Some of the best underwater pictures that you’ll see on the internet or elsewhere are likely to have been taken by deep sea or scuba divers, kitted out with some of the best – and undoubtedly the most expensive kit that you’re likely to see. Beautiful shots of coral reefs, kelp forests and the most colorful of fish and amphibious mammals are obviously hard to get right, and in most cases very hard to get to.
However, you don’t have to be a highly trained diver, or even a fantastic photographer to get some amazing shots of underwater life.
You can find many weird and wonderful aquatic flora and fauna in the shallows in many destinations around the world, and all you need to be armed with is a good eye, some snorkeling gear and in most cases the camera which you already own.
There are of course many different types of camera specially designed to be used in the water. The first of these came onto the market back in the 1960s and since then there has been amazing progression in the design and durability of these cameras. Most on the market right now are digital cameras, but there are still some die-hard analog lovers out there that may still want to get their hands on a 35mm film camera. Again, these are generally used by professionals, whether their main love is photography or diving.
There are alternatives for the beginner however. If you don’t feel like going through weeks and months of training in order to become a qualified diver, then there is gear available for you to take your first tentative steps into the oceans and seas and still get some excellent shots. If you own a camera, which you undoubtedly do, then the alternative to buying a new one comes a whole lot cheaper and can still be very effective. Special housings are available for most cameras, be they digital or older film cameras. As you can imagine, these are designed to protect your camera from becoming wet or completely waterlogged. They also have special buttons which are designed to give you access to most if not all of the functions that you camera has, again without causing any damage.
So grab your mask (and flippers if you have them!) and plunge in to find some of these wonders of the shallows rather than the deep. Even if you don’t have the basics for snorkeling then you are guaranteed to find a hire shop close to any known snorkeling or dive site, so don’t worry if you’re reading this while already on holiday – you’ll be well catered for. And please, don’t forget to wear your sunscreen!
Ben is a photography enthusiast and a lover of the great outdoors, especially those parts near water. He writes for Mozaik Underwater Cameras, a marine camera and housing site.