Underwater Photography - Just a Hobby or is There a Serious Side?
When we think of underwater cameras and photography, we think of capturing what we see while snorkeling and diving; we think about the pictures we'll take and share. We practice taking better and better pictures; it's a hobby and we love it. Or we share them with people not lucky enough to have seen the beauty of what lies beneath the seas and oceans. The fish whose colors we've only seen in saltwater tanks. We think about good things; vacations and relaxation, adventure and exotic creatures.
But there are other uses for underwater cameras that don't paint such a pleasant picture. Unfortunately, I was reminded of this recently when two young children disappeared after wandering off. Their home was by a river. I'm sure they'd been told of the dangers of the water, to not go near it without an adult. But the draw may have been too much. The river was running high as there had been recent storms.
Search and rescue operations use underwater photography to search for drowning victims as well as missing objects. Of course, the recovery of drowning victims as quickly as possible to bring closure to families suffering from the loss of a loved one is the primary purpose. These searches typically have been done using divers and water-trained dogs. However; underwater searches can be very treacherous to the divers, and are time consuming. Another problem being that many times it is unknown where the victim was last seen, broadening the search to a vast area, often to hundreds of acres.
Underwater cameras enable law enforcement to see water crime scenes in areas too dangerous for divers, and without disturbing the site. Investigations with video tapes may be used to determine whether or not there actually is an underwater crime scene. Rather than send divers in to dangerous waters, cameras can be used to search in polluted and hazmat areas. There are underwater cameras designed to search at depths of up to 120 feet in most water conditions. Infra-red systems allow for searches in low light situations.
Amazingly, divers have used video photography to locate objects that have been missing for several years or more. A missing persons' case was solved after 72 years when a couple's car was found, putting to rest what had happened to them, and bringing closure to their family. Not to mention the unfortunate rumors that they had left their children voluntarily.
Besides simple pleasure and law enforcement, underwater photography is used in many other ways. Marine biologists can locate fish and living marine animals to study their habitats. On a boat, cameras can check the anchor and hull and look for items that have fallen overboard. Pools can be monitored. Swimmers can be filmed under water to evaluate their swimming and diving techniques.
In sport fishing, underwater photography is used to identify actual fish from underwater debris, decreasing fishing time. You can check what type of fish is in your location; see that your lure doesn't become entangled in weeds; check the hull; and check crab or lobster pots without getting wet. The cameras can even be used for ice fishing.
Not only are these remarkable cameras and their technology an exciting hobby, they have numerous other valuable applications.
Sandra Faist September 10, 2006 ? September, 2006
The author was in the insurance and medical industries for 20 years, the last 16 with the same medical practice. Now she is working from home building her internet business and writing articles. One of the best benefits of working from home is being there for her two daughters