September 23, 2021

Music Arts

Spearheading Arts Excellence

Bieber. Kardashians. Gaga. Photographer-to-the-stars and Hamilton indigenous switches gears, going deep into the chilly waters off Tobermory to capture design atop shipwrecks

7 min read

Steve Haining has been a photographer to the stars, capturing the likes of Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, the Kardashians, Katy Perry, David Hasselhoff, Lou Ferrigno, Gigi Hadid, the Backstreet Boys and Justin Bieber.

“I’ve been blessed sufficient to tour with some of the major bands, satisfy the coolest individuals, dive into cultures and working experience lifestyle in all corners of the world,” says the Hamilton indigenous, who has many years of new music movie and film set knowledge, and whose do the job has appeared on approximately each individual continent.

But the crown jewel of his do the job, and his deepest dive yet, has been into the chilly waters of the northern Bruce Peninsula.

Haining, 33, not long ago photographed Brantford product Ciara Antoski underwater, atop some of the most renowned shipwrecks in the region, found among Lake Huron and Georgian Bay off Tobermory — a “pipe aspiration four many years in the producing.”

When not the deepest underwater shoot on file, it’s one of the deepest portrait shoots performed in water that would put individuals exposed at danger of hypothermia. Antoski was up to nine metres underwater, often for 30 minutes at a time, with no mask or pores and skin protection, and only shared air.

Kelly McAdam, owner of the Tobermory dive shop Divers Den, has worked with photographers who have done similar operate, but none to the extent of Haining and his team.

“It’s pretty extraordinary,” mentioned McAdam, who holds a rescue diver rating. “We dive in dry satisfies or 7-millimetre to 14-millimetre wetsuits. Steve’s model was amazingly challenging to endure the Tobermory waters under these conditions.”

Haining started applying a 1970s vintage 35-mm movie digicam as a child. He was the official photographer for MuchMusic from 2008 to 2016, and has also shot for MTV, document labels like Common Tunes and Sony, makes like Tim Hortons and Reebok, and dozens of magazines. He owns the studio CreateOf, specializing in portraiture, marketing pictures, and Tv set and film creation and way. He has also photographed Arctic and remote northern communities.

He’d experienced an curiosity in underwater pictures given that capturing for surfboard organizations in Hawaii.

“I like to be close and develop a tale with my portraits, but I’d observed myself with a massive telephoto lens on the shore,” he explained. “I started out receiving these cheap bagged digicam housings and swimming out to the surf to get photos of my subjects.”

He had hardly ever accomplished a shoot with scuba gear but, with Antoski, he wished to make “portraits that felt like the model was a spirit still left on a ship following it sank.” He investigated shipwrecks in Canada and fell in adore with the ones in the Bruce Peninsula.

Regarded as the “Shipwreck Money of Canada,” the Fathom Five Nationwide Marine Park off Tobermory has about two dozen wrecks positioned in depths of between 4.5 and 46 metres. “We have much more shipwrecks concentrated in one particular place than any place else in Canada, in different stages of decay,” McAdam reported. “Some are quite intact, some others are a sport of pickup sticks.”

Haining experienced a active plan that held him traveling more than 100 times a year, so the underwater shoot was on the back burner till the pandemic hit.

Model Ciara Antoski poses on shipwrecks in the chilly waters off Tobermory in June.

Antoski, who’s 25 and had labored with Haining sporadically because 2012, pointed out to him that she had earned her very first open water dive certification in Oct 2020. “I believed, ‘Maybe this is our opportunity to make this aspiration a actuality,’” Haining explained.

Around the subsequent three months, Antoski practised posing in h2o with elaborate costuming and properly trained herself to maintain her breath for extensive periods in a rented pool. “I also did a lot of psychological exercise, which I learned in a prior underwater shoot is just one of the far more vital elements. Your physique can keep air for a long time, (but) we’re just not mentally geared up and worry generally tells us to breathe significantly in advance of we truly need to.”

Haining refreshed his personal dive certification and experimented with gear and lighting in the McMillan Pond freshwater quarry in Guelph. He consulted with photographers known for their underwater get the job done — fellow Canadian Ben Von Wong and Brett Stanley in California — co-ordinated manufacturing permits with Parks Canada and enlisted Toronto grasp scuba diver trainer Mareesha Klups, who experienced expertise diving in Tobermory, as the project’s safety diver.

