A couple of weeks before a swimming holiday, I came up with the idea of buying an underwater camera. I had a photo in my mind. One of my kids swimming towards the camera underwater. That's all. I considered an underwater housing for my dslr, but for the one shot it didn't seem worth it. I also considered just buying a disposable underwater camera, but really didn't want to go that way.

After poking around on ebay I found a dedicated underwater camera - with exposure control and auto focus. And amazingly, although a couple of hundred pounds when new, and because it was film, and no one wants film cameras anymore, it cost me less than a disposable waterproof.

So I bought some nice film from 7dayshop, along with batteries, and wondered off into the pool, feeling real strange having a camera attached to me and walking straight into the water with it.

So we spent two evenings in the pool, with the kids swimming at me when they were in the mood, and I took about half a film. (this was film!) I wanted to make each shot count as this was costing me money now.

But then disaster! The camera started firing itself, and then something that looked very much like film emulsion seemed to float out of the back of the camera. Closer examination revealed that there seemed to be moisture inside.

So depression ensued. In fact I was so sad one of my friends bought a waterproof disposable and gave it to me, but at that point my heart wasn't in it, and I just took some snaps from then on.

Time passed.

Back at home I got the camera out again and decided that I was going to develop the film. I gave the camera to the kids and asked them to use up the remaining shots.

But where to get it developed? As there were pictures of kids swimming, I didn't want any face to face hassle at a mini lab, but I also wanted to get the film scanned at the same time, as I was going to want to manipulate any images if there were any. So in the end I decided on using truprint, a very well known mail order film processors. Ten years back you could find truprint envelopes everywhere, but now, not so much. After a search I contacted their customer services and got some 10 days later in the post.

So off it went. I wasn't expecting anything good from the film. I thought that it was probably ruined and may even cobble the minilabs machine. (I've done that before - but that's another story)

A week later I get a package back from truprint. It felt worryingly thin. I assumed my fears were well founded, and that the film was ruined, or even that they had refused to process the images... But when I opened the packet I discovered that they had returned the unprocessed film and my cheque. The reason? It was slide film! And these guys don't develop slide film. Doh!

It's been so long since I ordered any film that I must have bought slide when I selected it without realising. So with my tail between my legs I set off looking for an E6 processor who would scan at the same time. Finally I realised that my quality mail-order printing house - DS Colour Labs did e6 processing as well, so trusted my film to them.

So 10 days later here I am. DS Colour Labs developed and printed the slide film without complaint, and all if the roll seemed to be fine, so whatever 'floated' out of the film in the pool must have been circumstantial.

I would say that there were 3 frames that I was happy with from the film, which works out at about £10 per frame!

Here's the result: What do you think?

10-May-2010 Add comment

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Matthew Norman...

... who lives in the UK, who is not an actor, not a clock manufacturer, did not write a rough guide to cuba and also has never written for the Telegraph. I have written books on coldfusion and web databases.

(c) somewhere in space and time: M.Norman