Dear readers, you've probably noticed these mid-air mid-water photos that are very popular among underwater photographers, which are invading your Facebook or Instagram walls. Very appealing, we must admit, these pictures reveal both what is on the surface but also under water. However, recently, this photographic technique is no longer reserved exclusively for professional elites because you, too, can now equip your GoPro with an innovative and accessible accessory at a modest price: the dome. So, if you want to diversify your shots, follow the guide.
The lucky owners of a GoPro have probably already tried to make a mid-air mid-water photo. The result is more than approximate and it is almost impossible to get a clear demarcation on your photo unless you are lucky or after dozens of tests. In addition, the line that separates the water from the air on the surface is far too bright which gives a very unsightly rendering to the whole. To solve this issue, smart guys have invented an accessory specifically adapted to this type of underwater photography: THE DOME. This accessory makes it possible to have an image with a part of the submerged photo and the other one showing the one above. A dome allows both to observe what is on the surface but also what is hidden below the waterline. One thing is certain: the outcome is superb!
To get a good mid-air mid-water photo (also called 50/50), the water needs to be pushed back from the GoPro's lens, so that a space is formed between the lens and the water, essential to get a clear demarcation on your photos.
Without a dome, the water's surface line is close to the lens, drastically reducing the field of view. To illustrate this, take a pen that you place horizontally (as if the pen represented the surface of the water) in front of your eyes. Close one eye and look in front of you, you immediately realize that it is very difficult to see what is above and below this dividing line. Gradually move the pen away from your eyes and you will see your field of vision increasing in proportion. This phenomenon is similar to what happens when you use a dome on your GoPro. The dome moves the water line away from the lens and provides a wider field of view, above and below this water line.
To take beautiful underwater photos it is important to follow some significant tips:
- Take your shots in clear, shallow and calm waters, preferably in the morning. The brightness in the upper half of the photo will be higher than that of the submerged part. In post-treatment, filters can help reduce the difference in contrast between the sky and the underwater scene.
- Use flashes to illuminate the underwater subject if necessary.
- Keep the sun behind you to minimize the difference in exposure between the upper and lower parts.
- Apply baby shampoo or saliva on your dome to improve the streaming of drops once it comes out of the water. You will have a few seconds to take a picture that does not usually contain drops of water.
- Favor a Wide or Super view setting to take videos with a dome. For photos, the CDV Large mode with an activated Raw is useful for retouching the white balance after the fact.
- Hang a selfie pole for more distance. Most domes have standard Gopro fixings.
- Using a dome on your camera or Gopro makes it easy to capture mid-water photos as it moves water away from the lens. It also puts an extra distance between the lens and the dirt particles in the water.
- Placing a dome on your underwater camera solves the problems of magnification: If you are used to taking underwater photos without a dome, you must have noticed that water magnifies things. Without a dome, the part of the subject on the surface will appear more than its emerged part. This can produce an interesting effect on some shots but if you want the proportions to be equal and balanced, using a dome becomes mandatory to normalize the field of view.
This is the PolarPro Fifty / Fifty dome that we use at Spotmydive. It will allow you to make photos or original videos on the surface. Compatible with the GoPro HERO (2018), HERO5, HERO6, HERO7 (Black only), it also includes a handle for easier use and a good grip. It is small and compact with a diameter of 15 cm is perfect for going on a trip. Its neoprene protection is also very effective against scratches or impacts during transport. Our GoPro 6 camera is easy to install with an ingenious latch system. Comes with a floating handle, it is easy to use. This handle can also be used alone with your GoPro camera. Finally, a protective cap prevents dust from entering the dome when the camera is not installed and a safety strap allows you to not drop the dome if you let it go.
This dome is made of materials of very good quality. It comes with a neoprene carrying case to protect the dome during transport. This model comes with a waterproof case for diving up to 30 meters.