Steve Haining has been a photographer to the stars, capturing the likes of Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, the Kardashians, Katy Perry, David Hasselhoff, Lou Ferrigno, Gigi Hadid, the Backstreet Boys and Justin Bieber.

“I’ve been fortunate plenty of to tour with some of the largest bands, fulfill the coolest persons, dive into cultures and practical experience life in all corners of the environment,” states the Hamilton native, who has years of music video clip and movie established experience, and whose get the job done has appeared on just about each continent.

But the crown jewel of his do the job, and his deepest dive but, has been into the chilly waters of the northern Bruce Peninsula.

Haining, 33, a short while ago photographed Brantford product Ciara Antoski underwater, atop some of the most famous shipwrecks in the place, located involving Lake Huron and Georgian Bay off Tobermory — a “pipe aspiration four decades in the building.”

Even though not the deepest underwater shoot on file, it’s one of the deepest portrait shoots carried out in h2o that would place all those uncovered at danger of hypothermia. Antoski was up to 9 metres underwater, often for 30 minutes at a time, with no mask or skin security, and only shared air.

Kelly McAdam, operator of the Tobermory dive shop Divers Den, has labored with photographers who have accomplished identical operate, but none to the extent of Haining and his staff.

“It’s extremely extraordinary,” explained McAdam, who holds a rescue diver score. “We dive in dry satisfies or 7-millimetre to 14-millimetre wetsuits. Steve’s product was exceptionally tricky to endure the Tobermory waters less than these situations.”

Haining began using a 1970s classic 35-mm film camera as a youngster. He was the official photographer for MuchMusic from 2008 to 2016, and has also shot for MTV, document labels like Common Music and Sony, makes like Tim Hortons and Reebok, and dozens of journals. He owns the studio CreateOf, specializing in portraiture, marketing images, and Tv and movie manufacturing and direction. He has also photographed Arctic and remote northern communities.

He’d experienced an curiosity in underwater images given that taking pictures for surfboard providers in Hawaii.

“I like to be close and create a story with my portraits, but I’d located myself with a huge telephoto lens on the shore,” he mentioned. “I started off out finding these cheap bagged camera housings and swimming out to the surf to consider shots of my topics.”

He experienced in no way finished a shoot with scuba equipment but, with Antoski, he preferred to make “portraits that felt like the product was a spirit still left on a ship soon after it sank.” He investigated shipwrecks in Canada and fell in enjoy with the types in the Bruce Peninsula.

Deemed the “Shipwreck Funds of Canada,” the Fathom Five Countrywide Marine Park off Tobermory has about two dozen wrecks positioned in depths of involving 4.5 and 46 metres. “We have more shipwrecks concentrated in one particular location than any place else in Canada, in various stages of decay,” McAdam reported. “Some are quite intact, some others are a activity of pickup sticks.”

Haining experienced a fast paced routine that stored him flying extra than 100 occasions a yr, so the underwater shoot was on the back burner until the pandemic hit.

Model Ciara Antoski poses on shipwrecks in the chilly waters off Tobermory in June.

Antoski, who’s 25 and had worked with Haining sporadically because 2012, pointed out to him that she experienced attained her first open up drinking water dive certification in October 2020. “I imagined, ‘Maybe this is our chance to make this dream a actuality,’” Haining mentioned.

About the future a few months, Antoski practised posing in water with elaborate costuming and educated herself to keep her breath for lengthy durations in a rented pool. “I also did a ton of mental observe, which I acquired in a former underwater shoot is one particular of the more critical factors. Your entire body can hold air for a prolonged time, (but) we’re just not mentally well prepared and stress typically tells us to breathe substantially before we basically have to have to.”

Haining refreshed his have dive certification and experimented with equipment and lights in the McMillan Pond freshwater quarry in Guelph. He consulted with photographers recognised for their underwater operate — fellow Canadian Ben Von Wong and Brett Stanley in California — co-ordinated production permits with Parks Canada and enlisted Toronto grasp scuba diver trainer Mareesha Klups, who experienced expertise diving in Tobermory, as the project’s basic safety diver.

