4 Tips for the Best Underwater Pool Images

underwater pool images

Have you ever wanted to dip your toes into underwater pool photography? Backyard swimming pools provide a safe, calm, and controlled environment in which you can take awe-inspiring images of your children, pets, and objects. In this article, we describe some of the most basic tips any budding underwater photographer should know, and incorporate into their images.

#1: Protect Your Equipment

No matter which system you use to take underwater images – your phone, a point-and-shoot camera or a DSLR – you will want to make sure and purchase a separate waterproof case or underwater housing. There are many types of waterproof cases available that will ensure your peace of mind. Look for a case with a good grip. If using your phone, consider a Lifeproof case.

#2: Shoot Midday

The best time to shoot underwater pool images is midday when sunlight travels intensely and is bountiful in the water. This type of lighting will bring out colors and take away shadows. Be sure to take advantage of all angles that this light provides. When conditions aren’t in your favor, you can use artificial lighting, but be careful to avoid particles around the person or object you’re photographing.

#3: Get Up Close

Get close, then get closer! The most important principle to remember when taking underwater pool images is that you need to shoot through a minimum of water according to underwater photography experts. Getting up close and personal with your subjects provides better clarity and contrast as well as bright colors. This is the best way to take awe-inspiring images.

#4. Use Props

Be creative when bringing in props. Balloons, pool toys, umbrellas, and skateboards are all fun. Household items are also good choices. Use props to create whimsical and stunning images. While not a prop, bubbles are a great way to create interest in a photo, and also a fun excuse to splash water in your subject’s direction. You can also Photoshop in some props.

Trending Swimming Pool Design Ideas

swimming pool designs

So you’re thinking of having a swimming pool professionally installed? Planning the perfect oasis has never been more exciting, as innovations in swimming pools continue to expand into luxury pool options, such as natural and infinity pools. Here are six ideas that represent the cutting edge in swimming pool design for 2016.

Natural Pools

Natural swimming pools have a lot of advantages over traditional pools – which is why they’re quickly garnering more and more attention. Natural pools imitate ponds in nature, blending into the surrounding environment seamlessly. A variety of plants filter the water and keep the pool clean versus standard filtration systems. These pools are both environmentally friendly and chemical free. They also have low ongoing maintenance costs. You can also choose to use a salt water filtration system.

Infinity Pools

Infinity pools, also known as vanishing edge pools, are designed to produce a visual effect of water extending over the edge. These pools often provide a spectacular view, particularly a water view. The infinity pool design is said to have originated from Bali, Indonesia, where its inspiration was drawn from the island’s ubiquitous terraced rice paddies. While beautiful, infinity pools do require a different level of construction than traditional pools, which lends to their expensiveness.

In-Ground Spas

In-ground spas have always been a favorite addition to any pool – as they conserve space and share resources. Spas surrounded by rocks and plantings provide a tranquil setting for relaxation. In-ground spas can also be crafted with a simple ledge that allows water to spill into the pool or with a glass zero edge that makes the spa and pool look like they’re one. The options for in-ground spas are seemingly endless! Be sure and discuss the available options with your preferred pool builder.

Freeform Pool Designs

Freeform pools live up to their name – particularly since their contours don’t have to obey the rules of geometry, they can be designed any way you’d like, making them ideal for homes in more natural, tropical, or rustic settings. A freeform pool can imitate a tropical lagoon or a tranquil oasis. These pools are excellent choices for homeowners limited on space, you can make them as small or big as you’d like, as well as for those who wish to incorporate a pool into an existing asymmetrical space.

Glass Tiles

Glass tiles add immense beauty and allure to swimming pools. They are available in a wide variety of shapes, colors and finishes, and can be used to accent any pool design. Glass tiles provide the perfect way to set your pool apart from the ordinary. Common applications include waterline, pool steps and edges, raised spas, water walls, pool interiors, and mosaics. Imagine creating a true masterpiece at the bottom of your pool with glass tiles.

