Tom Bol’s Underwater FlexTT5

Tom Bol - Underwater FlexTT5

© 2012 Tom Bol


We don’t know what possessed photographer Tom Bol to give his speedlights the cement shoe treatment and sink them to the bottom of a river, but we do know that experimentation is always a good excuse to do something just a little bit crazy.

He starts out by giving the speedlights just a taste of what awaits them, by putting them in ziplock bags and placing them in the bow, stern, and middle of the kayak that his wife, Cree, paddles out into the middle of the river. “In order for these flashes to fire,” he writes, “I used PocketWizard FlexTT5’s as receivers on all the SB900s. The radio signal triggers flashes in the boat, no line of sight needed.” Using an AC3 ZoneController, Tom sets all the flashes to group A and fires away. The result is a glowing, yellow kayak.

But these speedlights’ ordeal is far from over. Next, Tom placed them into waterproof cases with clear tops, set them to zone C, strapped them to cinder blocks, and sunk them into the water. He used his FlexTT5 to fire all five speedlights, two underwater, and three in the boat. Lucky for the speedlights, the waterproof cases did their job, and they all survived.

Here’s to fearless experimentation! Read the post on Tom’s blog and see more of his work on his site.

We must note, however, that for obvious reasons our radio triggers are not waterproof :) Additionally, radio performance is drastically reduced by water. Keep the creativity flowing!

All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Tom Bol, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.

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2 Responses to “Tom Bol’s Underwater FlexTT5”

  1. John says:

    I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now… I thought that the radio wouldn’t go through the water so I never attempted it. Looks like I’ve got some experimenting to do

  2. Publuis says:

    Excellent! I’ve been trying to figure out how to do something similar in a backyard pool, but I was not ready to risk submerging my speedlites and TT5. Now, I know it will work, and I’ll be ready when the pool opens next Spring.

    BTW, Tom, excellent image. Totally love the concept and execution. Well done!