by Suzanne VanDeGrift
If you love the water and you have a passion for photography, underwater photography is probably something of interest to you. You don't have to go hundreds of feet down. Snorkeling equipment will allow you to float on the surface for hours, with relatively little effort.
If you're not comfortable snorkeling, consider taking a course. They're readily available and relatively inexpensive. If you're interested, consider taking a course that includes the snorkeling lessons combined with some underwater photography tips.
Another benefit to snorkeling, rather than the deeper scuba diving, is in the cost of the camera equipment. Since you're staying close to the surface, you don't have to invest hundreds of dollars in a camera that will hold up under the pressure of deep water. If you purchase a waterproof, compact digital camera, you normally are good to a depth of about 10 feet. These cameras will run about $200 to $300. Even though they're waterproof, you'll still want to pack your camera in a quality, water resistant camera bag for added protection.
If your underwater photography is going to be limited to a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, you might want to consider the disposable underwater camera. They're perfect for all your outdoor action, but well suited for underwater photography to depths of 15 to 50 feet. These disposable underwater cameras generally come pre-loaded with 400 speed film and 27 exposures and can run anywhere from $5 to $20 each.
A couple problems that underwater photographers have is that much of the color of the subjects they're photographing, such as fish, is absorbed by the water. A lot of what is seen appears bluish green. And, the farther away the subjects are, the more the color is muted. The other problem is light. The deeper the dive, the darker it gets. But photographing while snorkeling allows you to use the sunlight to illuminate your subjects. Just remember to keep it behind you for the best images.
Put your camera bag on the boat and head out to that coral reef. Swim slowly and smoothly through the water so that you don't startle those beautiful sea creatures and start capturing some of the most amazing images you've ever seen.
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