Ben von Wong in Koparki – behind the scenes of the project!

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Artykuł dostępny również w języku polskim.

Ben von Wong na Koparkach – kulisy projektu!


 

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Ben von Wong in Koparki – behind the scenes of the project!

It was to be nice, easy and pleasant … However, it turned out that underwater photographic projects is not a bed of roses. But let’s start from the beginning.

 

I have been following Ben von Wong’s fanpage for a long time. We have written a lot about his underwater enterprises and their amazing effects. Let me remind such articles (only in polish) as: 7 divers, 2 models and one wreck – an unusual underwater session in Bali; Ballantine’s plus a photographer equals an amazing underwater image and Underwater surrealist creates images in defense of sharks.

 

No one thought that von Wong would visit Poland, would come to Koparki … and Jolly Diver would support his underwater project! And yet, the unbelievable came true!


 


 

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Sebastian Popek as the model
Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
The model during immersion

 

… And so did this incredible adventure begin

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Ben Von Wong – the author of the confusion

When Ben posted on his fanpage that he was looking for a place where a submerged excavator is located, I smiled. The comments below the post were rather skeptical. Without thinking too much I commented that I know where there is such a place – it is the popular „Koparki” in Poland. In addition, as an incentive, I added a link to the photographs of the excavators made by Irena Stangierska.

 

A few days later, Ben contacted me. What’s more, he was full of enthusiasm and zeal to perform an underwater photographic session in Poland. It seemed that this was likely, possible or even feasible in the near future because Ben was going to spend part of May and June that year in Europe. Ironically, in May, he was going to visit Germany, so he would be much closer to us than I expected. And so, there was only scheduling and planning left to be done…


 

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Ben Wong’s first ideas
Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Our sketches of the excavator’s dimensions

 

Challenges – that is Poland…

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
A red boat at Koparki

We started with the planning and making Ben realise that the Polish water is not warm and transparent as in Bali. One of the key factors partly determining the logistics was the water temperature. During our first conversation it was only 5°C. Finally, during the session it rose to 14ºC.

 

Another challenge was the distance from the shore to the excavator. About 100 meters that the team covered partly on the surface and partly by a red boat, specially prepared for this occasion.

 

The last unknown was the visibility. We tracked closely the changes in the visibility in the vicinity of the smaller excavator. A week before the session it was about 10 m! Unfortunately, during our stay it was not so gracious. Just a few meters and after Ben and Karen’s stay it decreased to almost zero.


 

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Working underwater
Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Almost ready

 

New underwater skills

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Flag diver

I mean the skills which no self-respecting federation would be ashamed of. It turns out that the underwater sessions, in particular in very difficult conditions of Polish open waters, are filled with unexpected challenges. Even an experienced diver was forced to change the way of thinking or swimming.

 

Among the most interesting experiences it is worth to mention swimming with: a flag, a shovel, an artificial bead placed on a tripod or several lamps and batteries placed on a tripod.


 

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Setting up an artificial reef
Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
The flag, laying out the lights …

 

Inventions…

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
WALL.E tripods

We had plenty of ideas for fixing the underwater props. However, what proved to be irreplacale were the cable ties and the immortal silver adhesive tape.

 

I will mention some interesting solutions that facilitated our underwater work (at least in the opinion of those using it):

  • taping the fingers of Ben’s black gloves with the silver tape allowed the team to notice what he was showing us from a larger distance
  • the use of tripods – to set up the coral and the GRALmarine lights (thus the Wall-E was created, seen on the photo on the left). By the way, the Wall-E, in spite of the difficulties it caused during submergance and emergance, aroused widespread sympathy among the team members
  • styrofoam (expanded polystyrene) which Ben used to innovatively unweight his legs/fins. This was to be a specific remedy for certain minor problems with trim and the resulting lifting of sediment from the bottom
  • carabiners – popular in diving double enders were used to load the net so that it arranged itself nicely under water

 

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Artificial reef on a tripod
Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Silver tape to make the fingers visible

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Ben’s invention to proper trim?!

 

Lights, more lights

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Lamps arranged on the excavator

Initially, during the online exchange of views and possible threats to the success of the project, Ben was against using any lights. He said that he had one of his own and that it would be more than enough.

