Photographing C4 Explosions and EOD Technicians With a U.S. Military Bomb Squad

Photography is notorious for whisking its practitioners off on unexpected adventures. “I never thought I would get the chance to photograph this.” Most long-time photographers are caught saying this at least once throughout their careers.

Okinawa-based wedding photographer Pete Leong is no different. As an avid supporter of maintaining personal photography projects alongside professional work to keep the creativity and inspiration flowing, Leong recently undertook a U.S. military photo series project. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at his latest photoshoot with an EOD bomb squad:

Leong posted a blog to introduce his Behind the Scenes video and explain details about the approach and equipment he used during his EOD shoot. In the blog, Leong reveals that he shot the photographs with a Canon 1D Mark IV camera and Canon lenses such as the 16-35mm f/4L IS, the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS, and the 24-70mm f/4L IS. He performed 90% of his edits in Adobe Lightroom, although he did utilize the Nik Color Efex Pro 4 and Onone Perfect Effects plugins where he needed a little something extra.

On location, Leong and his collaborators took precautions to protect themselves as they triggered explosions. Those not already sporting bomb suits wore ear protection, and when utilizing C4, everyone worked from behind “a mound in a bunker.”

“The explosions you see at the end of the video were C4,” said Leong. “I set up my GoPro to catch the explosions while I pulled the trigger to detonate it. Even down there, we could feel the force. The sound and feeling on the body from the blasts was quite incredible.”

fire flames behind the scenes BTS pete leong bomb suit

EOD united states u.s. military soldier bomb squad technician C4 RPG behind the scenes

Two of the best photos from Leong’s military EOD photoshoot.

Originally from Australia, Pete Leong now lives in Japan and primarily works as a wedding photographer, although he also pursues adventure photography for personal projects.

“I’ve always believed personal photo projects are important to professional photographers (and amateur photographers for that matter), as they can really help when you start to feel unmotivated and stale when shooting often the same kind of thing day in day out… It’s great fun and a challenging though to push the boundaries and try something new.

Leong definitely went beyond boundaries with his EOD photo shoot. During the course of the session, he got to wear an 85-pound bomb suit, operate a bomb disarming robot, and detonate C4, among other things.

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