An Underwater Photo System

In the early 80's in California, I was taken with the idea of underwater photography.  I had dived several times in Monterey Bay on the Carmel side and decided that the Whaler's Cove in Point Lobos State Park was the ideal place to observe and photograph the marine life under the surface.  Since much of the most colorful life is very small, and my budget was the same, I needed to find a way to take lots of pictures close-up and also avoid developing costs.

I read lots of books on underwater photography and discovered that one could use a diopter arrangement added to a Nikonos lens to take close-up photos.  The idea is to attach a diopter after submerging and flood it to avoid air bubbles or distortion.  Since the distance to the subject is critical and the water causes subjects to appear closer and larger than they are, I devised a rod made from an auto radio antenna.  This rod was telescoping and was marked for each diopter used to properly focus the subject.

To solve the problem of the cost of developing, I used only Ektachrome film which created slides instead of prints and could be developed easily in the kitchen.  The process was called E-6 and was innovative in 1978 but has since been superceded by newer developing technology, equipment, and processes.

I took over 3000 slides in the Whaler's Cove of Point Lobos State Park in the course of several years there.  My close-up process and developing process was presented in a workshop at the International Conference of Underwater Education 1981 and 1982.

I have put together a set of the best 60 slides taken in Carmel, Virgin Islands, New England, California, and Hawaii using the methods described above and still enjoy looking at them from time to time.