This is ONE OF 2 responses to volume 3, Larry Card Number 4 ("Underwater Pics")...
Larry and Diane,
Glad to hear that there are more than Paul and myself who mad and enjoy diving and underwater Photography.
Underwater photography is by definition and practice completely different than dry photography. No pun intended.
Because you are dealing with light that is traveling through water you must first understand the optical properties of water and how they affect light. In short, water acts like a filter. The deper you go the more light is absorbed.
This does not occur at random, but in a predictable manner. The red end of the spectrum is absorbed preferentialy over the blue the deeper you go. This would be evident in any non flash pictures, they would become more and more blue the deper you took them.
This is the primary reason you need to use a artificial light when photographing underwater. Although your brain tells you that you see reds at 60 feet, it is in actuality compensating for the filtration efect of the water. The film will give you a more actual portrait of the visible colors.
I am rambling. To get back to your question. You will probably spend between 4 and 5 hundred to get a desent Nikonos system (camera, one lense, and strobe). That is not new but used. I bought my first through the newspaper. This time of year you should be able to find some real deals in your area of CA.
A good book to start with is Howard Hall's "Successful Underwater Photography."
Unfortunately there really is not alot of good diving in Texas, so I have gone through a bit of a dry spell. That is what you get when one is spoiled to salt water.
You will find that underwater photography is an art unto itself, and requires alot of work and dedication.
If you have any questions or plan to be in the area, please give me a call.
Be careful, because underwater photography is very addictive, and can lead to extensive travel.