Photo/Video Techniques for Cold, Dark Waters
of the first questions asked of cold-water photographers and videographers
who dive in the Northeastern US, Pacific Northwest or Great Lakes
is, "Are you crazy?" Generally followed by, "Isn't
the water polluted?" Or the generic, "What is there
to see down there anyway?"
As the photographer prepares to defend his or her sport, visions of beautiful wide-angle shots with brilliant green (yes, green) water columns begin to emerge. And those fool proof macro or close-up photos of invertebrates such as the delicate anemone that you could barely see come to mind.
Turbid water in the Northeastern United States, Pacific Northwest,
The Great Lakes and other cold fresh water bodies are generally
caused by suspended particles in the water, reducing sunlight
penetration, yielding "dark" water at any given depth.
In the ocean, the tiny matter is usually blooms of tiny microscopic
plankton, making the Northeast and Northwest's waters among the
most fertile in the entire world. The Great Lakes particles are
in the form of sediments naturally found in almost every fresh
water lake and pond. These sediments are very fine and are easily
churned-up by passing storms or watercraft.
The cold/turbid-water photographer does not have to be innoculated
from third-world diseases to enjoy their sport. But they do need
to have a good working knowledge of bouyancy control, the camera,
lighting, how to approach marine life and how to use what available
light there is to best advantage.
is also suggested that photographers brush up on proper preventative
maintenance of all their underwater cameras and accessories. The
slightest bit of neglect or the tiniest sand or silt particle
can ruin a well-planned photo dive trip in an already harsh cold-
water environment by flooding. Take the time to care for your
equipment, and in time, it will take care of you in the form of
beautiful photographs ad video.
first rule in cold-water photography, as with other forms, is
proper bouyancy control. Without good basic bouyancy control in
waters with less-than- Carribean clarity, a photogenic dive site
can be clouded up beyond recognition in one "plop" to
the ocean floor.