iNatting underwater: setups, tips?

Hi everyone.
In the past year I’ve started to take more interest in documenting underwater organisms for iNat (some of my underwater observations here). I’ve been using a fujifilm XP140 compact camera for snorkeling, and more recently a waterproof “case bag” as an alternative to an SLR housing for shooting split above/under shots in shallow water. I’m planning to add a waterproof light to my setup, and am considering upgrading from the XP140 to an Olympus TG model.

I’m curious to know what methods, techniques and equipment others use for observing underwater-- I’m interested in everything from advanced SLR housing setups to simple tips and tricks for getting out in the water. Any and all personal anecdotes, shooting advice, product recommendations, tips on finding interesting organisms underwater, post processing tricks, cost-efficient “hacks”, or other related info, are appreciated!


there have been several other threads that cover the subject of underwater photography and gear. it may be worth looking through a few of those, if you haven’t already:


thanks, i’ll check those out

Looking at the observations you linked, I can see that in the warm, tropical seas, you are able to get out into snorkeling/scuba depths, whereas in those chilly California waters, you have been limited to the wadable shallows. This indicates that you have discovered that water temperature matters a lot more than air temperature in terms of ability to be out in it. Are you sufficiently interested in this to spend the money on a wetsuit or drysuit? Those make the difference in the ability to immerse in cold water.


Drysuit might be overkill for southern CA, but I probably should get a wetsuit. Temperature does hold me back a bit. Thanks!

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