FIG. 1.40

Put on your mask, hold your camera in front of you and submerge. You will notice that, underwater, your camera appears larger and closer to you than it really is. This effect is called refraction and is the difference between the behaviour of light rays in air and water. Place a pencil in a glass of water and you will see it bend at the join between the air and water. The measurement of this 'bending' of light as it enters a medium (i.e. water) from another of different density (air) is known as the index of refraction. The refractive index of water is one and a third (133%) more than that of air, which is why objects viewed underwater appear to be one-third bigger than their actual size. This not only fools the eye of the photographer, it also fools the camera lens!

For further in-depth reading directly related to water and light in underwater photography I recommend the website:

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