Underwater photography: how light changes perception

Science of Light: How it Affects Underwater Photography

As you observe objects beneath water – and especially deeper water – your perception of their colors changes. Individual colors vanish as the depth of water increases in this way:

•  Red fades first
•  Orange is next to fade
•  Colors that can penetrate the most are yellow,  green and blue, with ultraviolet being on the far end of the visibility spectrum

Water absorbs warmer colors with their longer wavelengths, such as red and orange, while scattering the cooler colors that have shorter wavelengths. As you travel further underwater, red looks less red, for example, because there is less red light available to reflect back to your eye.

Here is a video that demonstrates how the perception of the color of a red tomato changes underwater. The underwater photography took place at 29.5m depth and no red filter was used.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shares another way to observe this phenomenon. If you cover a flashlight with a blue filter and look at a red object in a dark room, the red appears to disappear against the black background.

When you observe through deeper water, another phenomenon occurs: reduction in intensity. For every 75 meters that you descend, visible light decreases in intensity ten times, meaning that light is only 10 percent as bright as at the surface. At 150 meters, it is only 1 percent as bright as the surface.

Underwater Cameras and Submersible Video Cameras

There is a life of adventure waiting for you in the waters of the ocean! You will literally see the world in a brand new way.

If you will be doing your own underwater observations, contact us and ask about our underwater video camera. We believe that all moments spent exploring marine life are worth capturing. This belief, along with our passion and dedication to marine life, has led us to create our high quality SplashCam underwater cameras and underwater video products. Since 1988, our goal has been to give you the opportunity to document your underwater experiences and gather invaluable HD underwater footage.

Contact us online to find out the best underwater video camera for your needs. Or call us at 1-800-355- 4234 or email sales@oceansystemsinc.com

If you’re new to marine exploration, consider renting an underwater video camera.