Custom Pool Decks

One of the biggest trends in outdoor design today is a custom pool deck. Travertine, pavers, Trex, cement, are just some of the material options for upgrading your pool’s deck. Not only are materials, such as these, attractive they go a long way towards complimenting the exterior of your home and melding with the outdoor environment; all without sacrificing your safety as they can be designed to be slip resistant. The choices for designing a custom, functional, and affordable pool deck are at your fingertips.

Best Mosquito Repellents for Your Backyard Oasis

Mosquito-Repellents

With summer in full swing, what’s your favorite thing to do? If it’s to spend time outdoors, frolicking in the pool or enjoying scrumptious food from the grill, then I’m sure we can all agree that pesky insects – especially mosquitoes – are an unwelcome sight.

Yet, as I’m sure most of you are already aware, this summer has brought one of the worst mosquito infestations. Not only do we fear getting eaten alive – but mosquitoes are a legitimate cause for health concerns. 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control, saw an estimated 2,200 cases of West Nile Virus.

So, what’s a person to do? Stop entertaining? Forget about backyard barbeques? Avoid the pool like the plague? No, no, and a resounding no! You don’t have to hide inside. A variety of mosquito-repelling tools in every price range (even DIY friendly) options exist to keep the mosquito population – and their dinner party – at bay. Here are a few effective solutions on how you can do exactly that:

  1. Homemade Citronella Candles

Citronella candles are one of the most effective mosquito repellents in the world. These candles use Cymbopogon (lemongrass) as the active ingredient. The best way to take advantage of citronella? Use citronella essential oil, and soup cans, to make a DIY version of the candles. This ensures an natural alternative to the store-bought candles. Click here to learn how to make them.

  1. DEET: Spray-on Repellents

Off, Jungle Juice, or Repel are three popular insect repellents that utilize the chemical DEET. DEET is a safe chemical that repels insects away from the body. Many of the repellents available today carry the additional benefit of softening the skin – while others provide sun protection. These valuable products can be purchased rather inexpensively.

  1. Mosquito Misting Systems

Mosquito misting systems aren’t your average misting systems. These systems are designed to spray pesticides in a fine mist to kill mosquitoes and other outdoor insects. Much like traditional misters, these systems include spray nozzles that can be mounted around the perimeter of your backyard oasis, to eliminate pesky mosquitoes and other insects.

Most of market’s currently available systems are either tankless or drum-based; they can be activated by remote control or set on a timer. Active ingredients, which are EPA approved, include permethrin; pyrethrin; and piperonyl butoxide. These ingredients are safe around people and pets. The downside to the systems is the price as they range from $1,300 and up.

  1. Portable Traps and Systems

A less expensive, yet still effective, option for you is to invest in a portable trapping system. Many of these systems run off of propane and batteries (or 12V power). These traps are designed to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as this is what will lead to the effective breaking of the mosquitoes’ breeding cycle. It’s important to note that it typically takes 7 to 10 days to see a noticeable difference.

Swimming… Benefits for Asthmatic Individuals!

Platinum Pools

In The Swim: Blog

There is a huge number of people who use swimming as their main form of exercise. It’s easy on the joints, and fun to do! For individuals with asthma, you can assume that a physical exercise, like swimming, could be detrimental to an individuals health. Something that requires intentional and controlled breathing, seems like a terrible idea for someone who deals with asthmatic troubles.

Although, interestingly enough, there are no studies that have proven that swimming causes issues for someone with asthma. Which is good news! In fact, the warm and humid atmosphere can actually help improve and ease breathing troubles. Swimming is one of our favorite forms of exercise, but the general rule is, ANY exercise is ideal! It can help with several areas, such as sleep, energy, and most importantly, respiratory and circulatory systems. Backyardpool

Typically, swimming is not linked to triggering asthma attacks. The natural moister in the air, from the pool, makes it easier to breathe, compared to other land-based activities. Obviously, we advise you to take caution while using swimming as your form of exercise. We recommend being very careful about the pH and chlorine levels. This can cause breathing issues, if there isn’t a proper balance.

