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23 Jun

Under The Sea, An Instagram Love Story

So the other week I went to SeaWorld, and they were all, like, bring a bathing suit, which was, on the one hand, terrifying, but on the other, intriguing (swimwear at SeaWorld could mean… swimming at SeaWorld! With, like, their creatures!) It also raised the very important of issue of how, if there were going to be water activities, one would digitally record those activities. After all, as we all know: pictures or it didn’t happen.

You can buy waterproof digital cameras, of course, but those can be pricey, and also, how often are you really taking pictures in water? And it’s not really an option to bring your phone camera into the water – I’ve tried this, and it’s scary – so what are you going to do?

You’re going to buy an old-school disposable waterproof film camera, that’s what. And then you’re going to take in the water with you while you swim with Manta Rays. I know, right? CRAZY. Who uses film any more?

Of course, once you’re done taking pictures you can’t just upload them to your computer (to say nothing of not being able to tweet or post them to Facebook immediately), which is a drag, sure, but still: there’s something kind of retro-thrilling about taking the cameras in to a camera shop and paying the extra five bucks for same-day service (same-day! WOO HOO!) and then waiting anxiously for 5:15 when they’re done and then getting those little packets of real pictures! On actual photo paper and stuff! With NEGATIVES!

Then all you have to do is figure out how to make them digital.

I’ve been told that there are film processing places that will do this for you, but none of those places are anywhere near me, and I wanted those photos, like, yesterday. There’s also always the scanning option, which is – this is embarrassing to admit – a little bit beyond my technical abilities. The easiest thing to do, however, is to just take pictures of them with your iPhone. (You cannot, as it happens, use this trick – the bestest lame-o photographer trick in the world – but as it turns out, you don’t need to do that so much with Manta Rays.)

Which is exactly what I did. I laid them out in a room with good natural light (you don’t want a light source that is throwing too much shadow or glare) and then just snapped the ones that I liked. Then I opened them in camera+ – you all know how much I love me my camera+ – and fiddled with them a bit (cropped, edited for clarity, that kind of thing) and then Instagrammed a few – how could I not – and then uploaded some to Picnik where I turned them into a collage.

Super fun, right?

Look, I know that it’s all a little, you know, involved, but using an old-school disposable film camera is actually kind of fun. And think of how much fun your kids could have with a few of these – which can be tossed around and toddler-handled by even the most rabid of toddler badgers – either in the water or out. And at the end of it all, you have those awesome print images. Which you could – ooh! – put in a photo album or send to Grandma or something. CRAZY.

And if you happen to stumble on one of those rare opportunities to canoodle Manta Rays, well, you’ll be ready.

(Many, many heartfelt thanks to SeaWorld and Discovery Cove, who let us play with their Manta Rays and their dolphins and their birds and stuff. Awesomest place ever, you guys.)

(If you’re going to go out, like, immediately to try this out for yourself, consider submitting the resulting shot to Intel’s “Visual Life” contest for a chance to win a new Second Generation Core i5 laptop. And, really, you should go out immediately and do this. Except that you might have trouble finding Manta Rays and sharks. But still! You could stage some shots in a swimming pool, or a bathtub! Think how awesome that would be! And you would probably be the only Intel Visual Life photographer using disposable film, so. WIN.)