Friday, August 26, 2011

Mermaids are real

So after swearing off modeling photography some time ago, I’m back at it again. But with a new twist this time around. Underwater. Now, this poses a few unique challenges. First is location. The ocean can often be treacherous, and make it difficult or nearly impossible to enter and exit the water safely. A pool however may not be big enough, or the chlorine poses too caustic to your models eyes. The model of course is a huge issue as well. Above water, a lot of models can look good, but underwater this task can be a bit much for some folks to handle. Keeping their eyes open under water without looking squinty or too wide. Letting the mouth and nose fill with water as to avoid unsightly bubbles whilst smiling and looking up. Keeping themselves underwater , but maintaining their grace and pose. And of course holding their breath up to a minute at a time while doing all of this and remaining looking calm and relaxed. Many of my usual models would have a hard time with this. And many of the people I know who could do this aren't exactly model-type if you know what I mean. This past weekend I met with a local surf goddess, Donica. She got married some time ago and has decided to do some underwater photos in her wedding dress. After her first few photographer options fell through a mutual friend recommended me to her. And thus became our underwater photo shoot. I had seen other underwater dress shoots and I immediately decided I wanted something completely different. I finally decided upon shooting against a backdrop. I went to the fabric store in search of the perfect background. I settled on some very shiny satin, hoping the shine would remain once we entered the water. The next task was to figure out how I would hold the fabric agape. I made a large PVC rectangle and fitted the large piece of fabric over it. Seemed like it would work and be easy, alas there were some things I hadn't thought of. I met Donica and her husband Abraham at Kealekua bay one day when the dolphins weren't there to bother us and we began shooting. We had her go with a bikini instead of the full dress to start just to test it. The bikini was actually made by her, out of the left over materials from her wedding dress, so it was the perfect test outfit for exposures of the dress. Once we got into the water we realized our follies. Fabric sinks. Not fast, but it sinks. We had thought ahead and brought an Imagine Surf paddle board with us for flotation as a resting platform as well as something we could hang the pvc frame from. I also had my girlfriend accompany us to help in carrying props and fabric. If we had had even one less person this shoot would have been a disaster. As we opened up my backdrop and fitted the pvc together we realized the nature of our contraption. In the water the thing essentially became a drouge chute and drug our photo shoot all over the place. Every ten minutes or so we would have to stop shooting pull it out of the water, swim 100 yards and redeploy it. After about an hour of shooting we were becoming winded. More the model than me of course …. wink, wink. All and all I'd say it went well and we came back with some promising shots. Still a long ways to go but it's a start. More to come.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I recently got an email from a budding young photographer asking how my career started.  As I have gotten this question from many people in the past asking for advice, I thought I would post our email conversation for anyone who might have a similar interest in the way things started out for me.  Enjoy!

Also this is from an email correspondence so to read it in chronilogical order you'll have to start at the bottom of the post.

 Thank you so much! I'll definitely keep this all in mind as I set out on starting a career. And hey, who knows, maybe!


-----Original Message-----
From: Joshua lambus <jlambusphotography@yahoo.com>
To: Dylan -------------------@aol.com>
Sent: Sat, Jul 23, 2011 12:05 pm
Subject: Re: Question from a high school student

Well my first advice is don't do it! Ha, just kidding.... kinda. It can be very difficult to make a living doing photography, especially if you specialize in underwater photography. However, though I may not be a millionaire, I love being underwater, and I love showing people things they've never seen before.  And for that, I'll never quit doing what it is I do because I love it My real advice is to find a niche, and perfect it. At one time underwater photography was a niche, but with the onset of digital photography everyone and their mothers have an underwater camera. Now it's not enough just to be underwater, you have to specialize in something: Chris fallows... Great whites breaching, Eric cheng.... extreme macro, Howard shatz.... underwater modeling. Me..... night time pelagic plankton, The more obscure the better. You want to show people things they've never seen before, which all the above photographers have done. Find yours and run with it.  Anyway to answer your questions....

1. Did you go to college? If so, what did you major in?

No I did not. Well I did one semester... then dropped out and moved to Hawaii, thought I was going to major in education, (wanted to be a teacher). Not going to school worked for me but I do recommend school. Not only does formal training give you the technical skills needed to use your creativity efficiently, it also gives you the chance to meet some great connections that may help you later in your career.

