Story by Brian Berusch
Photos by Olivier Koning
It looks a little like the opening to a James Bond film: Two men click open black and silver titanium-coated cases—some as large as an upright bass, some the size of a laptop —as they maneuver around quickly and silently on a small powerboat anchored in a tranquil bay. Here in the waters off Waikiki, just beyond range of the shouting surf instructors and the beach bars piping out Jawaiian music, they fasten steel tubes together and prepare expensive-looking tech. Their mission: to map every nook and cranny on the ocean floor of one of the most photographed coastlines in the world to create images that no one has yet seen.
They’ve already had success using their skills to create arresting underwater/ above-water composite images of San Francisco Bay and Lake Tahoe. Their images hit at our natural urge to see the unseen, to know what’s “down there.” Seeing the rippling underwater dunes sweeping away from Alcatraz Island or the precipitous, ghostly cliffs extending below the surface at Tahoe’s Rubicon Bay offers a new perspective, a literal “through the looking-glass” experience. Now Chris Hill and Brent von Twistern are hoping to bring some of that visual magic to the sub-scapes of Hawai‘i.