Before you Start

I want to ensure you get the very most out of reading this book so, before you start, give me a couple of minutes to emphasise a few things.

1. If you've read any of my other books you'll know they are of the 'jump in anywhere' variety but I wrote this one in the same particular order of how I teach underwater photography to others. By 'dipping in' here and there, you could miss out on things which every underwater photographer needs to know and master. The majority of theses topics are contained within the first four chapters so my suggestion is this — go to what interests you most and what you need to know, but at the same time consider working through the book in the order it's written. There's one other reason for encouraging you to start from the beginning — I've always placed an enormous amount of importance on understanding principles of photography, i.e. apertures shutter speeds and ISO, etc. For those of you who have yet to master this then now is a good opportunity. Developing an understanding of how they all inter-relate, will, I assure you, improve your underwater photography.

2. Chapter 3 on SLRs and housings is technically orientated. I make no apology for this, you need to know how your camera works but don't get bogged down with all the technique and theory, you can always return to it after the wide angle and macro chapters.

3. Avoid viewing the photographs in isolation. Every single shot can be scrutinised for tips and techniques from every section. For example, when you've read the chapter on lighting, flip through the pages and lookat other pictures in other chapters and identify their lighting characteristics. Use as many of the photo examples you can and examine them for other traits.

4. A word about compacts! The majority of tips and techniques outlined in this book can be undertaken with a compact camera. Whilst I recognise their limitations in regard to precise focusing, LCD clarity and digital noise performance, do not be disheartened. When a compact is used in conjunction with a few basic add-ons such as a wide angle adaptor and an external flashgun you can achieve images of a comparable quality. This book contains many underwater photographs, the majority of which were taken with an SLR, however, don't let that stop you pushing your compact and yourself to the limit. Think positive — 'My camera can and I will!'

5. I've disposed of the word 'digital' in front of the expression 'SLR camera' and 'compact camera'. The photo community cannot indefinitely continue to prefix every reference to a camera with the 'D' word. Should film ever make a comeback on the underwater photo front we can all use the term 'F' — 'film SLR'.

Martin Edge, 2010

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