Let us help you improve your exercise life, and your home aesthetics, by walking you through the process of installing a new pool. For any other questions, you can contact us at: PLATINUM POOLS AZ or call us at: (480) 888-9200

Building Luxury Outdoor Living Environments

Platinum Pools of Arizona New PoolsAt Platinum Pools, we hold ourselves to a rigid standard of pool building. We’re committed to making sure the pools we build not only meet home-owners expectation, but rise above it. As we often say, with a Platinum pool, luxury comes standard. But the pool is only one part of creating an outdoor environment. When considering a new pool or even a pool remodel, we encourage our clients to look beyond the pool and consider the entire area around the pool. Here are some additional services we provide that can help transform your backyard into a luxurious outdoor living environment.

Landscaping
What’s the point in having a great looking custom pool built if the area around the pool doesn’t reflect the same quality. Adding trees, plants, and bushes to the area around the pool can greatly enhance the overall look and feel of your backyard, and even provide shade. Many homeowners choose to convert grass lawns to desert landscapes for a more natural, desert environment and to help conserve and offset the pool water use. Others like to keep a lush, green lawn around their pool. Lighting features throughout the landscape can help create a nice ambiance at night around your pool.

Patios and Hardscapes
Your patio is most likely where you will spend most of your time when you aren’t in your pool. We can help you transform your old, hot concrete patio into a beautiful stone or tile paved area that’s perfect for entertaining or just lounging around. Installing shade structures such as pergolas, ramadas, or even shade sails will help you escape the heat when you need to. Couple that with a misting system and you’ll have a patio that’s comfortable even during the hot Arizona summers. Fountains and firepits are always a nice added touch to backyard patios as well.

BBQ and Outdoor Kitchens
If you love grilling and having friends and family over for barbecues, adding a built-in BBQ grill or full outdoor kitchen is a must. It’s also a great way to complement a new or remodeled pool. Custom outdoor kitchens not only look great, but have the added benefit of convenience when you are trying to feed your hungry guests. Add an outdoor TV, and you may never leave your patio!

Synthetic Putting Green
If you live an Arizona, you probably have a least one golfer in the family. Synthetic putting greens are very popular and add great deal of entertainment value to your backyard. The fact it’s synthetic means no watering and very little upkeep. Also helpful to keep you on top of your putting game and bring your gold scores down!

Obviously these are just a few ways to enhance your pool environment and we offer many more services to help you create a backyard oasis. So if you are thinking of adding or remodeling a pool, give Platinum Pools of Arizona a call. We will help you design and build the backyard of your dreams!

Algae the Green Pool Monster

Seems like if you miss just one week of adding chemicals, your pool can take a dramatic turn for the worse. Especially during the summer here in Arizona. Once algae spores become full algae blooms, it can take several days or even weeks to gain control again. The key to fighting algae once it appears is to act quickly. Here a few recommended steps to take if the algae monster invades your pool.

Regain Balance
More than likely the reason your pool developed algae was due to an imbalance of your water’s chemistry. Getting your chlorine and pH balance back in order should be the first thing you do when your pools starts to turn green. Some pool companies even recommend keeping your pH levels slightly higher around 7.8 and 8.00 when fighting algae.

Brush Brush Brush.. then Vacuum
If algae has developed, it has taken root on the walls and floor of your pool. You will want to dislodge the algae by thoroughly brushing your pool, especially in the areas where algae is visible. The type of brush you use, such as wire or nylon, will be determined by your pool finish. Consult a pool store if you are unsure which to use. After brushing, wait until any floating algae settles, then vacuum.

Shocking Advice
Adding super chlorination in the form of shock can dramatically improve your chances of destroying algae. We highly recommend checking the ingredients before purchasing shock as some contain more actual chlorine than others. Any pool store employee should be able to answer any question you may have, but be wary if that only suggest their ‘brand’. You will want to shock your pool at night at run your filter for a least 8 hours to maximize the effect.

