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The Beautiful, Bubbly World of Underwater Photography Can Inspire Aquatic Design

Posted by on Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Dog fetching ball underwater

Dog fetching ball underwater — Image source: Huffpost.com

Today’s article is about the beauty of aquatic art, particularly underwater photography. I could talk about professional photographers and analyze their works, but instead I think I’ll just share with you a few of my favorite pictures while telling you a story.

A few years ago, my graduate school offered a group deal for whitewater rafting tickets. The cost was way down because more than 50 students signed up, so I gladly jumped on the opportunity by purchasing tickets for myself, my significant other, and my brother. None of us had never been whitewater rafting before, so this promised to be a real adventure.

Aquatic Photography

Aquatic Photography — Image source: Trendhunterstatic.com

Little did we know that the most important decision we made that day happened well before we even got onto the water. As part of the deal, my school offered a free bus ride to the students. We were a little bit torn on the subject — should we go on a crowded bus, or should we spend the gas to drive ourselves? After a bit of genuine deliberation, we eventually decided to drive ourselves. Sure, driving the two hours there and back again would be a real drag, but at least we’d have privacy and the ability to leave on our own schedule.

As it turned out, we unwittingly dodged a bullet.

Underwater camera

Underwater camera — Image source: Exposureguide.com

We drove out into the wilderness and up towering, foggy mountain to reach the whitewater rafting lodge. I gave the lady at the lodge our tickets, to which she responded, “Oh, you’re with the University?”

“Yeah. Why?” I responded.

“Well, we were expecting about 50 of you. Aren’t there more coming?”

I shrugged. “I guess. They’re taking a bus but we drove separately.”

“Oh, I see…” she said, a bit uncertain. She handed me a disposable waterproof camera.  “I suppose this is yours.”

“Why are you giving me a camera?”

“It’s part of the deal,” she explained. “When you order a certain number of tickets, we throw in a free camera. Since you’re the only person from the school who’s here, you get it.”

Underwater photography

Underwater photography — Image source: Trendhunterstatic.com

I took the camera and had every intention of handing it over to whoever was in charge of the busload of people scheduled to show up any minute now. But we waited, and waited, and waited… and they never showed up. There were several dozen rafters waiting as well, so eventually they had to just move on with the show.

We found out much later that the bus got lost and arrived three hours late. The students still got a chance to raft, but I’m going to guess that they weren’t a very happy bunch.

Underwater Kiss

Underwater Kiss — Image source: Doublemesh.com

In any event, we got paired up with four fellows from India in a seven-person raft. The first part of the journey was an absolute blast. My brother and I manned the front of the raft and we tackled every rapid the river threw at us (for those of you who aren’t familiar with rafting, the people at the front have the most control and get the wettest).

At the midpoint in our journey, however, everything changed. All of the rafts pulled off the river for a makeshift lunch (We had sandwiches. Our rafting instructor, a real health hut, suggested we go with the wheat bread when he memorably said, “The whiter the bread, the quicker you’re dead!”). When we piled back into our rafts, the Indian guys who had been in the back asked to be in the front. My brother took the command position in the very back of the raft (this person has the least physical control over the raft, so he serves as the captain who tells everyone else what to do).

Underwater model

Underwater model — Image source: Nettdna-cdn.com

It was a disaster! My brother (as much as I love him) was the world’s worst captain. Manning the front of the raft was a lot of work, and the guys up front (who were honestly a little bit lazy) quickly threw in the towel and only pretended to paddle. We got stuck on rocks every five minutes, we drifted away from the fastest rapids, and the mood quickly took a turn for the worst. We lagged behind so much that the instructor had to personally follow us around to help us get unstuck. It wasn’t long before the other rafters were so far ahead that we couldn’t even see them anymore.

Finally, enough was enough. I pushed my brother off of the command station and took the helm.

“Avast, ye landlubbers!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. “There’s been a mutiny! I’m the captain now, and if ye have a problem with it I’ll make ye walk the plank!”

I ordered my brother to the front of the raft and started barking out orders like a true sea dog. Inspired by my ridiculous pirate impersonation and a fueled by my brother’s strong back, we surged ahead and caught up to the other rafts.

Underwater in a dress

Underwater in a dress — Image source: Vetroave.com

“Ramming speed!” I bellowed the second we were close to another raft. My shipmates dutifully paddled ahead full speed. “Prepare to be boarded, you barnacle-sucking scum!”

The people on the second-to-last raft regarded us with a mix of shock and horror… up until the point that we crashed into them with the full speed of a whitewater river. We left some of them laughing, some of them enraged, and some of them genuinely confused. I honestly didn’t care. I was the pirate king of the seven seas and I never looked back!

By the end of the trip, we had passed four other rafts and had solidified our reputation as “The pirate raft.” And all throughout the whole journey, we had been snapping pictures with our cheap little disposable camera. The picture quality wasn’t particularly amazing and half of the pictures were marred by water droplets on the lense, but I can safely say that those are the best pictures I’ve ever taken. Aquatic art? Not quite… but to me they’re truly beautiful.

Fish Photography

Fish photography — Image source: Businessboomcollective.com


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