As a former dive instructor one of
the things that surprised me most was watching first-time underwater
photographers in the water. On several occasions I saw
photographers so intent on chasing down fish in the viewer that
they literally crashed headlong into a coral reef or another
I discovered to my dismay that
underwater photographers weren't necessarily skilled divers who
took up an interest in photography: they were novices distracted
by technology that made them
oblivious to the environment and dangerous to those around them.
Which brings me to the first point
in Basic Underwater Photography:
1. Master your dive skills before
practicing your photo interest.
SCUBA is a life-support system, and requires practice and
concentration. An inattentive diver is not only dangerous
to himself, but everyone around him. This factor cannot be
A novice diver needs to master the
basics skills of steady breathing, neutral buoyancy, safety
awareness and decompression tables, so that they all become an
automatic reflex. Once that occurs, the diver will be able to
concentrate on such photo factors as exposure, focusing and composition.
In addition to the obvious safety
factor, there is another appreciable benefit to being completely
at ease in a SCUBA environment: clumsy divers make poor
photographers. Here's why...