Snorkeling Photography - What is white balance

The relative amount (balance) of blue versus green versus yellow light in the water

Your camera must deal with white balance!!!

If we do our photography snorkeling mainly at depths of no more than say five metres, then there is so much ambient (natural) light that we can't ignore it.

Up shallow, there is too much to cut out to rely on a strobe or flash as the dominant light source (as scuba divers often can).

As light passes through water it filters out/ removes red colours first.   Even at our shallow snorkeling diving depths the red is missing.
Then as we go deeper it takes out the orange and way down, finally the blue goes.   This means that even at relatively modest snorkeling depths, everything has a blue tinge.


What happen's if we ignore 'white balance'?
All four photos below are straight out of their respective cameras, with absolutely no photo editing at all.   None are great shots.
But, both 'pairs' were shot at the same time of day, so were under similar lighting conditions.

Clearly no flash was required.

Simple compact with only 'auto' white balance
unedited photo of bannerfish from simple compact camera unedited photo of bannerfish from simple compact camera
High end compact with 'underwater' white balance
unedited photo of bannerfish from simple compact camera unedited photo of bannerfish from simple compact camera

Hopefully the above show that it is a false saving to spend loads on a tropical holiday and try to save a hundred or two on a less-than-good, camera and underwater housing.

The comparative photos show that output from a high end compact requires very little colour balance photo editing afterwards.

Which camera for snorkeling
P3 of 11- Next -
Trying to sort white balance with photo-editing