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Shooting Challenge: The Subaquatic

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It's easy to forget that a whole other world lives underwater, out of view. For this week's Shooting Challenge, you'll capture an image below the water's it pool, pond, lake, ocean or bathtub.

The Challenge

Capture a photo under water. But wait, you don't have an waterproof camera? Read on.


The Technique

First things first: keep in mind, there's no shame in buying a cheap, waterproof disposable for this challenge. In fact, it's encouraged. You'll be shooting film, which you probably don't do often, and you won't be worried about soaking a grand+ in camera equipment.


That said, there are ways to keep a camera dry while photographing under water.

Of course you can spend money for waterproof housing for point and shoots and SLRS, or you can trust yourself to build something cheaper on your own. You can even create a periscope using a vintage camera attached to your SLR. Honestly, that sounds like the most fun, and it puts your camera at far less risk. (Then again, any toy periscope might be hacked to work, too - or even a jug if you read what our lead photographer did below.)

You can be like a Navy Seal and wrap a condom around a small camera sealed with wetsuit glue—full instructions here. Or you can go the Ziploc route...maybe that should be the double Ziploc route with a packet of silica gel dropped inside. Obviously you'll lose quality shooting through plastic, but in the era of Instagram, let's not pretend we need care so much.

The Example

Not only is this lead photo by flickr's emples just wonderful, it was captured by sticking the lens of a camera into a big plastic jug, submerging the jug in the water and keeping the camera just a few tenuous inches above the surface.


The Rules

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced (read more on that above).
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.


Send your best photo by Monday, August 29th at 8AM Eastern to with "Underwater" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameUnderwater.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameUnderwaterWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

Mark Wilson is the founder of Philanthroper, a daily deal site for nonprofits.