Photo Anatomy: how one of the web’s most viral images was made

Photo Anatomy: how one of the web's most viral images was made

In our new Sunday series on Digital Camera World, we select pictures by famous photographers and explain point by point what makes them work.

In our latest instalment Seth Casteel tells us how he captured his extraordinary underwater dog portraits, which took the internet by storm overnight.

Photo Anatomy: how one of the web's most viral images was made

Seth was inspired by seeing a dog that loved jumping into a pool to retrieve a ball. “As I watched him, I wondered, ‘What does he look like under there?’” he says.

Underwater kit
Seth used a Canon EOS 7D body, a Tokina 12-24mm lens and a Canon 580 EXII flashgun, all encased in a custom-designed surf housing. The camera was just a few inches from the dog.

“I love the connection that dogs have with water,” says Seth. “It gives me the opportunity to explore their wild instincts and allows their amazing range of expressions to shine through.”

Aside from the dog’s determined and wild-eyed appearance, the overall visual impact of the image is reinforced by the dominating complementary blue and orange colours.

Split-second timing
Seth waited underwater for the dog to jump into the pool and then fired the shutter. The dog’s movement was frozen by the flash, just as it was straining every muscle to reach the ball.

We say
“Capturing action shots of dogs can be challenging, but there are a few simple techniques you can try. Photograph them running in surf at the beach, or jumping to catch a ball or frisbee. Use your camera’s continuous AF mode 
and the fastest available shutter speed, and frame tightly for impact.”
Chris Rutter, technique editor


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