Photo Forums

by Roger Roth

If you are interested in underwater photography and/or videography, you should know that there are numerous forums on the internet in which you can participate or just lurk to learn things about these growing hobbies and avocations.  These forums can be very informational and helpful.  Some are more for the beginners and others cover more in-depth topics that might interest the more professional imagers. 

My favorite forum can be found at  This forum is made up of many pros and semi-pros and is the oldest underwater photo forum having begun in 1994.  These elite members are always reading and willing to respond to novice’s questions and problems, so one shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help.

The in-depth topics that are covered periodically, give you a chance to advance your knowledge in underwater imaging and all that goes with it.  All topics of this forum are introduced by the members whether it has to do with photography equipment, reliable service, reputable dive destinations around the world, and retail values of images for sale or even post-dive equipment like scanners and printers or the use of Photoshop.  It’s kind of a one-stop shopping place for underwater imagers!

Many times “newbie’s” may lurk for a while until they are comfortable to post their own questions.  It usually doesn’t take them long to become more active in discussions and begin sharing their experiences and pictures.  In time the quality of their pictures shows improvement and most will admit that much of their improvement grew from their participation in the forum.

This forum is not moderated, however appropriate language and manners are mandatory and anyone abusing the forum will be dropped from the list.  Since this email forum goes to hundreds of other members, we refrain from posting personal messages on the forum, which helps keep it cleaner and on-topic.

Commercial postings are not allowed.  However, if a contributing member has an opening on an upcoming trip or they have equipment for sale and want to offer it to members before putting it on e-bay, this information is allowed to be posted.  Note that the poster does have to be a contributing member though.

Many members have their own websites and are glad to share these with others.  A forum of this type is the best way to share one’s work and also get positive feedback from qualified people.  One can even get help identifying a critter by posting their shot on the internet somewhere and then relaying a link to members who will look at the picture and offer advice as to what it is or where more information can be found that will help in the identification.

Through the years members seem to become good friends as if they lived next door, even though they may be continents apart.  Sometimes they even plan on diving together and finally meet face to face.  At other times, they may run into one another coincidentally and once they are introduced, their names are very familiar and it becomes a great meeting!

In the last few years, the original domain for this forum began blocking many members from posting because their emails appeared like spam and were immediately blocked.  This began to cause a lull in activity from the list and many members began to seek out other forums.  Recently the list has been transferred to a new domain and most of all the old members returned, and the list exploded with discussions again as if the problem had never existed.

Current threads on the list include discussions concerning how to pack camera and dive gear with the new airline weight limitations on checked baggage and member recommendations on carry-on camera bags and backpacks.

For those of you who might be too intimidated or uncomfortable to post on this forum because of the pros that participate, there are other forums out there that are made up of more inexperienced imagers who still have plenty of knowledge to share.  Two more of my favorites that were started by the webmaster of the Underwater Images Competition can be found at  One is for underwater photography and the other is more specific to UW video.  These lists are moderated and as the first one described above, spam is filtered out and eliminated.

To join a forum, just visit the homepage of that forum and look for directions on how to subscribe.  Most of the time joining is just a matter of sending an email to subscribe or unsubscribe when the time comes.  Verification will be sent back to you almost immediately.  Remember that some forums allow you to receive emails and others are internet-based only.

Once you join an email forum I’d suggest that you create a rule in your email program that will automatically send emails from the specific lists to special folders created for those particular lists.  This will make it so that you don’t have to read every email that comes in until you have the time and are ready to sit down and participate.  Isn’t this technology brilliant?

Another popular internet forum for underwater videographers can be found at And even more recommendations for still (and some video) forums are and

If you aren’t participating in a forum such as these as yet, you should take a few minutes and look over any of the sites mentioned above.  I’ll be looking forward to seeing your first post. Sea Ya!

Critter corner: In the early 1900's, it was discovered that when cells of sponges are separated in a seawater solution, they soon clump together to form tiny new sponges. When cells of two different types are mixed, however, they aggregate only with their own kind.  The Beard of Moses sponge owes its skill at cellular recognition to a protein molecule called an aggregation factor, which is released by the sponge into the seawater. The aggregation factor acts as a sort of biochemical glue, locking into specific sites on the surfaces of free-floating sponge cells and encouraging them to link up at these locations.

copyright © Roger Roth, 2002 - 2011

Photo Competition

Roger Roth is a roofer by trade and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. But his passion is underwater vidiography and after several decades of learning how to shoot and edit he has evolved into a teacher and a photographic philanthropist. Roger is the founder of the annual international Underwater Images Photo and Video Competition. You may contact Roger at