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Since the development of the Aqualung by Jacques Cousteau and Emil Gagnan in 1943 we have been able to stay underwater safely and comfortably for extended periods of time This amazing technological breakthrough allows us to discover explore and photograph the wonders of the underwater world It was one of the first challenges underwater pioneers such as Cousteau faced was capturing the beauty and mystique of this foreign world on film in order to share it with those unable to see it for themselves This challenge has been answered over the past fifty years in both still and motion pictures Today television and cable audiences can frequently find a documentary or special about an aspect of the underwater world What makes the underwater world so intriguing and appealing to photographers First it truly is another world - a world of motion and tranquillity Like outer space it offers photographers a sense of adventure the thrill of discovery and the promise of excitement The underwater world also appeals to photographers because its natural state seems so foreign to ours In part this reflects tremendous differences between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems Land environments are dominated by plant life while the underwater environments are dominated by animal species When we describe land environments we refer to grasslands redwood forests and oak tree groves When we describe underwater environments we refer to coral reefs oyster flats and mussel beds In addition the animals photographers encounter underwater often have unusual if not bizarre shapes and colors that provide a never-ending supply of photographic subjects Land objects which take on an entirely different nature and sometimes increase in value when submerged can be excellent foreign underwater photography objects Objects such as doorknobs old nails and bottles are usually termed junk but they are considered treasures after resting at the bottom of a body of water for a decade or two The broken hull of a lifeless ship sixty feet
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