Take Pictures and Leave only Bubbles
Underwater Photography. Take only Pictures and Leave only Bubbles?
Take only Pictures and Leave only Bubbles has been a popular slogan in underwater photography for years. This is a simple principal that is taught in most underwater photography texts and courses. It simply means respect the environment! In the past this rule has been widely respected. There have always been the accidental touches of the reef during a moment of excitement as a photographer is in pursuit of the ultimate underwater image. However, there should be a sense of respect and awe for the creatures and the environment that we encounter when we immerse ourselves in the Big Blue. The environment should never be sacrificed for a photograph. In other words neutral buoyancy and awareness of your body and your equipment is very important. In fact, these skills should be learned long before a diver puts a camera in their hands. Without good buoyancy and self control a diver can damage the environment severely, and will not really capture images of any reasonable quality.
Recently, my wife and I lead a group to Bonaire, which is a wonderful Island with a very healthy reef system. We are avid photographers. We love nature above and below the surface. The behavior we witnessed from other divers while underwater was appalling. A large number of the divers had cameras in there hands and were striking the reef and even laying on coral while photographing. One offender was an instructor! In some cases I am sure it is a lack of education, but a large amount of this behavior is I believe attributed to overexcitement and lack of solid diving skills.
If you are a diver, and you would like to photograph the underwater world, please seek out good training. Your Open Water Instructor should emphasize good buoyancy and environmental awareness right from the beginning of your training. Furthermore, your instructor should spend the time with you to help you achieve good buoyancy control. Before you put a camera in your hands, it would be wise to log 50 dives or more. This will give you time to learn about the underwater environment and the creatures that you want to film. Next you want to seek out an experienced photography instructor and talk about the type of images you want to record and figure out what camera system makes the most sense for you personally. Then sign up for an Underwater Photography Course, and be sure to spend time in the water during your course. Neutral buoyancy with camera in hand is important. Your instructor should also spend time on proximity to subject, and learning when to abort the shot. If you cannot approach a subject, photograph it, and leave without damaging your subject, then you should forget about it.
The Ocean has been my life long passion, as it has been for many others. Our lives depend on the health of the Ocean. It is every diver’s responsibility to be a good ambassador. Underwater Photographers should share their images with others to educate, inspire, and encourage conservation.
Dive and Photograph Responsibly,