On Assignment: Sport Diver Heads to Kelly Park for Gear Photo Shoot | Sport Diver

On Assignment: Sport Diver Heads to Kelly Park for Gear Photo Shoot

With hot new gear to photograph for our November/December issue, Sport Diver Editor Ty Sawyer, Photo Editor Carrie Garcia, Art Director Jenn Pileggi, model Taylor Lochrane and I hit the road. Our destination was Kelly Park — and Rock Springs — in Apopka, Florida. Part of the Orange County Parks System, Rock Springs is famous for cool, crystal-clear fresh water that bubbles up from a cleft in a 20-foot limestone outcropping. Visitors go there to relax and float down the gently running stream that meanders through the park.

All this sounds like a great, kick-back-and-relax kind of day, but there was no time for leisure: there was work to do. We wasted no time getting Taylor in the water with Tilos' camouflage Titanica Mask and Dry Snorkel. It took us some time to get the lighting right, which is usually always an issue for on-location photo shoots (dang clouds!). We also had some mask-fogging issues because there was a slight temperature difference of 26°F between the water (72°F) and the air (a crisp 98°F), which we solved by taking a quick run to the gas station and grabbing a lighter. Yes, a lighter. A BIC. The trick here is to burn off the layer of oily film that coats the lens of a new mask. Once we were finished playing with fire, Taylor bobbed up and down in the water about 100 times so the shot wouldn't look static.

With several smaller pieces of gear to shoot individually, we had to brainstorm for some creative ideas. Carrie came up with a unique plan to photograph Mares' Nemo Air Dive Computer on one of many lily pads that line the river. And the "perfect" lily pad just so happened to be in the middle of the main swimming area. So off we went — camera, reflectors, dive computer and all — and as you can probably imagine, the five of us caused quite a scene.

Afterward, we headed over to the cavern at the base of the spring. This was our final stop of the day, where Ty photographed Cressi-Sub's brand-new Gara Professional Fins in several different positions and with different backgrounds, so there will be a lot of options to play around with when it comes time to layout the gear spread.

Then it was my turn to wear DUI's Polartec PowerStretch undergarment. Let's just say it didn't make me the "coolest" girl in the park. Wearing a double-layered fleece undergarment suitable for temperatures as cold as 45°F was not the ideal attire for the hot and humid summers Florida is known for. After what seemed like forever, I was done, and it felt so good to jump in the cool water.

The last product of the day to shoot was DeepOutdoors' Cold Fusion Rechargeable System, modeled courtesy of Jenn. Once we were done, we packed up all the gear and headed back to the car. Despite a few glitches — one being the tumble I took when I slipped on the algae-covered rocks — our photo shoot was a success … and a lot of fun!

Catch our final shots and product info on all the hot new gear in Sport Diver's November/December issue, which will hit newsstands Oct. 28. You can also check out sportdiver.com/gear to find out about more dive products and accessories.