Primera-fotografía-submarina-que-se-conserva

The first underwater photography

Although not preserved, the first underwater photography was taken by the Englishman William Thompson in 1856. The camera used by Thompson consisted of a box with a glass front, attached to a tripod anchored to the seabed. It had a wooden shutter with a rope Thompson handled from the coast, where he built a darkroom with a tent. With a five-minute exposure Thompson got the first underwater photography, even though the water came in the box, getting a faint image of the seabed.

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Anyway, pioneering underwater photography it is considered the French Louis Boutan, to which belongs the first picture that we show. Boutan knew the underwater world firsthand, and was determined to get a method to photograph it. For this had the help of his brother August, an engineer who designed a system to adjust aperture and plates. This first design even allowed to control the buoyancy of the chamber using a balloon filled with air.

Cámara-de-Louis-Boutan

The first results were disappointing and they realized that it was necessary to design a flash to get good results. Electrical Engineer M. Chaffour helped them design a chamber that housed a magnesium ribbon. The chamber was filled with pure oxygen and magnesium ribbon was ignited by an electric current. Unfortunately the system did not work quite right because it produced a thick smoke that clouded the images, and in addition generated excessive heat.

flash-de-magnesio

Eventually managed to reduce the size of the camera and improve the flash chamber, so that made the whole set more manageable. They used electric lamps as a light source.

Louis-Boutan

With time and more improvements, Boutan became the pioneer of underwater photography, publishing a book in 1898 entitled La Photographie Sous-Marine with his images from which we leave you a small sample:

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