17 March 2013

Underwater Splunking (Caving)

Professional Model, Katia © 2013 Terrell Neasley


"And as I reinvent myself and I'm constantly curious about everything, I can't wait to see what's around the corner in newfound art and entertainment and exploration." 
~ Pam Grier


Many things inspire, motivate, and move me. Two things in particular that tend to spur me on is something I fear or something that makes me uncomfortable.  I'm compelled to do what scares me and the more it scares me, the more it's embedded in my head that I need to do it. What's brought this on? Let me tell you...

Professional Model, Katia
© 2013 Terrell Neasley
My good buddy John was the first to inform me about the National Geographic 50 Greatest Photos exhibit on display at the Venetian here in Las Vegas until Jun 1st. It was definitely a must see. Any photog should want to see that show, really. I wanted him to go with me the weekend he informed me of it, but that wasn't possible for him. And then I just forgot about it. That is until Heather Rae reminded me about it about a month later. We went a few days after her reminder and I was indeed perplexed and amazed.

I was perplexed at some of the shots that were selected. I couldn't quite make out what made them so special. After reading up on a few of them, there may have been a story or cause that backed the shot up; sometimes not. I'd much rather a shot stand on its own sans any background info. I was amazed at a couple of them as well. "Afghan Girl" by the renown Steve McCurry, of course was tops. Polar bears and women in burqas were in a number of them as well. My favorite image was "Underwater Cave, Bahamas" by acclaimed cinematographer Wes C. Skiles and it rekindled my desire to do some underwater cave photography excursions and exploration.

Professional Model, Katia
© 2013 Terrell Neasley

I first did caving in Mammoth Caves doing the Wild Tour back in 2006, I think it was. It was a surreal experience. That was 6 hours of splunking and only an hour or so was spent standing up. The rest of the time you are on hands and knees or your belly. I later learned about underwater caves and when I got really serious about photography, I knew that was still a very much unexplored genre of photo. The problem is that I know nothing about diving, for one. Two, one of the most dangerous things you can do on the planet is dive caves. There was a video on Skiles' photographic adventure and Heather Rae was quick to note the photographer eventually died on an expedition only a few years ago. Maybe its too cliche to say "He died doing what he loved", but I don't know... maybe that ain't such a bad way to put it.


"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." ~ T. S. Elliot


So yeah, cave-diving. Maybe that's why I liked the movie, "Sanctum" so much. What makes is so compelling is that I'm afraid of it, I'm uncomfortable in the open waters, and I know nothing about diving. Which means that within a year, I'll be doing it. So remember this post and call my bluff on it if you don't see shots of me with dive tanks and fins. Chances are, I'll be incorporating a nude in there somewhere! Who's got nudes swimming with whale sharks?

Professional Model, Katia
© 2013 Terrell Neasley
In the meantime, I have a number of projects to work on before the summer gets here. Most notably is my commitment to working with more nude models to reach my goal of at least 20 by year's end. I only worked with 4 models last year and just 7 the year before that. I was used to working with around 4 models a month when I came to Vegas. I want my 2013 book of nudes to be much more substantial than before. WPPI was recently here in Vegas and I was fortunate enough to get to shoot a couple of professional models. This is Katia from LA and while she doesn't do nude work, you'll still be amazed at what you can turn out with her. Talk about a great girl to hang out with, as well. I'm so glad I got to meet her and shoot. Excellent talent.

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