Craig Fernandez sitting atop a giant baitball of silverfish inside Potato Harbor on Santa Cruz Island.  Photo by Chuck Graham.

The Shot:
125 second at f/11 Fuji Velvia 50
Canon EOS 630
Canon 20-35mm lens

Your style has a definite old-school feel to it, why do you continue to shoot film?
It’s simple. I continue to shoot film because I love everything about it from the little green box and the canister to loading my camera and composing the image.  After it’s developed I love laying out the 36 chromes on my lightbox at my desk and pouring over the possibilities.

Does this kind of photograph define your style as a photographer?
This type of photograph does define me as a photographer. I think most photographers are looking for something unique when they’re shooting. Having the baitball appear was unique and special at the same time. It’s a good little story behind the lens.

Can you take us through the process of making the image?
I think half the process of making the photo is getting there. So for me that would be the circumnavigation of Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands and continually searching for those experiences that I can capture on film. When that baitball appeared at Potato Harbor, my friend Craig Fernandez and I were hanging out on the beach. I told Craig to get in his kayak and gently float over to it. It was interesting watching the silverfish congregate around his kayak, but the light was really flat from the beach so I had to scramble up a crumbling bluff to get overhead of the subject to have a chance at a shot.

A lot of your photos are made on the water. What are some of the challenges you face shooting from a kayak?
Don’t grit your teeth. I don’t use a housing, never have. I keep my gear in my lap in a drybag. I use a sit-on-top kayak so I can move around easily. Depending on sea conditions I’ll steady the kayak by throwing a leg over each side of my kayak. I’ve lost one camera one time out in the middle of the Santa Barbara Channel. That hurt a little.

What’s next on your list of photographic adventures?
I’m off to Iceland in July, but there’s plenty to shoot at the Channel Islands NP and up and down the California Coast.

Where can we find you online? and @chuckgrahamphoto.

More stories and photos from Chuck Graham