Time is Running Out for the Maldives, a Country That Might Not Be Around for Much Longer

Timo Newto-Syms, Flickr

You may have heard of the Maldives. It’s a tropical travel paradise, with white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. An island nation in the Indian Ocean, it is composed of 26 atolls that are home to some of the world’s best diving. The Maldives is a place that’s beautiful, exotic and remote.

It’s also a place that might not be around for much longer.

This week marks the release of the new report by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, which by Friday should give a prediction of how much, and when, sea levels will rise. For the island nation of the Maldives that isn’t just a warning, it’s an expiration date.Mohamed Nasheed, the former freely elected president who was expected to be re-elected until accusations of poll fraud suspended the vote, has long been a voice for the threats of climate change to his nation (he’s the guy that held an underwater cabinet meeting), warning that if the world stands by and does nothing, the Maldives will exist no more.

Tourism is one of the Maldives’ main industries, and many of the small islands are set up as luxury resort destinations. While today you can calmly walk, dipping your toes in the calm waters, the risk that these islands will become submerged is on a not so distant horizon.

The effects of climate change are already being felt here, and in an economy that depends on tourism, storms and freak weather can have a significant impact. From erosion to coral reef degradation, the islands are changing, and in big ways.

What’s the future of the Maldives? Only time will tell, but for now, the future does not look bright.

Underwater Concert A Summertime Favorite

Underwater concertThis time of year, festivals and events scattered around the United States are often the highlight of summer, drawing visitors from near and far. As part of a road trip, a weekend outing or just a break from summer monotony, outdoor summer concerts take advantage of the nice weather, bringing our favorite artists or bands to enjoy. Those sincere in their desire to escape the heat go to Big Pine Keys in Florida where their version is held underwater.

The Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival in Big Pine Keys, Florida, is in its 29th year, inviting water-lovers for an underwater concert. This year the theme is a Salute to the Rolling Stone Crabs.Held at Looe Key Reef, an area of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and produced by Florida Keys radio station WWUS 104.1 FM, the Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival draws hundreds of divers and snorkelers each year. To enjoy the sound of music in the ocean, music is broadcast through Lubell Laboratory speakers suspended beneath boats.

Photo Of The Day: Guam Beach Bar

Photo of the day - Guam beach bar
Flickr, pkorsmok/Peter Rood

There’s something about a bar on vacation that relaxes us. It could be a fancy hotel bar, an unassuming neighborhood watering hole or a trendy nightclub; and it can be friendly and chatty, or anonymous and discreet. Perhaps it’s comforting to know that our cocktails are made more or less the same the world wide, there’s nearly always another person to strike up a conversation with if you need local tips, and there’s far less social etiquette and customs to break than in a restaurant. The bar in today’s Photo of the Day is on Gun Beach in Guam, a place foreign to many Americans even though it’s part of our larger nation. Flickr user Peter Rood notes that it’s a “great place to grab a beer after diving and watch the sunset.” The patrons in this bar could be tourists or natives, but everyone looks comfortable and relaxed, whether or not anyone knows their name.

Want to see your travel photos featured as a future Photo of the Day? Upload them to the Gadling Flickr pool, and if we can download and share here, we’ll be sure to credit you too.

Diver Captures First Full Light Field Underwater Images With Lytro Camera

Lytro camera with underwater housingThe Lytro Camera is an interesting piece of technology for sure. Like all cameras, it is adept at capturing images that we can later share with friends and family. But what separates the Lytro from any other consumer camera on the market is its ability to capture the entire light field in any given shot. That means every ray of light traveling through a scene is captured and embedded in the image itself. This gives the camera the ability to do some very unique things, such as changing the point of focus of the photograph or altering the perspective of the shot, even after the picture has been taken. This may sound like an odd concept at first, but once you see it in motion, you’ll realize just how very cool this technology really is.

Recently, Lytro’s Director of Photography Eric Cheng took one of these cameras with him on a trip to Indonesia. As a professional photographer and avid diver, Cheng hoped to be able to snap the first underwater images ever taken with this groundbreaking little camera. Using a specially built waterproof housing, he was able to do just that and Lytro has been kind enough to share the images with Gadling readers.

The photo below is not only a great example of what Eric was able to capture with his Lytro but also an indication of the technology behind the device. If you click on any part of the image, the photo will automatically update its focus to that point. Clicking and dragging gives you the ability to shift perspective a bit, while double-clicking will zoom in on that particular part of the image.




More Lytro photos after the jump!Here’s another image that really shows off what the Lytro is capable of. It features a tiny fish hiding close to a beer can and at first glance it appears to be completely out of focus. You can change that by clicking on an area of the image, sharpening up the photo in the process. And when you click and drag to shift perspective, you get an almost-3D effect that also alters the image dramatically.




Finally, we have this shot that illustrates the cameras abilities once again, this time with the scary face of a lizardfish staring out at us. The focus-shifting and 3D features of the Lytro are put to dramatic effect in this image, which was taken in Indonesia’s Triton Bay.



For a look at more of the images that Eric captured with his Lytro camera, check out the full image gallery here. And to learn more about the Lytro camera itself, visit the company’s website. The device carries a $399 price tag and opens up some interesting and creative opportunities for photographers of all types.

Lytro would like to extend a special thanks to Nauticam, who manufactured the prototype underwater housing, and to Light & Motion, who provided SOLA 2000 video lights for the shoot.



[Photo Credit: Lytro]