So What Should You Capture With Your Underwater Video Camera?
Let’s face it: underwater photography is tricky! If you’ve ever taken photos with an underwater digital camera before, you already know how disappointing the results can sometimes be once you’re back on dry land. All those brilliant corals, anemones and schools of fish end up looking washed out. And the giant sea turtle that swam by? Well, he’s just a big gray blur in your picture. So, what gives?
Even if you’re a great amateur photographer on dry land, taking photos underwater is an entirely different ball game. The deeper you dive, the less natural light you have to work with, which is why your photos may look washed out and colorless. While our brains automatically add back colors that are lost as we dive deeper, a camera can’t do this. Consequently those brilliant reds, oranges and yellows won’t appear in your pictures unless you’ve got an alternative light source, like a strobe flash. If you’re diving without a professional waterproof camera and strobe light set, you’ll need a longer exposure in order to capture the limited available light. This is why your images can appear blurry. Not ready to invest in an expensive professional underwater video camera? All is not lost!
Since colored light gets filtered out the deeper you dive, sticking to shallower dive sites can significantly improve the quality of your images. The Polaroid CUBE+ is a great diving camera that’s safe for dives down to 33 feet. Take it along on your next snorkeling or shallow diving trip and practice these pro tips for underwater photography:
- 1. Get close to your subject. Water refracts light differently than air does, which mean objects underwater appear about 25% closer than they truly are and about 33% larger. Let’s say you’re photographing a school of anemone about 10 feet away. Those fish are going to look much bigger to you than they will in your photo! Whenever possible, swim in closer to your subject. You never want to touch or otherwise disturb the underwater environment when taking a photo, so be careful that your fins and tank don’t accidentally scrape the coral!
- 2. Dive midday for best lighting conditions. The brightest underwater conditions occur on a sunny day between 10am and 2pm. Surface chop matters, too. A choppy surface will reflect more light than calmer waters, which means less light will penetrate under the water for your photographs. If you’re diving on a partly cloudy day, stay closer to the surface to maximize your light.
- 3. Stay shallow to avoid color loss. The deeper you go, the more colors you lose. At just 15 feet down, you’ll start to lose red from your photographs. Unless you plan on using a strobe beam, stick closer to the surface. The fish and coral will naturally look more brilliant and you’ll save yourself from doing a lot of post-dive trip photo editing in Photoshop!
- 4. Switch to video for moving objects. When photographing underwater, you’ll need a slower shutter speed to maximize exposure time. For this reason, moving objects – like a sea turtle or school of fish – often appear blurry. Choose a camera like the Polaroid CUBE+ so you can switch effortlessly between photographs and underwater videos to capture all the action as it unfolds.