(Interestingly, Klups — who holds many specialty certifications like wreck diving teacher, night time diving teacher, deep diving teacher, crisis first responder instructor, emergency oxygen supplier and is a qualified free of charge diver — also has working experience executing underwater gown pictures.)

In mid-June, when the shoot took area, the Bruce Peninsula h2o is 10 to 12 levels Celsius at the surface area, finding colder with depth and dropping to 5 levels at the “thermocline,” which is about 15 metres under the floor.

“We look at something below 50 Fahrenheit (10 C) a issue for cold drinking water shock/hypothermia,” claimed McAdam. “This variety of photo shoot or totally free-diving devoid of a fit is not not possible … it is just not for the faint of heart or these with no coaching.”

Haining’s workforce dove atop several wrecks: the Sweepstakes, Alice G and Grand Rapids, which are all about six metres deep, the WL Wetmore (7.5 to 9 metres) and the Niagara II (15 to 27 metres). On the initially working day of the shoot, Haining — armed with a Fujifilm X-T3 in an AquaTech underwater housing, a GoPro and lighting — encountered obstacles but was unfazed. It was wet and foggy batteries drained faster in the chilly Antoski required fat belts to assist her continue to be down and Klups “Frankensteined” a new regulator that could operate a few air sources, such as a backup in situation a person froze.

In a triumphant moment, Haining finally acquired the shot of Antoski atop the Sweepstakes that he had been envisioning for several years.

Antoski couldn’t see devoid of a mask at the depths demanded for the shots and had to rely on Klups to direct her and supply her with air.

“For anyone not employed to chilly diving, this is difficult to bear in a wetsuit, let alone bare skin,” reported Klups, who initially had fears for Antoski. “Aside from my totally free-diving coach, his spouse and our dive team, I can’t say I’ve at any time noticed anyone do photo shoots in Tobermory.”

There are quite a few explanations for this, the first staying the temperature. “It is tricky to do everything when you’re chilly, together with currently being a basic safety diver,” Klups reported. She introduced very hot water for Antoski to pour on herself or soak her feet in among spots. “We would not dive yet again until I was carried out shivering and had no physical signs of becoming cold,” Antoski explained.

But for Antoski, the temperatures weren’t the most important obstacle, nor was the decline of swimming autonomy thanks to the weights (“which at first was sort of terrifying”). “The to start with time I eradicated my mask, panic established in.” It was only just after she overcame her stress at the area that the shoot could proceed. “Sensory deprivation was additional daunting than the oxygen deprivation,” she stated, incorporating that believe in was a crucial component of the project.

“There is normally a risk when you’re diving or performing anything in the water,” stated Klups. “The possibility boosts with depth and temperature and time. But with knowledge, crisis strategies, properly trained divers and captains, all that can be mitigated to a diploma.”

Photographing model Ciara Antoski in the Shipwreck Capital of Canada was a 'pipe dream four years in the making' for Steve Haining.

Sifting via the images a few times afterwards, Haining found it “a little bittersweet since the whole extended approach that led to the visuals was really the spotlight of the pandemic for me.” As news of the venture spread between the arts neighborhood, Haining started obtaining phone calls. “People who know cold h2o are calling us, staying like, ‘How the hell did you fellas get it to work?’”

This tumble, Haining will operate towards his innovative open drinking water certification with the goal of setting up another project, 1 he hopes “will open up an entirely new way to glance at underwater portrait images.”

As for that pipe aspiration that commenced it all, he reminds folks that just months back, “it sat on my desk with hundreds of tips just like it: concepts you want to do, but you just cannot pretty get there you’re lacking parts or maybe it’s just high priced. Usually create people concepts down because, at some place, it’s possible the possibility to convey that idea to everyday living will come together.”

Steve Haining’s two-part documentary “The Extended Ride Home” — which follows a team of Very first Nations people on a 600-kilometre horseback journey — is scheduled to be unveiled in Canada on Apple Tv, Amazon Primary Video and Vimeo on Need this yr.

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By Harmony