• Photo: Ty Allison

    Ty Allison did the opposite of everything he intended to do when he showed up at the Nautica Malibu Triathlon last September. He meant to keep his shutter set fast to freeze the athletes in space; instead he set it slow and caught a vibrant smear of motion. He'd meant simply to test some new lenses and not bother much with the film; instead, when he retrieved the roll—after leaving it for months on a shelf—he decided to try cross-processing it (running the slide film in chemicals designed for negatives) and was blown away by the results. "It made the colors go completely nuts," says the Venice, California, photographer. "All the best stuff in photography happens accidentally. Now I'm pursuing a whole body of work based on this."

    Allison used 100-speed film, a 400mm lens, and a shutter speed of 1/60 second.
  • Photo: Mark Johnson

    Mark Johnson submerged himself in the pool at the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia, to get this picture of bubbles transforming a swimmer into a begoggled Santa Claus. The 45-year-old expat from Hawaii, who lives in Brisbane and published his first photo in Surfer at age 17, says, "I should probably claim I worked hard to get that particular shot, but it was a very happy accident."

    Johnson had a 15mm lens on his Nikonos III, exposing 100-speed film at f/5.6 for 1/500 second.
  • Photo: Art Brewer

    Art Brewer felt like he was swimming in an alien world when he photographed these mastigias jellies clustered in Jellyfish Lake—a body of water once open to the sea—on Eil Malk, an island off Palau, Micronesia. The 53-year-old lensman, who lives in Dana Point, California, and regularly scuba-dives and surfs, says, "You think these creatures are going to gang up and devour you, but they're pretty much harmless."

    Brewer used a 15mm lens set at f/5.6, exposing 100-speed film for 1/60 second.
  • Photo: Nick LaVecchia

    Last March, while photographing a series of training exercises off Portland, Maine, Nick LaVecchia got to watch Coast Guard rescue swimmer Brian Laubenstein in action. As part of the four-hour session, LaVecchia spent 40 minutes in the water, shooting the helicopter crew extracting a "survivor." After Laubenstein and his quarry had been hoisted into the cabin for the last time, LaVecchia was surprised to see the helicopter hovering overhead and Laubenstein dropping back into thewater."I didn't know what he was doing," says the York, Maine–based photographer."Before I knew it, he had me harnessed up and we were 40 feet in the air, flying over the ocean."

    THE TOOLS: Canon 1D Mark II, 15mmf/2.8 fisheye lens, ISO 100, f/9, 1/640 second
  • Start over
Filed To: Water Activities