(Apparently, Klups — who holds various specialty certifications which includes wreck diving teacher, night diving teacher, deep diving instructor, emergency initially responder instructor, unexpected emergency oxygen supplier and is a accredited free of charge diver — also has experience carrying out underwater gown photographs.)

In mid-June, when the shoot took place, the Bruce Peninsula drinking water is 10 to 12 levels Celsius at the surface area, receiving colder with depth and dropping to five levels at the “thermocline,” which is about 15 metres down below the floor.

“We consider something under 50 Fahrenheit (10 C) a worry for cold h2o shock/hypothermia,” claimed McAdam. “This sort of image shoot or free-diving without a match is not extremely hard … it’s just not for the faint of coronary heart or all those devoid of training.”

Haining’s crew dove atop numerous wrecks: the Sweepstakes, Alice G and Grand Rapids, which are all about six metres deep, the WL Wetmore (7.5 to nine metres) and the Niagara II (15 to 27 metres). On the initially working day of the shoot, Haining — armed with a Fujifilm X-T3 in an AquaTech underwater housing, a GoPro and lighting — encountered road blocks but was unfazed. It was rainy and foggy batteries drained more quickly in the cold Antoski wanted weight belts to support her continue to be down and Klups “Frankensteined” a new regulator that could run a few air sources, like a backup in circumstance one froze.

In a triumphant moment, Haining lastly got the shot of Antoski atop the Sweepstakes that he experienced been envisioning for many years.

Antoski could not see without having a mask at the depths essential for the pictures and experienced to rely on Klups to lead her and offer her with air.

“For anyone not utilised to cold diving, this is tough to bear in a wetsuit, allow alone bare pores and skin,” stated Klups, who in the beginning experienced worries for Antoski. “Aside from my totally free-diving coach, his wife and our dive group, I can not say I’ve ever found any one do photograph shoots in Tobermory.”

There are numerous motives for this, the 1st getting the temperature. “It is tough to do everything when you’re chilly, like remaining a safety diver,” Klups reported. She brought hot h2o for Antoski to pour on herself or soak her ft in concerning spots. “We would not dive again until eventually I was done shivering and had no physical indications of currently being chilly,” Antoski stated.

But for Antoski, the temperatures weren’t the most significant problem, nor was the decline of swimming autonomy due to the weights (“which at 1st was sort of terrifying”). “The very first time I eliminated my mask, stress established in.” It was only right after she overcame her worry at the floor that the shoot could continue on. “Sensory deprivation was a lot more scary than the oxygen deprivation,” she reported, including that have faith in was a critical ingredient of the undertaking.

“There is generally a hazard when you’re diving or undertaking just about anything in the drinking water,” claimed Klups. “The danger boosts with depth and temperature and time. But with knowledge, unexpected emergency methods, trained divers and captains, all that can be mitigated to a degree.”

Photographing model Ciara Antoski in the Shipwreck Capital of Canada was a 'pipe dream four years in the making' for Steve Haining.

Sifting by means of the photos a several times afterwards, Haining observed it “a small bittersweet due to the fact the total very long method that led to the illustrations or photos was certainly the emphasize of the pandemic for me.” As news of the venture distribute among the arts local community, Haining started receiving phone calls. “People who know chilly water are calling us, currently being like, ‘How the hell did you fellas get it to work?’”

This tumble, Haining will do the job toward his state-of-the-art open drinking water certification with the intention of starting an additional project, just one he hopes “will open up up an solely new way to glance at underwater portrait photography.”

As for that pipe dream that started out it all, he reminds men and women that just months ago, “it sat on my desk with hundreds of suggestions just like it: concepts you want to do, but you cannot pretty get there you’re lacking parts or probably it’s just high-priced. Often generate individuals suggestions down because, at some stage, possibly the opportunity to carry that idea to lifetime will appear together.”

Steve Haining’s two-portion documentary “The Long Experience Home” — which follows a team of Initial Nations people today on a 600-kilometre horseback journey — is scheduled to be produced in Canada on Apple Television, Amazon Prime Video and Vimeo on Demand this yr.

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