When friends ask what it is like to take a camera down into the deep, I always tell them that it is quite similar to bringing down a 6 pound darkroom. Playing with light underwater can get rather tricky as instead of just dealing with the invisible air between you and the subject (on land), in the water, there’s an entire water column that separates you and the subject. And light. Light comes from the sun, which is directly above you and fades to black as you go deeper. The first color to vanish as you go deeper is red which is why new divers who get cut or bruised underwater panic upon seeing that their blood has turned green. Nope they’re not poisoned — the color red is merely absent.
Into the deep. You literally step in.
Then you sink.
Then sort of float up to the surface. Someone hands you the camera from the boat. And off you go.
Ah, photography. But underwater. The agony and the ecstasy of it are what contributes to the addiction.
Imagine the work it takes to set up for a shoot on land — lugging all your reflectors, lights, backdrops and what have you and set it all up on set. Now imagine having to bring all of that down with you into the deep. With SCUBA gear.
Imagine how it feels using a snorkeling mask to look into your camera’s viewfinder (I shoot with a DSLR). And it’s not just the mask that makes it harder — it’s the protective housing that keeps your camera waterproof that adds to the inches between the viewfinder and your eyes. Roughly put, it’s about a total of 3-4 inches of shooting distance between what you see in the camera and your eyes.
Now imagine doing all this while you’re running out of air.