June 14, 2008

Capturing Baby’s First Underwater Adventure

I f YOU'RE disinclined to kit your baby out in Sunday best for a boring old studio portrait, you can now make a splash by doing something completely different. An aspiring photographer in North Cornwall can photograph you and your baby underwater.

Beate Rothon is the diver on the other side of the lens, and Bubble Pixels is the company. The service is proving increasingly popular; she can even do video footage for those treasured "first swim" memories.

"I first started taking underwater photographs when my daughter was a baby," said Beate, a qualified swimming instructor.

"It was very cool to get the underwater image, and my daughter and I both still treasure this special photo."

The first question, surely, is: "How do they know to hold their breath?" And the answer is, in many cases, "automatically". Babies remember what it is like to be surrounded by fluid from the womb.

That being said, some are better divers than others, and not every baby enjoys it.

"To get the best results your baby must be comfortable in the water, and needs to be a confident diver," Beate said.

"Age really doesn't matter; the most important thing is that the baby enjoys swimming and loves being in the pool."

Luckily Beate knows what she is on about - for the past five years, she has run lessons in North Cornwall for babies and toddlers.

Her swimming sessions operate under the recently launched Starfish programme, the Swimming Teachers Association's water safety programme for babies.

Like many industries, underwater photography has been revolutionised with the advance of technology, and Beate finds that the latest digital cameras have made these pictures possible.

"Years ago, an underwater picture had to be taken by a diver dressed in black, with a mask and a huge camera with a powerful flash. This can be a bit too much for the little ones," she said.

With today's technology, Beate can be more "relaxing and unobtrusive" than this monster of the deep.

And the instant gratification helps, too. Digital images can be viewed at once, so there is no need to develop photos with perhaps a bubble in the wrong place.

Beate said: "It is always important to work with the baby's needs, particularly in finding the right time of the day when he or she enjoys the water most."

The sessions are held at Hustyns, near Wadebridge, and other locations in North Cornwall. Beate can be contacted on 01840 261246. More information about Bubble Pixels can be found on the company's website, www.bubblepixels.co.uk

(c) 2008 Western Morning News, The Plymouth (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.