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Under the Sea
If snorkeling or diving are a part of your vacation, you'll be happy to know there are a number of easy-to-use and affordable underwater digital cameras on the market. Some cameras, including the Sealife DC600 ($444 on Amazon; www.sealife-cameras.com), let you take photos to depths of up to 200 feet and also double as terrestrial cameras. You can also adapt many normal digital cameras for underwater use with a protective housing (www.ikelite.com).
Whatever the camera, getting good results underwater requires attention to the nature of the environment. Even very clear water acts as a filter, absorbing both light and color (especially red light, which tends to make underwater shots look very blue if not corrected with filters or white balance). Colors will generally photograph naturally to a depth of about 10 feet, so if you're snorkeling you might not have to make any corrections. Beyond that depth, however, you will need to shoot at higher ISO settings to compensate for lost light and use special white balance settings (the Sealife camera uses special color-boosting white balance settings to enhance colors) to get well-balanced and saturated colors. In most cases, going beyond 10 to15 feet, flash is usually a necessity.
The real keys to success in underwater shooting are patience and practice. Fish and other sea creatures have busy agendas that don't include posing for you; if you find waiting for them frustrating, practice shooting stationary subjects like colorful anemones and corals. For shooting tips, product news, and reader contests related to underwater shooting, visit: www.wetpixel.com.Next: "Caves and Caverns"