This is a short version of instructions&tips, for an updated Instructions, tips & tricks for Split Dome photography go here.
Using the dome port together with a GoPro camera is really simple as GoPro with its wide angle lens and almost infinite depth of field is a perfect match for the dome port. So basically using the dome is just point and shoot. But there are a few tricks and tips to make your photos better and bring out the most out of your Split dome port.
Choose a sunny day
If you are making half-half photos where half the photo is above and half under the water then sun and lots of light will greatly improve your shots. The underwater half of the photo will always be darker as the light is quickly lost under the water so lots of light from the sky will help you make better photos. Some pro photographers even use underwater flash to add some light to the bottom half of the photo.
But don’t point the dome into the sun!
Sun or any light source for that matter can together with the right background turn your dome into a mirror. This can cause a shape of your GoPro lens to appear in your shots. It happens with all dome ports out there. So how to avoid this? It usually happens when you are pointing the dome towards the sun and the underwater part of the photo is dark. Try to keep the sun behind your back and do a few test shots to find the right angle.
Choose clear water
It will be lighter and you will have better colors. Mountain lakes and rivers, tropical seas, swimming pools… are usual places with really clear water. Bottom also has an effect on the brightness and amount of light in the water. Bright sand, pool tiles, pebbles are better than dark algae and mud.
Get rid of the water drops
Dome is like a huge lens and the half that is not in the water can quickly gather some water droplets that will show in the shot. There are several ways to avoid the droplets. First being the most obvious – if possible, keep the top half of the dome dry. This works in a pool or in fact anywhere where you have calm water and/or a dry cloth nearby. But if you are in the water yourself, like when shooting surfing, this won’t work. There are special solutions (RainX, Aquapel…), that make the treated surfaces hydrophobic and forcing water to form beads and run off. But most of them can NOT be used with acrylic domes as they can damage the plastic. So make sure you use one that is plastic friendly.
A very nature friendly and popular way to get rid of the water drops is licking the dome, letting the spit dry for a while (1-2 minutes) and then dipping it into water. It helps, I’ve tested it. Another homemade solution is to rub potato over the dome. The starch mixes with water and creates a sheet that prevents droplets from forming. A longer lasting method is using special wax.
Protect your dome
Split dome is made out of high grade Acrilyc material which is better than glass when it comes to handling scratches. Water will fill the scratch and it won’t be visible on the photo. Glass on the other hand is better when it comes to water drops. Anyway…in any case protect your dome when you are not using it. We suggest you get a neoprene dome cover and put it on when you are not using the dome.