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How to Take Great Outdoor Photos with Amanda Ray

Underwater Photography and Four Cameras for Outdoorsmen

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Summer is here, and for many families that means fun – sunny trips to the beach, long weekends at the lake and lazy days of fishing. Thanks to digital cameras, anybody can capture these treasured moments in literally hundreds of snapshots. However, quantity isn’t quality. This week, Dave Morris of Birmingham, Alabama, an outdoor photographer for over 30 years and Brad Dale of Wolf Camera in Hoover, Ala., who’s been in the photo business for 25 years, will tell us how to make the most of a point-and-shoot digital camera in the outdoors.

Underwater Photography:
If you snorkel, scuba dive or spend time on a lake with very-clear water, consider taking some underwater photos. You have two options: use an underwater camera or underwater housing for your current camera. Dale says, “Having an underwater camera rather than a regular camera in aClick to enlargen underwater housing is better. An underwater camera has different modes to help you shoot better underwater photos.” He recommends the Olympus Stylus 850 SW ($300) and the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW ($400) (

Morris advises, “If you decide to purchase housing, test it to see how hard taking the camera in and out of it is. If you have a difficult time, getting a good seal is hard. If your housing isn’t properly sealed, then water can leak in and ruin your camera.” Because of the dim light underwater, you’ll end up with grainier images, so using a high-mega-pixel camera and a flash definitely will improve your underwater photos.

Dale explains, “You won’t get clear far-away pictures underwater. You’ve got to be patient and go to where the fish is. Don’t be afraid to let the fish get close to you.” Click to enlarge

Four Good Point-and-Shoot Cameras for Outdoorsmen:
*Olympus Stylus 850 SW ($300). Dale says, “This is my very-favorite point-and-shoot camera for the outdoors. It’s waterproof to 10 feet and shock proof to 6 feet. You can drop this camera on a rock, pick it up, take a picture of the rock and keep going. It’s a great camera for water-skiers, snow-skiers, hikers and campers. I’ve also sold many of these cameras to military personnel being deployed overseas.” 4x optical zoom and 8 mega pixels.

* Nikon Coolpix S550 ($230) – “I chose this camera for the good optical zoom and high mega pixels,” Dale explains. 5x optical zoom and 10 mega pixels.

* Olympus FE-350 ($199) – According to Dale, “This is a quality camera for a low price.” 4x optical zoom and 8 mega pixels. Click to enlarge

* Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4 ($300) – “This camera is a bit bigger than the other three models, but the larger size gives you room for more and better features,” Dale reports. 10x optical zoom and 8 mega pixels.

Buy Some Confidence:
Dale says, “I strongly recommend purchasing damage-protection for your camera. Wolf Camera’s plans cover everything except theft or fire. If you get rained-on, and your camera fritzes out, bring it back, and we fix it – no questions asked. If you have a good protection plan, you’ll worry less about your camera’s safety and more about taking good pictures. I had a guy come in to the store with several hundred pictures he’d taken in the Bahamas with a point-and-shoot camera. They were absolutely incredible. He said, ‘I wouldn’t have half of these pictures if I hadn’t had the damage protection plan. I wasn’t paralyzed with concern for my camera.’”

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Take Great Outdoor Photos with Amanda Ray"

Day 1: Advantages of Digital – Take Lots of Photos and Try All of the Buttons
Day 2: Plan Your Photos
Day 3: Understand Light and Take Advantage of It
Day 4: Use Your Feet and Getting Good Prints
Day 5: Donavan Lakes and Triple D Ranch


Entry 460, Day 5