Be Safe Before You Start Taking Underwater Photos
Many do but buying and underwater digital camera shouldn’t be your first equipment purchase. Be safe and confident with your diving skills before you add extra stress and a massive distraction. Getting good results with modern digital cameras is fairly straight forward if you get the basics right and by the basics I mean the diving.
Focus On Diving First
You wouldn’t expect great photo results if you’re running around or jumping up and down on land, the same applies for diving – if you’re furiously kicking to hold position or rising up and down then it’s almost impossible to get the subject in focus.
You’re very rarely going to be the finished article after you’ve completed the Open Water, sure you’ll be safe and very much enjoying your diving but you won’t have complete control for quite a while – only when you have complete control and awareness of the environment should you consider adding a camera to your dive kit.
A camera can very quickly become the focal point of your dive, leading to some unsafe practices. We’ve seen divers shoot up to get a photo of a manta ray close to the surface – completing ignoring safe ascent rates, air consumption can increase dramatically as divers shoot around from one subject to another. The camera menu gets a lot more attention than your air gauge – obviously it shouldn’t…
Ingraining safe dive practices into your mind set should be of the up-most importance, you’ll find it much easier to stay safe when taking photos if it’a already a habit.
Every professional understands that not every new diver has perfect control and will readily assist new divers in improving their dive skills but few will tolerate complete lack of respect for the environment. This doesn’t just apply to new divers, there’s a few experienced divers who will basically do anything for the shot – snapping off corals, laying on the reef or even moving the animals into a more photogenic position. There’s no excuse nowadays for divers not to be environmental aware, if you can’t take the photo without causing damage – then don’t!
You’ll still be able to get good photos as you’re finding your feet underwater, most guides will be happy to take photos for you – most will charge but it’s better than taking home a memory card full of blue blur.
Taking the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty will accelerate your learning and a camera can be a useful tool to use on the course.
Just Be Patient
Over your first few dives without a camera you may miss a thing or two but it could prevent a lot of frustration, potential accidents and even save you money – it’s not unheard for divers to constantly upgrade the camera rig thinking that the camera is the problem.
So with a little patience you’ll soon be taking some great photos and showing off your images to friends and family, rather than forcing them to stare at blurry images of what could be anything….
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