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April 7, 2014

Lumia hacks: How to take ace underwater photos

We say it a lot about photography here on Nokia Conversations, but it’s as true now as it has always been; necessity really is the mother of invention.

In the past, there’s been quite a few comments asking about underwater housing for the Nokia Lumia. As far as we know, nobody has come up trumps yet, but there are still some fun ways to get your Lumia under the surface and try your hand at a certain type of underwater photography.

What you need

Firstly, you need to find or purchase a clear Perspex box. This might be something you can re-use from some packaging or one from a retail wholesaler. (The type shops often use for displays is perfect for this). The key thing is that it is well made with totally waterproof joints, the Perspex must be crystal clear and the box should be at least 20cm or so deep. The one I use here was saved from a gift set of some well known perfume!

Then you just need your Lumia 1020, a bright day and some clear still water… and a little courage. If you’re lucky, you might even have access to water with some aquatic wildlife!

acuatic lumia

How to do it

Firstly, you need to prepare your Lumia 1020. You will need to manually set the exposure and the ISO. The best way to do this is to take some test shots above the water so that the exposure is approximately accurate for the conditions.

Then all you need to do is partially submerge the Perspex box. Be sure to leave enough of the box sticking out of the water so that any movements won’t inadvertently slop water into the box. Your precious Lumia is at stake here so don’t be cavalier!

The stiller the water the easier and safer this is to do. It will also mean you are more likely to get a sharper image.

Adam's acuatic Lumia

Then, with the box half submerged, lower in your Lumia 1020. You can rest it on the bottom of the box to help stabilise the shot and lessen the chance of camera shake.

00 Underwater 40

Half depress the shutter button in order to focus the shot (the precise focus point will be a bit of a gamble, but that’s half the fun). Then fire away! Experiment with angling the 1020 so that it captures the reflections in the water above as well as the waterbed.

00 Underwater 41

After taking a few shots, check the images and correct the exposures as necessary.

00 Underwater 42

Okay, time to go hunting out those old perfume boxes… or if you can’t find one, what better excuse to buy yourself or your other half a little present. Once you’ve got that far, remember to take care… a comments section full of stories about smartphones fallen in rivers is not what we’re looking for! Instead, please post your best acuatic Lumia pics or share your top tips with the rest of us. Good luck… we wish you a fantastic aqua adventure with your Nokia Lumia.