Symptoms to watch for

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Posted by Elaine on August 19, 2005 at 10:54:16:

In Reply to: well I did it ! posted by Josh.C on August 18, 2005 at 23:25:34:

I posted this once before a few years ago. The author is unknown. It circulated on an underwater photography list for a few years.

The question of why we do it is an intriguing one. The “phases” mentioned also made me think. For those who read this list solely for practical information, please hit the delete button now. The following are what I see to be the phases of underwater photography:

PHASE I: The would-be photographer is a successful person with the means to pursue diving. Unable to properly convey the wonders of the underwater world to his/her many non-diving friends, the neophyte buys an inexpensive camera.

PHASE 2: The would-be photographer exposes the first rolls of film. All photos are grossly overexposed, but some fish can be identified within the backscatter. These photos are shown with pride to non-diving friends.

PHASE 3: Due to the ambivalent reaction of friends to the first photos, the would-be photographer decides to upgrade the photographic equipment, certain that higher quality photos will follow. After several more unsuccessful rolls of film through the new gear, the neophyte is frustrated to the point of pursuing instruction in underwater photography. The shooter has graduated from “neophyte” to “enthusiast”.

PHASE 4: More educated in the gear owned and exposed to all sorts of equipment not yet owned, the enthusiast begins to get well exposed, well composed photos of common subjects. These photos are shown with much enthusiasm to friends.

PHASE 5: Due to the ambivalent reaction of friends to the new photos, the enthusiast buys yet more gear to better portray the beauty that he/she sees underwater. The shooter is on the cusp of graduating from “enthusiast” to “victim”.

PHASE 6: Having established a reputation as a tunnel-visioned fanatic, the shooter manages to sell a photo to a local ad agency or magazine or sell footage to a local news station.

PHASE 7: The shooter is now a full-blown victim, spending all available funds and time pursuing elusive creatures in odd corners of the world. The victim’s home is wallpapered with prints of underwater snails and fish eyes. The few remaining friends giggle behind his/her back. Travel and diving have become mere tools to the great quest of capturing more and better images.

PHASE 8: Convinced that he/she can “make it pay”, the victim quits the lucrative job that enabled him/her to pursue the absurd quest in the first place. The victim moves into a tent on an island that nobody can pronounce, much less locate on a map.

PHASE 9: The victim moves back home in an attempt to better market the photos. Former friends wonder “what ever happened to ____________?

PHASE 10: Unable to find a suitable network at home, the victim stumbles across this list, where strobe bulkheads, critical focus, and circles of confusion are unabashedly discussed. If you are reading this, you have somehow reached Phase 10. If you e-mail me off the list, I’ll let your spouse know where you are so he/she can come get you.

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