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Half the fun of snorkeling with the Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area group at Beaver Lake was playing with my little waterproof point-and-shoot camera while we circled the cove.

When we looked at the pictures on shore, the kiddos got a kick out of seeing their masked faces under the water where they searched for fish and treasure. I get a charge out of seeing the photos every time I use this little marvel underwater.

It wasn't long ago that it was curtains for a camera if you got it wet. These days you can buy a small camera that's waterproof down to 30 or 40 feet for the same price as a land-only model. Taking pictures underwater adds to the fun of photography.

I'm on my second waterproof point-and-shoot. The first one simply wore out from use. Like most things electronic, these little cameras get better year after year. There are dozens of good ones. The camera I own now is an Olympus TG-1 point-and-shoot, also called an Olympus Tough. I can't say enough good things about this little workhorse. The picture quality is outstanding. It's light, rugged, easy to use and affordable.

These point-and-shoots are at home in the water and great cameras for hiking, biking or any activity where light weight is key.

There are all kinds of ways to use them under the water, as you can see in today's feature about the Hobbs snorkeling trips. Colorful bluegill tend to favor shallow water at Beaver Lake and are good for some fish photography.

Next fishing trip, try photographing your buddy releasing his or her catch. Have your friend hold the fish underwater to release it. Stick the camera under the surface, point the lens at the fish and shoot the photo at the moment of release.

Gone are the days where you'd canoe down a river with your dry-land camera in an ammo box or other hopefully waterproof container. A waterproof point-and-shoot is worth the money in peace of mind alone, knowing you're not going to wreck a good camera.

Any camera is a goner if you drop it overboard in deep water. Good luck finding it. Here's what works for me. I have a 4-foot length of cord with one end attached to my life jacket and the other to the camera. If I drop the camera in the drink (it has happened) I hoist it back into the boat. The camera and cord store nicely in my life-vest pocket.

Or, buy one of the little floats that attaches to the strap of the camera.

I'll always remember the first time I used a camera under the water. Talk about nervous. Getting a camera wet just wasn't in my genes. When I took my first point-and-shoot underwater on the Elk River, I expected it to erupt in sparks and blue smoke. Didn't happen. I got a nice picture of a sunfish and another of a turtle.

With all the beautiful clear water we have in our corner of the Ozarks, a waterproof point-and-shoot is worth a look next time you're shopping for a camera.

Outdoors on 07/10/2014

Print Headline: Today’s Cameras Ready To Get Wet

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