Get the underwater look
I really love those ‘split’ water shots where the photo is taken half in and half out of the water. I’m guessing you need some expensive kit to get the effect? Toby Foster, York
Dan says: The sort of shots you’re talking about do look absolutely amazing Toby, and some of them will be taken on very expensive underwater cameras, or with DSLRs placed inside specialist underwater cases built for the application. But a little ingenuity, and a piece of equipment that can be picked up for a few pounds from any online auction site, can also do the job.
All you need is an old fish tank, and a camera that, if it got a bit wet, wouldn’t mean the end of the world to you!
Step by step
Once you’ve got hold of an old fish tank, the first thing to do is give it a really good clean so your camera gets the clearest possible view through the glass or perspex. Spraying the outside of the tank with a ‘rain clear’ chemical used on car windscreens will also help.
Set your camera up in manual mode and in manual focus. This will ensure that as you move in and out of the water the camera won’t constantly adjust itself. Set a medium aperture such as f/8-f/11 to ensure a decent depth-of-field and adjust the ISO until you have a comfortable shutter speed, ideally above 1/60sec. Focus about one-third of the way into the scene and lock the focus.
Place your camera in the fish tank (see below), with the lens as close to the glass as possible. Balance the weight of the camera by putting some ballast at the other end of the tank.
Then, slowly push the tank into the water until the camera is half in and half out and shoot your subject – using Live View will make this easier, especially if you have a tilting screen.
You can protect your camera from splashes by putting it inside a freezer bag and cutting a hole for the lens.
Left Place an old DSLR in a fish tank, immerse it in water, and you can create great ‘split’ water shots.