About Photographic Support Systems®


First Camera Housing
First Camera Housing

Sometime in the mid 1970's, the two things I was most interested in; photography and surfing, came together when I began to shoot surfing from the water. This is a very demanding kind of photography; you must stay in or near the "impact zone" of breaking waves while shooting the surfers as the pass by, around or over you. To do this, you would need a waterproof camera "housing" to keep the camera dry. The only housings available at the time were heavy and bulky camera housings used by scuba divers or Nikonos diving cameras, unusable for surf photography. The only option available was to build my own housings. The first housing, in the photo to the left, was made out out thick plexiglas. It was big and heavy, the 3/8" front port did not make for really sharp photos, but it did not leak and enabled me to get closer to the surfers than ever before.

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The Rock

First Cover 1979


First Cover Shot 1979

I started taking photos around the North County surf spots and by 1979 I was working for a local surfing magazine. I took the magazine's first full-bleed cover shot using the first camera housing I ever made. In addition to taking photos, I wrote articles, helped with the magazine layout and did the photo lab work. It was a valuable learning experience and I met a number of people who I would work with in the following years.
Also about this time video tape was a new thing, VHS tape players were becoming popular. We started using Super 8 movie cameras and first generation VHS camcorders to distribute movies of the surfing experience without going to a theatre. All the editing was done with two tape decks, computers had not come into common use at this time. It was all new, we were doing things nobody had ever done before.

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Wes Laine-Mike Doyle 1980-Mark Kerwin, North County-Sailboarding 1982

Oceanside Shop 1984

Oceanside Shop 1984

Surfing and other water sports like sailboarding were quickly growing in popularity. By 1980 I had developed the design and construction of the camera housings to the point where other water photographers wanted me to make housings for them. The first housing shop was my garage in Oceanside, California. I didn't make a large number of housings but began to work with other young, ambitious photographers from all over the world. This started the tradition of new ideas being discussed, then camera equipment being designed to get out in the water and do things that had not been done before.
The bright orange camera housings became a recognizeable trademark. We began doing things that had never been done before like flash photography and POV cameras. We started working with Super 8 and 16mm movie cameras; surfing was on TV for the first time and video tapes were becoming popular.

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Contax 645 Housing--Nikon "PoleCam"--Remote Flash Housing--EOS Pistol Grip Housing Early Still Camera Housings

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Early Movie Camera Housings 16mm Remote Camera-Kodak K100 Movie Camera-Beaulieu Super8

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Super 8 Movies
Taken about 1984 in Oceanside, California

WMV 258KB Chris Olivas-Tyson Street 1984 MPEG 1.1MB

WMV 176KB Slashin' Chris-Tyson Street 1984 MPEG 794KB

WMV 469KB 20 Year Old Slash MPEG 1.96MB

WMV 645KB Oceanside Harbor 1984 MPEG 2.56MB
Sonny Miller shooting photos in this clip

WMV 205KB Harbor Barrel MPEG 880KB

WMV 331KB Oceanside Barrel 1984 MPEG 1.33MB

-Blacks Barrel-Blacks Bottom Turn

Carlsbad Shop on State StreetCarlsbad ShowroomCarlsbad Workshop
Carlsbad Shop 1985-2007

In 1985 we moved out of the garage on Alvarado Street to a storefront in Carlsbad, California that served as the Photo Support office and workshop until 2007. The shop was a rest stop for water photographers from all over the world coming from their home countries en route to destinations like Hawaii and Indonesia. All of the Photographic Support Systems camera housings were built here. The shop also had full photo and video editing capability and we configured and built photo and video editing computer workstations for other photographers and film makers. We were the first business in the area to have high speed internet.

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Video & Movie Camera Housings Arriflex SR II Housing-Panasonic DVX Housing-Canon GL2 Housing-Sony Remote Camera-Sony TRV Housings

Canon A2 Remote Housing-Canon EOS 1D MkII Housing-Nikon DX2 Housing-Canon EOS 20D Housing-Canon EOS 1D MkII Housing Still Camera Housings

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Photo Support Videos

WMV 257KB Matt Archbold-Baja Barrel MPEG 1.72MB

WMV 205KB Backlit Backside Wave MPEG 1.44MB

WMV 390KB Baja Barrel MPEG 2.67MB

WMV 322KB Barrelled MPEG 2.03MB

WMV 370KB Big Empty Wave MPEG 2.5MB

WMV 300KB Colin Smith-Meaty Baja Barrel MPEG 2.23MB

WMV 13.7MB Riley and The Dolphins MPEG 31.3MB

WMV 243KB SoCal Tube MPEG 1.83MB

WMV 514KB Todos Tube Ride MPEG 3.47MB

WMV 243KB Tube Ride MPEG 1.65MB

WatermanAtWork
Waterman At Work

In July, 2007, the worldwide economy was getting worse while the cost of doing business in Carlsbad got higher. A transit station was built near the office and the neighborhood began to attract drug dealers, transients and commuter traffic jams. It was not worth it to remain in business any longer so we closed the Carlsbad shop. Instead of manufacturing camera housings, I concentrated on new venues for water-based photography. Some of that work can be seen at the WatermanAtWork.com website. I continue to work with advanced photography and video systems as well as the latest composite materials and manufacturing procedures. As soon as it becomes economically feasable, new housing models could be available again.

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Contact Photographic Support Systems

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