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Underwater and above

Pawel Dwulit, Contract Staff Photographer

I had always wanted to try some underwater photography before. Luckily a week or so ago I was asked to cover the last few days of The Star's 'Taking the plunge' learn to swim initiative.  I had tried the day before to line up some sort of housing for my Canon 5D MK II which I knew would work really well in the low light that I had to work with in a dark indoor pool at Malvern Collegiate Institute in Toronto's east end.

PD_SwimmingKids_05_900   August 19, 2009 - Randy,11 (black shorts) and Chad, 13 (tan shorts) pose for an underwater group picture at the pool at Malvern Colegiate in Toronto.


With what seems like a record number of drownings this summer in the GTA I thought this assignment and story were rather fitting. I myself went through brief swim lessons when I was 9 and 10. Learning to swim is learning to build confidence in the deep end. Swimming seems like something that everyone should know how to do. In reality those that don't know how to swim are probably a little embarrassed about it and as the older they get the less likely they are to take the time to learn. I remember being enrolled in the lessons myself after a birthday where I told my mom that I wanted to swim more. I've always loved water and had the nickname 'fish' when I was younger.


August 19, 2009 -  (Above) Michael Lauder, 11 learns how to kick and breath while swimming in the pool at Malvern Collegiate Institute. (Below) Michael smiles as he gets more comfortable in the pool.

I spent two morning sessions in the pool with a Canon D10 underwater point and shoot camera which I found to be relatively useful but still think would have worked exponentially better had the pool been outside and more light was available. Spending more time with the camera itself and manual would have helped too.


August 11, 2009 -  Former Toronto Police Union president Craig Bromell is seen on set of the show 'The Bridge'  of which he is executive producer. The show has been picked up by a variety of stations and will air late this year or early 2010.

A week before the swimming assignments I got to spend half of my day on the set of a new television show called 'The Bridge'. It was really interesting to see how many people actually are involved in the filming of things for t.v. There were people from gun wranglers - who was accompanied with a Toronto ETF agent at all times on set and off- stunt coordinators, extras, drivers, prop guys, lighting guys and of course the guys with the best job; the camera guys.

PD_movieCam_900A really complicated and expensive camera is seen on set of 'The Bridge'. These cameras are modular and are assembled in sections. Here you can see the different sections - the Lens with a pull focus knob at left. The brain of the camera is in the centre and then there is the Hard Drive at right with the battery pack and the necessary view finder and screen atop. Watching the pros operate this thing like clockwork was really cool. At this shoot they had two cameras and two camera teams. Each team had a pull focus guy, camera operator as well as a dolly operator upon which the two men sat and were rolled around from marker to marker on rails. It was really neat to watch them as after each take another person was marking down the details of the shot they had just tried on a specific form and then submitting it to someone sitting off set..the film production industry is heavily unionized.

PD_ArgosPRAC_06_900August 20, 2009 - Toronto Argonaut wide receiver Chad Rempel catches the ball in front of Alphonso Hodge during a team practice at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus in Mississauga.

Finally I had two days of shooting the Toronto Argonauts practices. Usually the pictures from these things aren't as appealing as peak action on game day but on this day I managed to catch one that could have been from game day.

I'll be posting on wednesdays from now on so until then.

Pawel Dwulit



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