There’s a new way to compose your watersport photos – the PolarPro Fifty Fifty is an air-filled lens dome that lets you capture creative split-level water shots. Designed for GoPro HERO5/6/7 Black, it adds another dimension to your photo compositions showing life both above and underwater at the same time. The snap-in design makes it easy to mount. It includes a floating grip, lanyard and neoprene cover to protect the dome surface.
A GoPro is simply too small to accurately hit the half/half position for clear split shots. But, the PolarPro Fifty Fifty’s curved dome solves this problem, acting as a plastic lens that pushes the water away from the lens, creating a larger field of view (FOV). Thus, the bigger the dome, the further in front of it the image will form.
Experiment with angles
Getting the hang of shooting great over/under shots takes practice. Experiment with different angles and levels in a pool or bathtub. You basically have three options to frame your shot:
The Traditional: Hold the dome perpendicular to the water surface for a 50/ 50 split.
The Fish Bowl: To capture scenes with great underwater landscapes, hold the dome angled down for a 75 under / 30 over split.
The Submarine: To keep your eyes focused on the camera’s LCD screen, go underwater and hold the dome angle upwards for a 30 under / 75 over split.
Getting the right colour balance
It’s generally a good idea to leave your GoPro’s white balance (WB) setting on AUTO, but with split shots over and underwater, this can leave you with much more correction work in post-production.
For the best lighting, shoot at midday and lock your WB to slightly cool daylight (5500K;) to avoid it constantly shifting. GoPro advises on the different WB settings:
- Cool light = 6500k This setting is great for overcast conditions.
- Slightly cool light = 5500k This setting is great for daylight while shooting outside.
- Warm light = 3000k: This setting is great for lower-light situations, where you want the camera to pick up detail without the help of a lot of surrounding light.
Check that your settings are correct before putting your camera in the housing, otherwise you might be tempted to adjust on-location where water could enter the dome. Also, remember to lubricate the lens with antifog glass treatment to avoid annoying water spots, and if all else fails – lick it! Water absorbs red colour wavelengths, so you may still need to correct greenish underwater tones and flat, lifelike skin tones, but at least you’ll have a fairly lit shot.
TIP: To reduce lens flaring, try to shoot with the sun behind you.
Choose a compelling subject
Water has a magnification effect, so without a dome, underwater objects don’t match up with those above water. The PolarPro Fifty Fifty prevents this distortion by normalising the FOV.
Next, choose an interesting subject, whether it’s your snorkelling friends (the dome is waterproof to 11mm depth), aquatic life and reefs, or above water landscapes.
Tip: Subjects closer to the dome create really interesting shots.
Taking care of your dome
Insert the plug right after taking your camera out of the water to prevent water and dust from getting inside the dome.
After each shoot, especially after filming in saltwater, gently rinse the dome off with fresh water or wash with gel soap. This will remove dust, fingerprints and sticky water spots. Use your fingers to avoid scratching the lens.
Now, put on the neoprene cover to protect the lens in storage. This will also prevent sand from gathering on the inside.