 

Fortunately, I did not accept that … not only did we pack all our video lights, but also asked for hardware support from the Wroclaw GRALmarine company. Patrycja and Sebastian not only brought a lot of equipment, but also provided us with logistical help for two days, especially with an appropriate arrangement of lamps and support as a diver protecting the model.

 

All the lamps used in the Wong excavators project were produced by GRALmarine company. We used a total of more than 20 video lights, including LED 16 Duo video and the latest prototype lights that had not been introduced to mass sales yet.

 

I must admit that it is with the lights that we had the most work, because they had to be arranged not only in the right places, but also turned on and off several times a day so as to ensure that the power would not run out.

 

Finally, everyone agreed that the GRALmarine lamps did a good job and allowed for the effect that would not be possible to achieve in such conditions without their use. As you can see, you should not always listen to the master, sometimes you have to trust your intuition 😉


 

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Turning on the lights
Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
GRALmarine lights

 

Prayer, by no means for rain …

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Prayer for … and that fear in the eyes
Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Ben, what are you asking for …?

 

Various shades of Ben

Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
There is only one queen!
Ben von Wong in Koparki - behind the scenes of the project!
Kung Fu Panda

 

 

Sincere thanks go to all the companies and people involved in this project. With your help and support the project came to fruition!

 

Baza Via Sport Diving Marina Koparki
Baza Via Sport Diving Marina Koparki

To the diving base  Via Sport Diving Marina Koparki in Jaworzno

for hosting the entire team during the photo session

for logistical support in the form of gases necessary for the execution of dives

 


 

Aqua Hotel Jaworzno
Aqua Hotel Jaworzno

 

For Aqua Hotelu in Jaworzno

for hospitality, extremely friendly atmosphere

for delicious dishes served directly on the battlefield and under the Koparkowe shelters.


 

Gralmarine
GRALmarine

To the GRALmarine company from Wroclaw

for technical support in the form of several video lights

for the help in the distribution of lamps under water


 

Waterproof Polska
Waterproof Polska

To the  Waterproof Polska company

for the wetsuit for the model

for hardware support


 

Special thanks to all those who have devoted their time:

 

Patrycja Gizicka - GRALmarinePatrycja Gizicka of GRALmarine

for bringing and rental of lamps

for underwater support in their arrangement

for logistical support on the land


 

Sebastian Popek safety diver2Sebastian Popek – diving instructor

for comprehensive support, including that associated with the GRALmarine lights

for the dedication and acting as a model

for the patience in relation to the model

for amusing remarks and unique sense of humor


 

Gosia Kopeć backstage photoGosia Kopeć – underwater photographer

for underwater backstage documentation

for humor and relieving emotions


 

Kasia JabłńskaKatarzyna Jabłońska – photographer

for backstage documentation on the land

for logistical support on the land

for the rowing and steering the boat


 

Modelka projekt Wong

Angelika Maria Almirall-Torrel Fürstler – the model

for being there

for daring to walk into and immerse in cold water


 

Jakub Szuster

for logistical support and providing and transporting the red boat

Eryk Wołowicz

for the peptalk and lending the underwater housing for Gosia

Natalia Żyłowska

for backstage photos on the surface

but above all for logistical support, warming the model and boat transport

Cezary Korsieko

for backstage photos on the surface

Paweł Wojtasiński

for logistical support and transporting Ben and Karen from the airport


 

Get to know other, underwater projects of Ben von Wong (only in polish):

Podwodny surrealista tworzy obrazy w obronie rekinów
Podwodny surrealista tworzy obrazy w obronie rekinów
Ballantine’s plus fotograf równa się niezwykły podwodny obraz
Ballantine’s plus fotograf równa się niezwykły podwodny obraz
7 nurków, 2 modelki i jeden wrak – niezwykła podwodna sesja na Bali
7 nurków, 2 modelki i jeden wrak – niezwykła podwodna sesja na Bali

 

Flaga Polska

Artykuł dostępny również w języku polskim.

Ben von Wong na Koparkach – kulisy projektu!


 

 

Own work

Special thanks to Paweł Czerowniak for english version of this article.

The article, both the content and images, is protected as provided for in the Act of 4 February 1994 on copyright and related rights.

 

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