I want to know how to take photographs where half of the frame is underwater and half above water using basic gear. What are the considerations, steps, and techniques involved in producing such a photo from setting it up to post processing? Is it possible to achieve good results without special gear like a waterproof dome port?

additional information

After reading a bit about photos like this I surmise that it is important to use a fairly wide-angle lens, a small f-stop (ex. f8) and be careful of water droplets forming on the top half of the lens.

The aspect with which I struggle the most is getting the waterline in the middle of the frame and making it clean.

I have a Nikon 1 AW with a 11-27mm lens that is waterproof and a old nikon flash that can be triggered with an on-camera flash.


2 Answers 2


Here are two images.

One with a narrow field of view and no separation between the camera and the water.

The second one has, as you mentioned a wide field of view. But the important thing to have a clean line in the middle of the image is a separation between the camera lens and the water.

The gear is a small plastic dome that attaches to the camera lens and leaves this air bubble. In the image you can see how this separation makes easier for you to center the line, always moving because of the water waves.

enter image description here

You probably could look for a DIY solution or see if there is one for your camera model.

Basic material for a DIY solution: https://www.google.com/search?q=plastic+dome


  • \$\begingroup\$ Really clear explanation of what the problem is, so basically it is impossible to make these photos without proper gear? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 9:15
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Yeap. But proper is not the same as expensive. :o) \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 12:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I saw a how-I-did-it from a National Geographic photographer who was photographing swamp wildlife or something similar. He submerged a fish tank halfway into the water and shot from the inside (no, only the camera was inside- he used a remote release). Something like this... \$\endgroup\$
    – BobT
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 20:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Using a fish tank could be more difficult because you need not only to carry it, but you need to submerge it. If you have a 40lt fish tank you need to put a pressure of approx 40kg to submerge it. It is easier with a small plastic dome. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 20:50

Do it on the cheap. Stick your camera in a fishbowl or small aquarium, black tape your lens hood to the inner glass to prevent reflections, put it on live view and shoot away... maybe use a release cord to keep your wet hands off the camera. Want a waist level finder? Add a mirror at 45° behind the camera and you can view from above.

If you turn the tank so the camera shoots out the narrow end and mount the camera closer to the middle with lots of felt or velvet around the lens it's easier to position the water line and you'll get a larger wave cross section.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is really creative, I'll try something similar over the next three weeks on holiday and if this works I'll accept it as an answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 18:11

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