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Unusual photo equipment


Richard Lautens, Staff Photographer

Much of the time, we photographers don’t have a lot of preparation time for an assignment.  Generally at the Star, we each shoot 3 assignments a day.   Usually we get them within an hour of two of having to start shooting.  Occasionally we know well in advance and can really do the proper research and preparation for it but often it is fly by the seat of your pants kind of photography.

This past weekend I had heard about a fundraiser at Earl Grey Senior Public School.  They were raising funds and awareness of the planned closing of their school pool in the new year.  City Budget cuts are to blame.  How a city like Toronto with historic levels of childhood obesity and diabetes can contemplate removing an already constructed and functioning pool is beyond me. 

My own little argument is that downtown schools like Earl Grey do not have the space to have a proper field-no soccer field or decent track and field facilities.  A pool is a space saving method of allowing the children to get some proper exercise as well as learn a potentially life saving skill.

Rant now done, back to the assignment.  When I got the assignment, I had the time to grab a fish tank we keep at the office-yes, a fish tank.  At the pool I placed my camera with a 14mm lens on it in the empty fish tank and pushed it down into the water.   A wide lens is important as the water has a magnifying effect on your lens.

 I snapped photos as the kids dove down to pick up bottles that people had paid $25 to paint on a message and toss into the pool.

The fish tank is a great but unusual tool for us and most importantly keeps me from getting too soaked.


Richard Lautens/Toronto Star




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Great photo! And an even greater cause! You've really captured the essence of the pools - and the kids who use them and need them. Thanks for sharing! - Kory Prentice, Parent & Pool Captain at Kensington Community School (our pool is one of the TDSB pools under threat of closing December 31st)

I agree with Kory - great photo, Richard. What a shame that all Star readers may not see this.

Your equipment that day was curious and clearly clever. It effectively captured the core reason why so many pool supporters have put time and effort into saving school pools for greater community use.
Thanks for posting this really inspirational image.

pool supporter

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