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The history of underwater photography

Underwater photography – film and photography of various objects located under water. Such shooting is carried out with the help of a special waterproof technique or a conventional photo or movie camera, which is placed in a waterproof case.

Creation of the first underwater camera
The founder of the underwater photography was the French scientist Louis Bhutan. At the end of the XIX century, in his laboratory, he created the first camera for filming under water. As the basis of the device was used the popular device “Detective”. The scientist put it in a voluminous waterproof copper case in which 3 glazed holes were made: 2 for the viewfinder and 1 for the lens.

So that the design could withstand the underwater pressure. Butane attached a rubber balloon to the camera housing, which supplied air to the chamber as the pressure increased. This contributed to the normalization of pressure in the camera.

Outside, a small lever was installed on the case, which is necessary for winding the flap and changing plates. When turning the lever in one direction, the flap opened, in the other – it closed.

At the same time, an exposed plate fell out and made room for another. So, a photographer who worked underwater could get up to 6 photographs on 9×12 plates, while he did not need to go to the surface to recharge. This lever was the only management tool.

First shots at depth
In 1893, Bhutan, using a spacesuit, first performed underwater pictures of a Mediterranean crab.

A year later, the scientist conducted a test of a new camera. The equipment was heavy, so he attached it to small kegs, acting as floats. It photographed well, but the image did not have the necessary clarity. This was due to the fact that the movement of the valve caused fluctuations in water, and the optical system of the lenses was focused on photographing in air.

The next scientist, who appreciated the possibilities of automatic shooting at depth, was G. Hartman, who lived in Monaco. In the early twentieth century, he created an automated installation, weighing 1,700 kg. It was installed intensive sources of illumination and stabilizing engines. In one dive, the device could capture up to 6000 images.

In the twenties of the last century, National Geographic first published underwater photos. They were performed in the Caribbean by photographer Charles Martin and ichthyology specialist William Longley. For work, they used a specially designed boat, and as a backlight they used magnesium flashes.

Further development of underwater photography
In the late 40s. For this type of photographs, small-sized devices were used. The complexity of the process was the use of flashlights, which had to be constantly changed.

A significant event for the subsequent formation of underwater photography was the use of an electron-pulse gas-discharge flash lamp, invented by Harold Edgerton. This small device with a strong stream of light was first used in underwater photography by engineer Dmitry Rebikov.

The small size, the possibility of fast charging, a small light pulse are the main advantages of the electron-pulse flash, which has become indispensable for photography at depth, in opaque water, and for illuminating fast moving objects. Pulsed photolight – was regularly used by photographers who used color film.

In the mid-50s. last century, the Institute of Oceanology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR developed an apparatus that allowed photographs to be taken at a depth of up to 4000 meters. The next step was the invention of the scientist N. L. Zenkevich device, which could shoot at any depth of the ocean.

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