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Underwater Photography – Challenging and Exciting

Posted by on October 27, 2011

Underwater photography is thrilling activity defined as process of taking photos while underwater, whether while scuba diving, snorkeling or swimming. It is considered an especially challenging area of photography, because it requires specialized underwater equipment, including underwater cameras and housing, but also because photographs are taken in completely different environment. Even though it is challenging, underwater photography offers excitement and many rare photographic opportunities. The most common subjects are marine animals, but also there are shipwrecks, submerged cave systems, underwater landscapes, fellow divers etc.

The bases of photography remain the same no matter of environment, but the medium that light travels through is not air, it is water. In order to overcome this difference, special techniques and equipment are required. The extreme loss of color and contrast when submerged underwater is the primary obstacle underwater photographers have. Red (and orange) color is absorbed quickly by water and that is why everything appears blue or green in color. Colors are not lost only vertically, but also horizontally, which means that the further away from the camera desired subject is, more colorless and distinct it would appear. Even in atypically clear water this effect occurs. It is preferable to come within 12 inches close to the subject.

One thing also must not be forgotten is the fact that in underwater photography even time is limited, because we are air-breathing creatures and we must come to the surface at one point. Underwater photographs are commonly made while scuba diving, so it is important and required for the photographer to be sufficiently skilled in this technique. It is extremely important to feel confident, safe and calm underwater, otherwise it is possible to scare away marine animals or to damage and disturb the environment. One of the tips is to avoid poor visibility, tidal flow and heavy currents.