Underwater Photography – Dawn & Daisy Dog


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I really enjoy underwater photography – but its something that is incredibly difficult to consistently do well.

With that in mind, I thought I’d try some “training” at the rocky beach in front of our cottage on Georgian Bay.

Underwater Woman Swimming

Underwater Woman Swimming

Woman Swimming

Woman Swimming - Freestyle

These photographs were taken from the bottom of the lake, about 25 to 30 feet down.  I had Dawn wait a few seconds, then swim overhead.  The exercise here was to simply swim down to the bottom, find my subject in the viewfinder and shoot a few well composed frames before returning to the surface (without running out of air and drowning of course).  I’m shooting with my old Nikon D200 in program auto in a EWA Marine underwater camera housing.  I find that with the EWA Marine lead weight and by sucking all the air out of the housing, the camera sinks pretty well.  The technique that I find works best is to swim hard about three quarters of the way down, then get into a vertical position, look up, compose the shot while gently sinking the rest of the way to the bottom, focus and capture a few frames.  At this point, I’m pretty much out of air, so I need to be on bottom to push off and swim back to the surface.  Its pretty rare for me to need to swim that far down, but its good practice for the more usual 8 to 10 feet.

Big Swimming Dog

Daisy - Swimming Bernese Mountain Dog

Swimming Dog

Daisy - Swimming Bernese Mountain Dog - Up Close

The next couple underwater photographs are of our big ol’ Bernese Mountain Dog Daisy (she never liked the water – but seems to have decided to take up swimming in her old age).  With Daisy, I was practicing tracking her while looking through the viewfinder underwater, controlling the focus and creating a decent composition.  Its really hard to see through the viewfinder underwater, but I find that its important not to bail and shoot from the hip (which usually just results in a bunch of out of focus images of with no subject).

Kids on Raft
Kids on Raft – Shark’s Eye View

I would like to have created some underwater photography of the kids swimming too.  However, the water was a bit cold for them, so they spent most of their time sitting up on their little raft.


John-Paul Danko

blurMEDIA Photography

Underwater Portrait Photographer


905 818 5711




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JP Danko


JP Danko is an active lifestyle photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand.


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