To Algaecide or Not To Algaecide
In more extreme cases you may have to use and algaecide to kill the algae. There are different categories of algae like Green, Mustard, or Black. You will want to determine which type of algae your pool is infected with to know which algaecide to use.

Circulate and Re-Circulate
You will probably want to run your filter longer than normal, 24-hours if possible, when fighting algae. Be sure to clean or backwash your filter also to help remove contaminants.

Without a doubt, algae is the bane of existence for pool owners. Regular pool maintenance, chemicals, and circulation is the best way to avoid the dreaded algae invasion. But if it happens, act swiftly and you can have a clean, clear swimming pool once again!

Arizona Pools and the Monsoon Season

The monsoon season is upon us once again here in Arizona which means your pool will probably be filled with dust and debris from the blowing winds. Not to mention the added water from the torrential downpours we experience from time to time. Keeping your pool clean during the monsoon season can be challenging but here are a few tips that will help keep your pool swimmable during the rainy season.

Prepare for the Storm
It’s a good idea to cover your pump and filter with a tarp if they are exposed before a storm. Secure your lawn furniture and tie down any loosely rooted trees or plants. Use a blower or pressure washer to clear loose dirt from your decking and patio so that it doesn’t end up in your pool. Close any open umbrellas and put inflatable pool toys away in a safe storage area. Don’t run your filter during a storm as it may become too full of dirt.

Remove Debris and Dirt Quickly
After storms you will often find branches, leaves, lawn furniture and dirt polluting your pool. It’s important to remove debris and vacuum dirt as quickly as possible after storms. The longer you leave remnants of a storm in your pool, the harder it will become to clean. Be sure to clean the skimmer as well since will surely collect a lot of the debris.

After the Storm
While a downpour may help fill your pool with water, it can also severely affect the pH balance. Once a storm has passed be sure to test all of the chemical levels in the pool. You may even want to take a sample of pool water to your local pool store to have it professionally tested. Check the pressure of your pool filter to see if back-washing is required or if you need to clean filter cartridges as well.

Monsoons are inevitable in the Valley of the Sun, but with a little preparation and diligence you can keep your pool up and running during this blustery season. Keep your landscape well maintained, trees trimmed, and loose grass and leaves raked to help lessen the effect on your pool when storms hit.

Teaching Children Swim Strokes

teach basic swim strokesIn a couple of years, we will all be watching countries competing against each other in a variety of swim competitions for the 2016 Summer Olympics. So now is a perfect time to start teaching your children basic swim strokes to help them understand what happens in swim competitions as well as provide a great way to exercise and become stronger swimmers. There are four basic swim strokes to teach your children.

The Crawl, or Freestyle
This is the most popular swim stroke that most of us are use to. Basically, you float belly-down while propelling yourself by moving your arms in a windmill pattern and simultaneously kicking your legs in a fluttering motion. The challenge of this technique is developing a breathing pattern by turning your head to the side occasionally between strokes.

The Backstroke
One advantage of the backstroke is that your face is not in the water. On the other hand, it’s hard to see where you are going! Floating on your back, you propel yourself using a similar windmill motion as the crawl, just in reverse, as well as kicking your legs in a fluttering motion. The challenge here is propelling yourself with equal force from each arm to keep from veering off course and running into other swimmers or the wall.

The Breaststroke
As your child becomes a stronger swimmer, you can move up to more advanced swim strokes such as the Breaststroke and Butterfly. The Breaststroke is an involved technique where the body bobs up and down as you propel forward. The arms begin basically in a prayer position in front of the chest, moved forward and then to the side and back to thrust forward before being brought back to the original position. The leg kick is similar to the way a frog kicks in the water which is probably the simplest way to describe it. This stroke takes a lot of coordination and practice before your child will be comfortable performing it.