2. Do you work freelance?

This is how I started. I only recently moved to retail, selling fine art prints.  Free lance is what's going to pay the bills (maybe)  and allow you to travel. Sometimes you'll be doing things you don't want to do but it's worth it (maybe). I've shot for National Geographic, Sport diver Mag, LA times, Chicago Tribune, BBC,  etc..... If it doesnt make the money it's at least worth the exposure.

3. When you first started working as a photographer, where did you start working?

I started in Houston, TX as a concert photographer.  I was too young to get into shows, so I got a press pass and started faking photographer. Turns out I was pretty good at it, and not only did I get to go to the shows, but i got to go backstage with artists, and get paid for it. I worked with a lot of free press newspapers before getting gigs with big magazines like Rolling stone.

Hope that answers everything you needed. Take care and good luck in your career! Hey who knows maybe one day we'll be on assignment together.


Joshua Lambus
J.Lambus Photography
74-5540 Kaiwi St. #283
Kailua Kona, HI 96740

><(((º>`·., A Submersed¸.·´¯`·.¸><(((º>¸.·´¯`·.View¸. , . ><(((º>`·.¸Of Life¸.·´¯`·.¸><(((º>
This e-mail message is intended only for the named recipient(s) above. It may contain confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail and any attachment(s) is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please immediately notify the sender by replying to this e-mail and delete the message and any attachment(s) from your system. Thank you.

--- On Sat, 7/23/11, Dylan -----------------@aol.com> wrote:

From: Dylan------------------ @aol.com>
Subject: Question from a high school student
To: joshua@jlambusphoto.com
Date: Saturday, July 23, 2011, 4:48 AM

Mr. Lambus, 


My name is Dylan ------------, and I'm a high school student from Los Angeles, CA. I found your work online and I think your work is breathtaking. I really want to pursue undersea photography and film in college and as a career and I was wondering if I could ask you a few really brief questions about what you do.

1. Did you go to college? If so, what did you major in?

2. Do you work freelance?

3. When you first started working as a photographer, where did you start working?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this; I really appreciate it! 


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Manta Madness!!!!!

I thought this was an interesting conversation on the manta report, I'd like to share with my followers: Emails have been excluded for privacy issues. Names are left to incriminate the "innocent".

On Sat, May 21, 2011 at 10:49 AM, John Haut wrote:

Aloha All,

Big manta counts lately. Lots of $$, boats, divers, and snorkelers!,
Is there any concern in the manta community/dive industry
with supplying an artificially high level of food to and possibly
contributing to an overpopulation of mantas? Could we see starving

mantas if /when the "manta ray night dive" ends and/or the plankton

populations are depleted?

However spectacular and marketable $$ this activity is, it seens to be an
unchecked and unnatural dependence on human interaction. What if some
legislator rightly or wrongly ruled that diving with mantas was verboten?
Would the current manta population survive without the "manta ray
night dive"?

John Haut

From: Keller Laros
To: John Haut
Cc: Manta Pacific . Org
Sent: Sat, May 21, 2011 10:56:22 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: Friday May 13, 2011, Twenty Five Mantas @ Garden Eel Cove

Mantas also feed in the lights in front of hotels and restaurants like

Huggos, Four Seasons, Mauna Kea, Kona Surf. I've seen mantas feeding

at the light at Kailua Pier too. Hopefully some one wouldn't also

want all shore line lights turned out too. That could be hard for

business, navigation, safety. You name it.

Good point John.



I have long pondered this exact same question, and was assured during a personal night dive at Two Step. We entered the water and surface swam out to the "aloha" where we dropped down. We saw 3 mantas feeding already in the area. Upon hitting the bottom I began having trouble with my lights, they were flickering on and off.... after a moment I realized that it was not my lights at all, but the amount of plankton converging in front of them blocking out the light. Before long I couldn't see anything. I've seen nights we call a 5 at the manta site, and this trumped that. These mantas were in a complete smorgasbord . We eventually had to call off the dive because the plankton was too thick. Point of my story is that we aren't "over feeding" the mantas. There is more than enough plankton elsewhere on the reefs they can be feeding on, and do for that matter, without our help. I'm confident these animals could survive our absence without much ado. With that said, certainly we are causing some kind of affect on the environment by becoming a part of it, whether it's a good or bad one, is yet to be absolutely determined. But think of the ramifications that could be caused by the abolishing of the manta dive, which is nearly the entirety of which our dive industry in Kona is based on. Without it, we lose not only the manta dive itself and the revenue it generates, but also the money these divers spend on subsequent day dives, hotels, food, groceries, rental cars, entertainment, and many more businesses on Island. How many of us, or our loved ones have jobs as purveyors, bartenders, resort workers, cooks etc. Without the mantas many of these divers would opt to dive the Caribbean and never get to see the wonders our island has to offer. This could lead to a lack of interest in conservation areas, marine management, and national underwater monuments. I think the attention the Manta dive brings to Kona helps not only it's people but also its underwater environment. Let's keep it up. Just my 2 cents.


