Drops on the Dome!

Alex, February 2018

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A question that comes up very often: What is the technique and the tips not to get any drop on the photos taken on the surface or split Air-water?

It is among surf photographers that I found most of my answers, those who spend their time shooting without any drop on their dome.

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Here is a summary of what I found and tried:

First of all we must distinguish two types of port: domes and flat-ports, because as you will see, there are 2 very different techniques and each is really adapted to each port.

Dome

 A dôme
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A Flat-port

On the domes, you have to create an “aquaphile” layer on the surface that will hold a layer of water during a few seconds, enough time to shoot and for flat portholes, you must create an “aquaphobic” layer, so the water will immediately slide from the surface and leave no trace.

Let’s get into the details:

1-The domes

So we have to create this layer that will keep a few (3/5) seconds of a homogeneous layer of water on the surface of the dome, the only really effective solution that I know is spit, spit, spit on the dome every time you have the opportunity and start before you even get in the water. When I photograph swimmers or other athletes at sea, I will spit on the dome almost every time I can, remove the first layer well by going to the water otherwise large traces remain, then repeat the operation as often as possible, especially at the beginning of the session. After an hour there is really a permanent layer that remains.

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Surf photographers have pushed the trick super far, I even found on some forums, nutrition advice to have the most qualitative saliva possible to better keep this layer of water on the surface of the dome!

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2-The flat-Ports

The technique is completely reversed, it is necessary that no drop can stay on the port. And so for that, create a surface that prevents water from hanging, so products that mix very badly with water (aquaphobics).

Here is a much longer list and you probably have many of these products at home: Rain-X (for windshield), Monoi-oil, various oils, candle wax, potatoes, and even the special expensive stuff made for that.

My two favorite are Monoi and candle wax:

  • Monoi, because it smells like a tropical mermaid, and I feel like it is a good reason..

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  • The candle wax: you take a candle, you rub it against the flat-port, then with a clothe you spread it and remove all the superfluous so that find a port totally clear and transparent, there will still be a thin layer of wax which will make that when you will leave your housing from the water, no drop will not be able to resist on this surface now too slippery (same for the potato, you rub a piece of potato and you clean / spread)

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For my part it is rare that I mix sessions on the surface and sessions in depth, these cessions in the air are usually those of snorkeling in little water or the outdoor setting is really nice, sessions with athletes who evolve on the surface (swimmers / divers) , surf sessions.

 

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Conclusion: No drop is often better, but it should not become an obsession. We are swimmers, and the random side of the water can be very beautiful, it would be a shame to miss it!

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Texte et photos (c) Alex Voyer

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