Putting Academy Award winner James Cameron underwater on NatGeo cover this month called for a little Hollywood magic. “We have to show science is exciting,” he says.
The National Geographic explorer-in-residence really was submerged—but inside a giant water tank at a soundstage he uses in Manhattan Beach, California (two 40-foot models of the Titanic, both seaworthy and wrecked versions, sat nearby).
Sand, plants, and bubbles were added to the image to create the illusion of Cameron on the seafloor, a place well-known to the director of Titanic and The Abyss.
Photographer Marco Grob had just two hours to make the portrait before his subject had to leave to catch a flight for Australia. So Cameron, whose solo dive into the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, is featured in this issue, donned a wet suit and went to work. He was a pro at holding his breath: “I was sometimes concerned,” admits Grob. “I’d knock on the window and say, ‘Hey, come up.’” (NatGeo)