Joshua Lambus
J.Lambus Photography
74-5540 Kaiwi St. #283
Kailua Kona, HI 96740

><(((º>`·., A Submersed¸.·´¯`·.¸><(((º>¸.·´¯`·.View¸. , . ><(((º>`·.¸Of Life¸.·´¯`·.¸><(((º>
This e-mail message is intended only for the named recipient(s) above. It may contain confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail and any attachment(s) is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please immediately notify the sender by replying to this e-mail and delete the message and any attachment(s) from your system. Thank you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Keep the Country Country.

Today I head back home to Kona. It has been an exciting past few days, but I am very ready to be relaxing back on my quaint little island. It's been a few days since i've written because I've been running non stop. I graduated from my AFF class with flying colors. Get it? Sorry. And got in three jumps afterward putting my number of jumps up to 12 and my flight time at just under 10 minutes of free fall. It amazes me that there are guys that have literally spent over a week of their life falling through the sky. I hope to one day have attained such freedom and skill in the air. But for now I'll have to keep chipping away at it. I also ran the gauntlet of friends around the island. And stopped at a number of beaches bodysurfing and freediving all along the way. I'll be honest, This was my first real trip to Oahu. I didn't think I would like it very much, and while Waikikki was ridiculous, I felt very at home on the north shore. It's like a bigger Kona. Still country still laid back. And thank god for waikkiki. If it wasnt there all those tourist might spill over into the north areas of the Island.I spoke with a number of gallery owners about putting my work in the Galleries, and think I got  a few that are interested. I'll definately be making it back here more often now that I know I can handle it. But home is still Kona. And I suspect it always will be.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Carlin's not Dead!!!

Today I continue ground class with Clarence. Though I thought this the first time, I'm now convinced that he is george carlin in disguise hiding out in Hawaii teaching skydiving. I did my 3 tandem jumps over the past couple of days with only minor hitches. The first jump I lost my goggles and glasses and had a hard time finding the ripcord at pull time, which apparently is important. The instructor passed me though. And I went through the class with Clarence where he told us of all the ways we were going to die.... I'm paying to do this why? Tonight I got back to the hostel and met a fun group of guys that work in waikki at the beachside hostel, and were on a weekend vacation to the north shore. We are now heading across the street to bonfire on the beach and I'm taking my sweet time writing this blog entry but, i'm supposed to bring more beer, so I need to go.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jumping out of not so perfectly good airplanes.

I arrived to Oahu yesterday without much of a plan besides learning to skydive. Which I felt was plenty plan enough. I have been "planning" this trip for the past few weeks and been very eager to join my friends' ranks in the sky. Upon hitting the ground and grabbing my rental car, I immediately went to the store to grab my usual "new place equipment" toothpaste, razors, pocket knife, stickers to disquiet the rental as a local car and of course a baseball bat. I called all of my friends that I have on Oahu to find some couch surfing accommodations. I lucked out with my friend Chris who lives just outside of Waikiki. I called him to find out where he lived and surprisingly found myself standing outside his apartment already! In true Chris fashion he planned a party for that evening , and we had a good old fashion bonfire on the beach with a 300 ft cliff on one side of us and ocean as far as we could see to the other. After waking up late I rushed off to Aiea, a city near pearl harbor. I met with clarence, my ground school instructor at a chili's restaurant. We spoke for about 3 hours on what the basic skills were while falling out of the sky. The other customers probably wondered of the strange hand signals and body movements that we were doing. After class I headed to the north shore and checked in at the backpackers hostel. As it turns out one of my friends from the big island was working reception there. And in true Gordon fashion he whipped up a party for this evening, and we drank and were merry. Tonight I sleep and get ready for my first AFF jump tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If you can dodge a wrench........