The Butterfly
Strength and timing are key here. Starting face down, the arms are rotated together in a windmill fashion while the legs and feet should stay together, kicking in a motion reminiscent to a dolphins tail. The trick is to undulate the body in a motion to maximize the effectiveness of the arm and leg movements while being able to take a breath by raising your head between strokes. This stroke takes a long time to learn and perfect, so encourage patience when your child is learning this stroke.

Of course if you don’t feel comfortable teaching your children these techniques we highly encourage you to enroll them in lessons.

Here is a short video that demonstrates the swim strokes we’ve discussed here:

Health Benefits of Spas

health benefits of spasAre you looking for a reason to talk your significant other in adding a spa to your backyard environment? How about telling them that it’s good for their health? Many doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists are touting the benefits of hydro-therapy for a wide variety of ailments. Here’s a short list of how your health can benefit from a spa.

Anti-Stress: Perhaps the most obvious benefit of soaking in a hot spa is it’s ability to reduce stress. While this is apparent to anyone who has spent anytime in a hot tub, there is supporting scientific rational behind why this occurs. According to author J. B. Smith in his book Hot Water and Healthy Living, “Our bodies make adjustments when we are immersed in water. These changes are similar to those that occur when we exercise. The changes include increased circulation, more efficient breathing, and improvements in mood.” This means that not only are our muscles relaxing, warm water immersion may well have a positive effect on working memory and performance of cognitive tasks, including problem solving.

Restful Sleep: Approximately 132 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders more than one night a week according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation. Hectic, stressful lifestyles can cause sleep problems even in basically healthy people.

Studies suggest that immersion in warm water (such as in a hot tub, which has a constant temperature) before bedtime can ease the transition into a deeper, more restful sleep. This may be due to a temperature shift, since the body’s core internal thermostat drops after leaving the water, which signals the body that it’s time to sleep.

Healing Effects: It’s a well-known fact that improved circulation promotes healing, and there’s no question that hydrotherapy in warm water increases circulation. As the blood supply to muscles increases, more nutrients become available to help cells and tissues regenerate, and speed up healing. This healing effect is aided by the buoyancy of water, which reduces weight bearing on joints due to gravity.

ARTHRITIS relief: According to a publication from The Arthritis Foundation, Spas, Pools, and Arthritis, “Regular sessions in your hot tub help keep joints moving. This restores and preserves strength and flexibility, and also protects your joints from further damage. Exercise can also improve a person’s coordination, endurance, and ability to perform daily tasks, and can lead to an enhanced sense of self-esteem and accomplishment.”

Hydrotherapy is a common form of natural treatment for arthritis, fibromyalgia, as well as knee hip and other joint pain and stiffness.

Heart Healthy: It’s been a long held belief that spas and hot tubs may present a risk to those with heart issues. However research led by Dr. Thomas G. Allison of the Mayo Clinic indicates that hot tubs and spas may not present as much of a risk to heart patients as previously thought. The report describes how relaxing in a spa might actually be less stressful to your heart than working out on an exercise bicycle. Soaking in a hot tub increases the heart rate while lowering blood pressure, instead of raising it as other forms of exercise do.

Perhaps Bruce Becker, M.D., Washington State University put it best in a report on hydro-therapy, “The effects of aquatic immersion are profound, and impact virtually every body system. Warm water immersion protects the heart from rhythm disturbances and improves the efficiency of the heart muscle.”

Now that you have perfectly healthy reasons to have spa installed, be sure to call the spa professionals at Platinum Pools!

Water features for your pool

If you are looking to enhance the look of your pool, and increase the value of your home, consider adding water features to your pool. Features such as fountains, waterfalls, slides, swim-up bars, and rock formations can add beauty and elegance to your swimming pool. Become the envy of your neighbors as you create a contemporary aquatic environment perfect for hosting barbecues and family outings. For inspiration, please enjoy this gallery of water features installed by Platinum Pools: