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Finding the Proper Focal Distance for Sharp Underwater Photographs

Marc Morale

Guiding Hamilton Construction, Inc. in Chicago, Marc Morale oversees a full range of sewer and reclamation projects. Passionate about travel, Marc Morale particularly enjoys taking in coastal locales and is a certified scuba diver instructor and experienced underwater photographer.

One of the essentials of taking good photos underwater is getting the distance right. With most point and shoot cameras on land and with good lighting, the optimal focal distance extends eight feet. When used with an underwater housing, the same camera’s sharp focal distance is much less. For a clear shot, it is imperative to keep the subject of the shot within about four feet.
Test out the distance underwater with a dive buddy, with each person extending the arm out until the hands meet in the middle. This length should generate a picture in which your buddy is still in focus.
As distances become fluid in cases of frequently photographing moving marine life, it makes sense to invest in a digital camera with a sharp focus indicator. This will involve pressing the shutter button halfway, such that a green lights appears when the subject is in focus.

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