Dive Photography – Or Is It?

100326035 Fish

Underwater photography provides a view of the world that most people don’t ever get to see. It’s expensive. You need to buy a lot of gear, take diving lessons, get certified, buy more equipment, buy camera equipment, pay for airfare, pay for a dive boat and much more. You get the picture (sorry).

On the other hand, imagine all the time I must have spent traveling and diving just to photograph. The exotic places, the fascinating people, the beautifully colored fish. Imagine the incredible investment I’ve obviously made to dive and photograph in beautiful, warm, tropical and exotic places. Well, guess what… I made this image just 40 miles from my home. Instead of diving, I simply go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA to do my underwater photography.

First of all, I need to provide a plug for the Aquarium. I’m a member of the Aquarium and they are a significant beneficiary of my estate when I go to the great darkroom in the sky. I encourage you to visit. The work that they do to provide educational programs for children and adults is extremely important in helping to protect the oceans and the exhibits are among the best I’ve seen at any aquarium in the United States.

The best way to photograph at the aquarium is to arrive when it opens in order to avoid school groups and other visitors. You may not be able to use a tripod so use a monopod instead. Set your ISO at 800-1000 and don’t use a flash. It’s prohibited in many exhibits and, in any case, it will reflect off the glass right into your lens.

Now you know how to be an underwater photographer.  All you need to do is visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It’s worth the trip and it’s a lot less expensive than going to the Coral Sea.

One last thing: my friend and colleague Vic Smith recently began his own blog at Vic Smith Photo.  Please visit his  site.