Wolfgang Hammersmith is an accomplished photographer, author, musician, and diver. He pursued training in each of these areas as part of an intellectual cross-training regimen designed to improve his skills in many areas.
Wolfgang obtained a Master Photographic Printer Certificate in 1979 after completing a nine-month apprenticeship under Joseph Benjocky in Long Beach, CA. During this time, he studied color and BW; negative and print retouching; restoration; copying rare photographs; and wet darkroom process technology. He would go on to photograph nearly 400 celebrities on motion picture sets and for magazine articles, album covers, and promotional materials for a wide range of media. Between 1981 and 1986, Wolfgang’s still photography in BW and selected color appeared in twelve gallery showings.
Wolfgang and his wife Elizabeth produced educational/instructional programs, including professional diver training videos. Wolfgang was the Underwater Live Content Producer, Underwater Director, and lead live Video Underwater Cameraman for the 1991 Pearl Harbor Commemorative by CNN, a world's first live underwater broadcast to 63 nations, presented by Jeff Flock and produced by David Steck.
Underwater Film Production/Photography
When shooting underwater, Wolfgang uses Arriflex motion picture cameras, Sony video cameras, and Nikon Nikonos Series UW still photography equipment. His film, digital, and still photography images are lit with underwater lighting systems of his own design. These systems cover a range from 250W high-pressure Tungsten to a 1,200W 120VAC HMI system that allows a single underwater gaffer to remain mobile while controlling two light heads.
Wolfgang also improved existing procedures for signaling and controlling actor movements while shooting underwater. He introduced a system of arm signals and underwater buoys that eliminated non-scripted communication gear. These buoys dramatically reduced the number of necessary takes for each scene by indicating the maximum height, or depth, actors could work above the set floor while ensuring that actors stayed within the frame during long shots.