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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Camera Dunking

A waterproof digital camera offers whole new possibilities for your photography

This Article Features Photo Zoom

camera dunking
Through the summer, I took the camera with me to other locations such as Mono Lake in California. Mono Lake gains a lot of attention for the unique tufa formations at certain parts of the lake. Because of controversial water agreements with Los Angeles, this lake’s water level has dropped a lot in the past century, revealing the tufas, which are formed from calcification from springs. Through the efforts of many people in the area and the Mono Lake Committee, the lake is finally being restored to previous water levels.

As I was photographing the tufas, I felt I had seen all of these pictures before. Then I remembered the little underwater camera and stuck it into the lake beside a tufa. Suddenly, I had totally new views of these rough-looking natural sculptures. Those images were fun to play with, and I got inspired to see these tufas anew.

I also was up in Yosemite National Park photographing with a friend, Chuck Summers. I had thought it might be interesting to take this camera into some of the streams there, but we never got down to the low levels where all the water was located. But coming back down the pass from Yosemite toward Lee Vining, we stopped to shoot flowers along the side of the road, and Chuck spotted tadpoles.

A little ditch had collected water dripping from the mountain rocks beside the road, and in that ditch were hundreds of tadpoles. I brought out the 1030 SW. Well, I tried, but those tadpoles were awfully skittish. I think if I had had time—and if I had been willing to lay down beside the road where people could have run over my feet—I might have patiently held the camera underwater while the tadpoles came back into position. That didn’t happen.

camera dunking
But I did notice that a lot of small moths had died and were floating on the surface of the water. Now that seemed like it had possibilities for a really different photograph. I put the camera in the water and pointed it up at the drowned insects. I started seeing some interesting things happening in the background with the trees and rocks above the water, so I took a series of pictures while gradually moving the camera until I got a picture I liked. This was totally blind shooting, but the great thing about digital is that you simply take the picture and check the LCD. You then make adjustments for the next picture until you get it right.

The point is that this was a lot of fun. It took me out of my regular way of shooting and made me see some new parts of the natural world. This sort of thing is such an easy way of capturing totally new images—way better than just buying a new lens.

Editor-At-Large Rob Sheppard’s photo information blog is located at www.photodigitary.com. His latest book is the New Epson Complete Guide to Digital Printing.

Shooting from beneath the surface of Mono Lake and in a pass near Lee Vining in California, Sheppard created a very different look of familiar landscapes.


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