DYI Underwater Pole Camera for Shark Images

Tiger Shark

Shark Pole Cam

Several years ago I came across the dilemma of how to photograph sharks with a half and half effect without getting into the water and risking all.  Previously I used to stick my hand and camera in the water off the stern transom of the boat.  This was not idea as it was a big possibility that I would loose the camera and my hands.  To cure this situation I came up with a plan to make a pole cam mount for less than $100 USD.  I figured that if the Wright Brothers could build an airplane from parts in their bicycle shop, I could make a camera mount from bicycle parts and other found garage items .

Using the pole cam to get above and below shots
Using the pole cam to get above and below shots

Canon 5D II as pole cam

The pole com consists of :

  1. Retractable, adjustable pool cleaning pole
  2. bicycle break lever and cable
  3. stainless steel springs and washers
  4. a boat universal antenna mount
  5. homemade fabricated stainless steel bracket to link housing to the pole
  6. a inexpensive pool kickboard to take some weight off  the rig and make the half and half easier to  gauge
  7. wire ties
  8. A six pack and some cash for my welding friend


Polecam for photographing sharks shutter trigger on pole cam

A small hole was drilled though the trigger release for the bike cable to run through so it will be able to pull the release


Attaching Housing to pole cam

The housing can be quickly removed from the polecam rig

The camera was outfitted with a fisheye lens, domeport,  and two strobes.


Pole Camera

On the boat we would assign someone to work a fishing pole with bait but no hook.  he would cast it out then pull it toward the boat luring the sharks in toward the boat and polecam.  When shark to to the correct distance he would raise the bait and I would activate the shutter by squeezing the bicycle  lever.   I found that it works really well on calm water conditions.  Always room for improvement, but I did get a few nice shots.


Bracket for Pole Cam