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Faking an Oceanside Photo Shoot with a Swimming Pool and a Toy SUV


Earlier this year, PetaPixel featured photographer Kunal Kelker and his inventive shoot involving a treadmill and a toy car. In his latest project, he replicates the classic oceanside SUV shot with a swimming pool, some rocks, and a scale model toy car.

Kelkar tells PetaPixel that after he finished the Lamborghini shoot on the treadmill, he wanted to try something different and slightly higher scale while keeping setup and execution simple.

“It was a coincidence that Lamborghini India had seen the treadmill shoot and approached us for a collaboration,” Kelkar says.

Lamborghini sent Kelkar a 1:18 scale collectible model of the Urus SUV to use as a subject for whatever photo he wanted to create.

“Since we missed an opportunity to travel to Italy earlier this year because of the Lockdown, we wanted to showcase the Urus on the Amalfi Coast,” Kelkar says. “Since the Urus has the capability to go off-road, the idea was to showcase the ability of the Urus to reach a scenic coastal area that is without roads.”

Kelkar and his partner Kanika Sood came up with the idea of using a swimming pool to act as the ocean and using a low angle to make it look like the scale model was right up next to the sea.

“To make it look like the photograph was taken from inside the sea, it was necessary to take the shot of the Urus from inside the swimming pool, which also meant submerging the camera to slightly add the extra depth for the image,” Kelkar explains.

“We needed a clear case to submerge the camera in the water without getting the camera wet and also to make sure that the water is at a distance from the lens so as to be able to capture the wave formation and the scene above and below.”

Rather than acquiring underwater housing, Kelkar made the simple choice of just using the plastic case that usually covers the Urus model.

“The Fujifilm X-T3 sat perfectly in the inverted acrylic cover which allowed us to get great split level images of the water,” Kelkar says. “To showcase the Urus on a ledge we submerged a medium-sized rock on the steps of the swimming pool and placed the Urus scale model on top. This made it look like the Urus was sitting on a rock ledge beside the sea. Multiple images were taken to make sure the Urus scale model was in focus and the perspective matched. On the edit table, we added in the background to complete the mood of the image.”

The second photo Kelkar shot needed to look like it was taken on a sandy beach. To do this, he sieved pit sand onto flat stone to mimic how it might look at full scale.

“Smaller rocks were used to add the element of a rocky beach and the scene was placed on the edge of the swimming pool to give it a coastal feel.”

“The camera was placed in a way that allowed the Urus scale model to look life-size as if it was parked on the beach near the water.”

For more from Kelkar, you can visit his website or follow him on Instagram.