Taking photos of organisms in shallow but fast-moving fresh water

Are there any cheap lens attachments/workarounds for taking clear photos of organisms in shallow water? For things like rockpools, shallow rivers, ponds, etc.

I am thinking of some kind of extension that goes on a camera lens or phone that you can lightly submerge in the surface of the water, to easily eliminate surface glare/ripples distorting the image underneath. There’s a lot of clear but fast-moving water shallow water around me where there has got to be a better way to record organisms than having everything distorted by ripples/glare. Even with manual focus, there’s only so much you can do.

I’m finally replacing my camera, so personally I’d appreciate if there were any 58mm lens attachment options, but I’m also curious if anyone has other solutions that work for this (excluding waterproof cameras, we’re talking cheap options). Maybe something like putting a flat glass plate on the water and photographing through that?

These are the kind of observations that I think would be helped by this:


Not sure about actually getting underwater, but polarized lenses can sometimes take a lot of the reflection away from the surface of the water, and I know some folks will get polarized attachments for their cameras. Fisherfolk will often also use polarized sunglasses to better see fish below the surface.


I agree that a polarizing filter can be helpful.

For real cheap options, a phone/handheld cam in a ziploc bag can work. You can also take a clear plastic container (like a critter keeper), and push it partially into the water, then take the photo from above the water through the bottom.

On the expensive side, you could buy a glass-bottomed boat and get the same effect.


A clear plastic shoebox or small storage box might be another option. You might need to anchor it somehow with an attached stake in flowing water to have your hands free for holding camera.


It’s the opposite of cheap but I’d love to try the Laowa probe lens for this. Not in my budget though sadly. There are a lot of waterproof endoscopes around that might do a decent enough job if they had good image quality and LED lights on the tip.

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