Aquarium Photos

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by RyanWard, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. RyanWard

    RyanWard TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I joined the forum today, spent some time looking for some decent software for editing pictures and I'm using the trial of lightroom. I still have quite a bit to get familiar with, but, I decided to go ahead and post up something I took of my aquarium. I actually started with a photo that was a little underexposed just to see what I could do with lightroom. The first is a cropped photo and reduced from RAW on a D60 and the second is a version I edited. The settings were:

    ISO 400, f/5.3 and 1/125 on a tripod with a remote.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    What could I have done differently to make the edited version a little better. Trying to focus on a 2 inch long fish less than a foot away that is moving is not as easy as I thought it might be!

    Thank you,
     
  2. TJ K

    TJ K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In the second photo I would crop the fish on the rights tail out and if possible get that small shell off the glass. Other than that the photo seems nice except it does look a bit grainy but nothing horrible. Nice pic.
     
  3. KylePeterson

    KylePeterson TPF Noob!

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  4. RyanWard

    RyanWard TPF Noob!

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    Nice torch coral!
     
  5. nicholasw

    nicholasw TPF Noob!

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    Not sure how big the tank is but if you have a wider angle lens you can have the lens pressed up against the tank. Maybe protect the lens using a rubber ring or something, but with most of the filters these days the glass is recessed into the unit so it may not be necessary. With the aquarium lights with SW aquariums the lighting isn't the normal fluro tubes so you will have to pick and choose the correct WB carefully when shooting in jpeg. Shooting fish is very hard and takes an immense amount of patience to get a good shot. I would crank up the ISO. a bit or EV+ so you can get some faster speeds and higher apertures going on.

    Also maybe turn off the lights outside of the tank if possible. Ive seen some very nice pictures of SW tanks where the outside lights and turned off and the tank is just left to glowing suspended in the dark.

    Good Luck!
     
  6. RyanWard

    RyanWard TPF Noob!

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    Those were taken about a foot away from the glass. I'll try getting in closer. I just went through all of them and the light is really low in them all. My personality just won't let me let it go so I'll be trying again. Most of the difficulty is in the patience for the shot. I'll be on manual focus so once I set that, I'll just need to wait. Trying to adjust as they are moving was proving to be diffcult to say the least. It seems like I'll definitely need higher ISO and faster shutter speed so the lighting will be important. With exterior lights off, all of the light will be coming from above so I'll either need to adjust the angle of the shot so I'm shooting down or...well, let's just say I'll try again. :D
     
  7. KylePeterson

    KylePeterson TPF Noob!

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    I dont' think you'd want to shoot at an angle at all. The glass kind of messes w/ the shot if it's not square to the tank. Clownfish are tough! They don't pause for a moment unless they're hosting. They call them clowns for a reason. I love the blue tang and would love to see a nice shot w/ more of the tail!

    Make sure you turn off all the pumps and you already said you used a tripod

    Also if there's a way to take it w/out the coraline showing up so much I'd like that a little better. The back looks so messy on our tanks but you don't notice it that much until you try to get a pic! Maybe more rock work in the picture and not any of the back glass
     
  8. RyanWard

    RyanWard TPF Noob!

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    I really thought the coraline would add nice color - it doesn't look bad in person, but, terrible in the photo - more to learn about the differences, I suppose. The lights come on in about an hour so I'll be trying some more then. I think I'll need to play around with where I shoot. I'll get a good one!

    On a side note, my tank recently crashed, lossed a fish and some coral so it's a little bare right now. I want to get everything balanced again before I add anything else to the tank so my shots will have to be close in.
     
  9. RyanWard

    RyanWard TPF Noob!

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    So, I wenty back and took some more shots this morning. This is a blue tang shot with a D60 at ISO 1600 55mm f/5.6 1/125. They are reduced in size. The first is the original, the second edited in lightroom. The aquarium has compact fluorescent bulbs and just barely enough light to catch these guys with the required shutter speed:

    [​IMG]

    and the edited one:
    [​IMG]

    Better than the first try?
     
  10. KylePeterson

    KylePeterson TPF Noob!

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    Better for me than the 1st. You don't notice the background as much w/ the rock and only having 1 fish int he picture draws your attention to what you're obviously capturing. Still needs a little work, but I'm not sure of the details

    Keep shooting, I'm enjoying it!
     
  11. Michael P. Harker

    Michael P. Harker TPF Noob!

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    If you want to do serious photography of fish in an aquarium, I have a few suggestions.

    First, buy some black velvet cloth and wrap the back and both sides with it. Then suspend a flash above the tank for your lighting. This accomplishes two things - it keeps the extraneous room lights from creating weird reflections and provides you with what the light in a natural environment would look like. The aquarium light will give you the illumination for focusing and the flash will overpower it.

    Using a flash will help to get sharper images and a more natural color rendition.

    Second, measure the front side of the aquarium glass and cut a pirece of white paper to that exact dimension. Then cut a hole in the center of the paper about 50% larger than your lens. Shoot through that opening. The white card will provide you with a "fill light" when the flash goes off.

    This also will help calm the fish, as they won't be able to see you.

    Good luck!

    Michael P. Harker
     
  12. RyanWard

    RyanWard TPF Noob!

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    Now those are some good tips! Thank you very much. No matter how I tried, there was no way for me to get the lighting good enough to get a good picture.
     

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