And since the bamboo platform for this offering hasn’t quite left the ground, we were further challenged to find flattish perches on which to prop Ka’ale and cameras.
Thankfully, Ka’ale is a pro, and made a one-legged squat on a boulder look effortless. “That’s the move!” I said. “Can you do that 20 more times?” She didn’t bat an eye.
By capturing a wide shot of Ka’ale’s full sequence, followed up by “B-camera” cutaways of the same moves (“Perfect knee bend! Do it again!”), we got just enough footage for a two-minute flow.The dreamy, creamy shots were courtesy Lensbaby. This was the first time I’d strapped one on for video on my Nikon D7000. I’d seen a Lensbaby in movie mode while fixing some reconstruction sequences on a production of Man vs. Monster. But that was a Lensbaby “Composer”, and sure enough, it’s the more forgiving lens in the heat of action. Not like my “Control Freak” which is 150% manual, from the poke-em-in, pry-em-out aperture rings, to the accordian-like tilt/shift focus, flexed by two hands, or better yet, three.
The strategy: I picked an f8-ish ring from my quiver, which offered maybe f0.8 depth of field with the lens mid-squish. Next I hunted down a sliver a focus (“Hold that squat!”), and once I found it (at last!) I probed gently all around it, rocking the lens and/or my body in the rhythm of breath. It was like meditating, save for the cuss words, and the odd shots where my wobbles jived with Ka’ale’s, which were quasi-orgasmic.None of this would have been possible without a decent loupe. Sadly, mine was barely decent as the night before its eyepiece had been half-eaten by rats! They’d marched past my Toblerone and cashews and went straight for my $5-a-nibble eyecup. Tragic! I’ve yet to find a camera loupe dealer in Indo, let alone Sumba. Anyway, even half an eyecup was indispensable for a 3-point brace on the camera (make that 20-point, with the rat nibbles) and for fishing out “sweet spots” of focus.
Since the dawn of DSLR video, there’s been a proliferation of loupes that cost more than most used cameras. ‘Til now, I’ve been happy strapping on my $90 Hoodman loupe (better known for reviewing still images) with a couple over-sized hair ties. The Hoodman comes with a nifty case. Use it!