Shooting location

The shooting was carried out in the Svetlenkoe lake in the North-West of Siberia near the city of Surgut. The water temperature during the shooting period (from June to October 2017) ranged from 20 C in summer to 3 C in fall.

The idea of the underwater shooting with a large format film belongs to Evgenii Bashta who was inspired by works created with the simplest pinhole and monocular lens cameras. In 2017, the second photographer, Polina Petrenko joined the project.

The choice of a shooting location became our first challenge. Despite numerous water basins around (rivers, canals, swamps and lakes), it turned out to be a difficult task to find the right site with clear water, easy access and proximity to the city. Nevertheless, we had luck and, with the help of local divers, found a clear lake that met all the requirements.


Our camera is a sliding box with a monocular lens and no mechanical shutter. Film format is 18 x 24 cm (7 х 9,5’’). We made five film-holders, in which the film was covered by the glass. We don’t use waterproof box or other sealing of the camera, so during the shooting process it was fully filled with the water. We used ikelite DS 51 flash and a couple of simplest flashes and light synchronizers in a hand-made waterproof lantern as the source of light. The ikelite flash was attached to the Nikon D90 camera in waterproof case, which allowed us to shoot not only backstage but also helped to define the exposure and the power of the flash for the film.

Gradually, we acquired two dry diving suits from military divers’ arsenal, a rebreather IDA-59M, a 50-years-old scuba. Much of our gear was hand-made: weights, straps, lighting system, tripods.