Dodge ball has been a childhood favorite of mine, as it was for most. So when Kailua-Kona, Hawaii had a chance to go toe to toe with neighbors, co-workers, and friends in a Dodgball championship to the death, we the "Kids" of town jumped at the chance. Then proceeded to dive at the chance, duck from it, and of course dodge it. Our mission was to set up a 10 team tourney and go head to ball until we had a single victorious team. The cause was to raise money for a village in Africa so they could purchase much needed mosquito nets for their homes.  On the faithful day teams amassed to the Old Airport Recreation Center. The uniforms were riotous to say the least. From the kilt-wearing "Balls in yer face", the compression saock-wearing "Ballz Deep", to the "Rainbow Sprites", the beer toting, rainbow-wearing, bartendresses from around town. All were out in force, and in style. Though I was a member of one of the teams, I also took on the role of "sport photographer" for the matches I wasn't playing in.  I shot my Canon 7D with the 100-400mm L series lens attached. The 7D performed flawlessly, firing off shots as fast as I could take them. In a high speed game like dodgeball you have to have a high speed camera to catch the action. And catch the action I did indeed. In the end we made over $2000 dollars for charity. And the young punks of the games took home the championship. It probably helped that they were 10 years younger than most of us, and made up the better part of the Kealakehe high school baseball team. All in all a successful, and fun day with tons of pictures to remember it by.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A new Beginning

Not often do I feel didsatisfied but recently I've been feeling a bit on edge. Between opening the gallery, and trying to work the boat every day it's been hectic. And strangely as an ocean guide and under water photographer I haven't been able to go diving. But alas I made it out on a dive with Kona Diving Company.
About a week ago my friend Kerry told me she would be taking her boat on a long range 3 tank dive down the Kona coast of Hawaii to a rarely dove site by the name of The Hive.  Since I haven't dove this site in many years I jumped at the chance. After dusting off the dive gear and digging my DIN adapter out of a box I hadn't opened since I'd moved, I was ready. Accompanied by my girlfriend Domino and our two friends Katie and Stewart, we rolled up to the boat early to setup. As we made our way down the coast we came across a pod of Pilot Whales and decided to get a closer look. After Watching them for a while and observing the behavior we decided to get in.  Kerry warned of the Oceanic White Tip Sharks that frequently follow these whales to pick up scraps. Oceanics have long been known as the scourge of the pelagic realm. Though most sharks get a bad rap for being blood thirsty killing machines, these beauties have earned their reputation. Their smaller, less aggressive cousins, "Reef white tips" actually give these bad boys a connotation of docility, due to the reef sharks' rapport with divers. But those two sharks could not be much further in demeanor than fish could be. While "reef" white tips will swim the opposite direction when confronted, "Oceanic" white tips will swim at it full frontal.  Living in the open ocean these sharks get very little to nibble on, and when they find something, they become very curious. Given the chance, an Oceanic white tip would more than likely gobble up a reef white tip, granted it was an easy meal, i.e. injured or sick. So when we jumped in, we understandably kept our heads on a swivel scanning the blue nothingness for sharks.  The captain had positioned the boat in front of the Pilot whales just off to the side toward the shore. The dive master David and I were first in. We gained distance from the boat while the others slowly made their way toward us.  Soon the Pilot Whales' shadows formed shapes, and not long after that they parted their way around me and David. Suddenly I heard Dave yell something. 


I turned in time to see him back paddling through the water as an Oceanic b-lined toward him. Empowered with the invincibility that is my camera, I swam right at the animal only to have it turn off 15 ft or so away. I did a quick scan, since they often travel in packs. Once I  determined that it was alone, I turned once again at getting a shot. I was shooting my 1984 model Nikonos V, loaded with Fuji provia 400, and the Sea and Sea 20mm on it. Because its a 35mm format with such a wide angle lens. in order to get a decent image, I'd have to be closer than 5 ft from the shark. Biting my camera would be preferable.  I tried my best to look like a dead fish in hopes of getting the animal to come close alas, it rushed up to me and turned away right at the edge of my hopes. I framed the shot, held my breath, and pressed the shutter and advanced the film, but never got another chance after that. After it circled us for another 10 or so minutes it spiraled down into the depths, not to be seen again. The others had mostly gotten into the water at this point. Ronin had found a baby sargassum frogfish that we crowded around, for a while. I called my girlfriend over who was still looking for the shark. After a moment with the minute frogfish we got back onto the boat. Everyone had smiles from ear to ear. It's not everyday you get to swim with sharks, pilot whales, and see rare open ocean fish. And to share the experiences with good friends is always a plus. We headed on to our dive sites and had 3 wonderful dives in caves, lava tubes, vast coral reefs, and shoals of fish. I even had the chance to time-lapse the movement of a pincushion starfish. Overall my first dives back in the water for 2011 were great ones, but none as memorable as the moments we spent with the oceanic. Can't wait to get my film developed.