If nothing else, Japan where I make my home, is wet. The rainy season lasts from mid-June to the end of July, typhoons regularly lash the archipelago from August to October, and then there are just the banal rainy days. These in themselves were enough to make me long for a waterproof film camera for street photography, and one that has a lot of manual control rather than a disposable one or some of the old waterproof point-and-shoots. So I had always been intrigued by the Nikonos cameras.
Nikon Scale Focus Camera
Nikonos V and surfing? You’re probably thinking I live in California, Australia or Hawaii but where I surf you’re more likely to catch frostbite than a shark bite; this is cold water surfing on Scotland’s east coast. Winter is the only time there is waves, so it’s the only time I surf. It’s not unusual for the air temperature to be below 0°; 5mm wetsuit, boots, gloves and hood are most certainly required. Surfing is hard and I’m not very good, so once I get tired of falling off I tend to float around and take pictures. It might just ‘the stoke’ of being in the water but I’d say the dawn light at my local beach is extra special, it makes the beating I take from the waves totally worthwhile.
I can’t remember exactly what triggered the idea to shoot underwater with a film camera first: a mention of the Nikonos camera in my twitter feed, or the painterly effect I got this winter on film with an early morning shot in the fog. But the idea formed, and it stuck. I had never heard of the Nikonos, so I googled it, and found a great looking camera system with interchangeable lenses that is waterproof.