I started by just dropping the camera into the water, which quickly got polluted by the oils and dirt that had accumulated on the old film camera over the years. So, pretty much straight away, a full water change was required (not a speedy job when you have to syphon out the contents through a long hose pipe (there was no way I could lift it to empty it anywhere). Once refilled I set about setting the exposure settings to allow for a fast enough exposure to freeze the action, water and bubbles well enough so that they looked sharp. Once everything was set it became apparent that I needed some way to control the position and amount drop that I allowed the camera so that I could keep it in sharp focus. To do this I shortened the strap and suspended it above the tank.
After much experimentation, I found that a shorter drop allowed for a more controlled position and splash and less bubbles. Believe it or not, bubbles soon became my biggest problem. The water started off nice and clear but as soon as the water had been in the tank for more than a few minutes, tiny bubbles began to appear and then adhere to every surface, the camera and the tank walls. I believe this has something to do with the lower pressure experienced by the water once it was in the tank that caused nitrogen bubbles to be released – apparently a natural thing. The only solution that I could find was to set up the shot and then, once everything was set up. Drain the tank and refill it once again. I had to do this a couple of times (not a speedy process a I’ve mentioned) in order to minimise the number of bubbles in the shot.
After all this, I had a selection of shots but still had to take them into Photoshop in order to clean up the hundreds of tiny bubbles that were all throughout the shot. I think I learned a lot and would love to try this again with another subject. The old camera will, I’m afraid, never shoot again. Even when I thought I had it completely dried, I still found areas that became rusted or just stuck. It was definitely a fun project