One of the most popular activities that Scuba Divers choose to participate in is underwater photography. Every year, many thousands of divers go on vacation and one of the first things on their list of “things we need” is some sort of underwater camera.
Sadly, many of these same folk come back from their various tropical resort destinations with little if anything to show for their investment of hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars they spent underwater photographic gear. And so they become discouraged at the lack of success and disenchanted with the prospect of taking memorable images of their underwater experiences. How sad…
How many times have you taken pictures underwater and then had them developed only to find a bunch of white spots (the dread backscatter) cluttering up your near perfect shot of that lion fish? Or perhaps you have framed up on the most beautiful parrot fish in the carib. And anxiously awaited the return of your developed photos only to find an empty frame with a wisp of silt (we call that a poof fish).
But fear not my fair finned friends. There is a solution to this problem. Ahh yes, there is a cure. The answers to why these things happen as well as the solutions to other problems associated with taking pictures underwater can be found at your local dive center. The cure to being photographically challenged underwater is known as the Underwater Photography specialty course.
To be certain, taking pictures underwater is just a bit different than taking your average vacation time snap shot. The underwater environment presents its own peculiar set of challenges to the would-be photographer. Light behaves differently underwater. Because of this fact, there are certain things that one must do to compensate for the differenced (i.e. Focal distance, reflectivity, turbidity, color, etc…) Sound complicated, it’s not really. It’s just different. It requires the learning of a few new skills.
Beyond learning the basic underwater photographic techniques, the diver must also learn to deal with additional task loading, buoyancy control, equipment management, etc… But in the hands of the experts at your local dive shop, just about any diver can learn these skills and soon be taking nice pictures of their underwater adventures.
It has been my experience that one of the most important things a new underwater photographer learns from the U/W/ Photography course is how to really “Observe” the environment into which he/she is immersed. How to stop and take the time to look and watch all of the wondrous things there are to be seen. It is not uncommon that the entirety of a 40 minute photo shoot be taken up by just sitting in one spot and watching. Yep, there’s that patients thing again…
One thing is certain though. Even if you never develop into another Stephen Frink or Cathy Church, you will have a heck of a lot of fun taking this course…So jump in folks and give it a try!