Sunday 9 May 2010

Go fish

So, underwater cameras. A brilliant idea, in theory - although unnervingly unnatural in execution, taking what looks exactly like a regular camera and dunking it in sea-water. The advertising shows happy people in the water taking sparklingly clear shots of brightly-coloured fish flitting past fluorescent corals. Real life - and I apologise if this disillusions you - is somewhat less successful in my experience, hingeing as it does on two inadequacies, one mine and the other the camera's.

Mine first: poor eyesight caused by an unusual combination of inherited astigmatism and myopia ("Goodness! What an ill-matched pair!" my first optician said in astonishment) exacerbated by age-related visual deterioration. I did my best, getting fitted for disposable contact lenses that I could wear with a mask, and plumped for distance vision so that I could spot the fish in the first place, trusting to the camera to sort out the focus for me.

But I reckoned without the camera's own inadequacy: digital delay, so that the time lost in conveying the image to the screen and then, after clicking the shutter, to the memory card, is hopelessly out of sync with the speed of fish zipping through the water. (There was also the small matter that my long-distance eyes couldn't see clearly if I'd aimed the camera at the fish in the first place.)

So this is what happened when I met a pretty little wrasse in the lagoon at Lady Elliot Island:


Oh dear...




Gotcha! Ah, actually, no... Spit.

But it was lots of fun trying, the time just flew by, and I was - reluctantly - last out of the water.

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