Today I got back my photos from sorkeling in Moorea (an island 12 miles west of Tahiti). The snorkeling was fun. The photos were disappointing. In fact, there isn't a single one that I want to scan and post here. There didn't seem to be much point in posting a photo and saying "Those little yellow flecks are fish." Maybe it wasn't QUITE that bad, but close.
I used one of those plastic encased "single-use" underwater cameras, good to a depth of 33 feet, and loaded with 800 speed film. The camera did what it is designed to do. The problem may have had more to do with me. I have a long, long way to go before I am the next Norbert Wu or David Doubilet.
If I am going to take photos of yellow, white, silver, black, and striped fish darting in and out of their hiding places, I will need more experience, slower fish, less motion in the ocean, and maybe better equipment. Whenever I would get lined up on a fish, another swell would roll over me and roll me over. Or the fish would dart for cover.
The camera directions said not to photograph anything closer than 4 feet. At that distance, the fish looked pretty small. I decided this camera was better suited to shooting people in a swimming pool, or much larger fish than I was encounteering (between 2 and 12 inches long).
Anything decent sized and more that four feet away looked just fine.
I don't know when I will go snorkeling again, but if I do, I will probably get the same kind of camera. Why? I don't do enough underwater photography to get a more advanced camera with closeup gear and underwater flash. But then again, I remember when I thought my above water point and shoot was everything I needed. But then I acquired my first SLR and normal lens, followed by a tripod, wide angle lens, telephoto zoom, macro lens, macro ring flash, filters . . . . .
The photo above? I was underwater, but dry in an underwater viewing station, shooting through glass. The fish is out in the South Pacific.
And if you want to see great underwater photos, go here: