aquarium photography


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Tay

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Nov 28, 2004
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#1
Hi,
Any experience 1 can give advice?
Picture taken are either blur or dark.(Using D70 with no external flash)
What are the settings should i use?

Regards. :thumbsup:
 

tomcat

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Nov 7, 2003
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#2
Tay said:
Hi,
Any experience 1 can give advice?
Picture taken are either blur or dark.(Using D70 with no external flash)
What are the settings should i use?

Regards. :thumbsup:
Unless your tank is extremely well-lit, you would definitely need to use an external flash to take such shots. I always do myself anyway. Never succeeded in taking any otherwise.
 

Tay

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Nov 28, 2004
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#3
tomcat said:
Unless your tank is extremely well-lit, you would definitely need to use an external flash to take such shots. I always do myself anyway. Never succeeded in taking any otherwise.
So many fish u keep? :eek:
 

enivre

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Nov 7, 2002
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#4
I just got my D70 and went ahead to take photos of my reef tank.

Had to bump the ISO up all the way to 1600 to get a good shot of the fish (quick moving little bugger).. and at 1600 I think shutter speed was about 1/100 or so... using the kit lens btw...

Can see the pic here http://www.sgreefclub.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=26949
 

voodoo

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Jun 6, 2004
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#5
Hi,

I a newbie myself, i learn that if u switch off all external lighting, the tank will appeared brighter, no external lighting to confuse the metering. Hope it helps.
 

Witness

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Mar 18, 2004
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#6
check with hwchoy.... he's my leading authority on fishes....

alternative, run a search first next time...this has been discussed in great detail before in the forum...

cheers...
 

#7
Tay said:
Hi,
Any experience 1 can give advice?
Picture taken are either blur or dark.(Using D70 with no external flash)
What are the settings should i use?

Regards. :thumbsup:
I have not done this for a long time now and certainly not with a DSLR though I have one now. I shot some of those fishes in a tank years ago on film. I use to rear Rachus and Lionhead Goldfish. I needed to take a few shots to do a Chinese New Year card. This is just how I did it back then, I am sure those who shoot alot more then I do aquarium scene might do it more better and efficient then I did. :)

The problem with the fishes is they moving around quite a bit. The other problem is the lighting and use of flash. I never use flash as it create that glare on the glass panel. So I use existing light from flourecent light or a tungsten light source and have that hang over the tank. Alittle towards the frontal portion of the tank's top. This way I illuminated the fishes more from the front but as it is still just behind the glass, it creates no glare or unwanted stray light.

Before you do this, you should have clean your tank and get rid of all algae on the glass front and to make sure your filter has been changed too. This will keep the water as clear as possible. All unneccesary items not required in the tank should be taken out. If the fish already is very attractive and have interesting scaling and colours...busy background and such are what you don't need. I am not sure how big your tank is but the one I had at my home previously was about 3 feet long, 2.5 feet tall and about 18inches in depth.

The problem is being so near the tank and with your camera and tripod, that can be very stressfull for the fish to see so many thing in front of it's view. For one reason, I did the shooting by having all other lamp or lighting in the room switched off. Another reason is to also not mix up the lighting...which can create difference colour temperature which might screw up your white balance. Easier to deal with one lighting problem then multiple. Then I would use my flourescent filter over my lens to adjust for the colour temperature. Or a blue filter or tungsten film to shoot if you are using a warm light to light your scene in the tank.

Now, if you are looking to shoot a close up ofyour fish in the tank. Trying to follow it with lens is very scary and stressful for the fish(es) and the closer you are to it and following it with the lens, the faster it move around. Here is what I did. I use a tripod for the camera. Drag a black cloth over the camera and just exposing the lens front. This will be to eliminate any stray light hitting the camera and reflect back on the glass of the tank.

How to do I get the fish to swim infront of my lens..most of the time? Get a few slap of glass panels. Would be great if you could get those clear one similar to your tank. Depending on the size of your fish(es) you need to get pretty specific glass panel size. For imgaine, shooting a rachus goldfish. I will take two glass panel about the height of my tank but the widths are about 4 inches. I low them into the water perpendicular to the tank glass. I put them quite close to gather in order to limit how far left or right the gold fish gets to swim outside my fix camera view. Get what I mean so far? Now why did I need the glass slap to be 4 inches? because now I need a back glass slap to make sure the goldfish does not swim too far back too. ( this also help with the DOF problem..since you are using available light and need to have your lens fully open up. : I was using a 60mm Nikkor Macro back then) Do you see what I need the glasses slaps to be clear? So that even though I have "corner" the fish in a smaller areas, your shoot will still look like it was shoot in a tank that is big as the background could be a plant scene. Also by having the pants in the background behind the false glass slap, the fish can not swim into it to hide.

So what you have now is a tank with two glass slap that is held in place on two side and is perpendicular to the front glass and the other side of these slaps you get another back slap to complete the rear end to confine the fish(es) to the front of the tank. The fish can still swimming up and down. It has to..it will at least not make the fish feel too confine. Give it some room still to move. Beside, you did not think this will be done and over with in a few minutes? IT can take you hours to set up even before you shoot. It would be good if you use silicon glue to make connect that 3 slap of glass together if you intend t do this more then once. If you not sure what I mean, let me know, I will try to draw it out and sent it to you.

Now that you have fix up the tank with the extra glasses inside to restrict the fish(es) movement. You then fix up your camera infront of the tank. Making sure to only capture just the view inside the side of the two glass slaps.

How I trigger my shots was by way of the remote control. Your camera is transfix to the tripod and not moveable. Instead of tracking the fish(es) with your lens, you are actually going to sit there and wait for it to come into view of your lens and then you fire the shutter. It also helps if you try not to move too much or wear something dark to make it less possible for the fish(es) to see you and get distracted. You will not be able to shoot right away. You will need to give it a moment for the fish(es) to get use to it's space and calm down from you fussying over it earlier. A calm fish will swim slower and be easier on your shutter speed :) Another reason why you need to use clear glass slaps is because the fish can see thorough it and so not feel claustophobic.

It is all about trial and error lah. Get your exposure right and with a constant light source and a small controlled space, it will not be hard to ensure good exposure each time you click the shutter. Then it is all about luck and being able to click the shot at the right time. I learn this from some photographic books I bought many years ago and it worked for me the first time I try it.

Just my two cents since no one seem to be responding with any tips. :)
 

loupgarou

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Sep 9, 2003
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#8
I take lots of fish and I'm damm lazy about it.
a) setup a photo tank, a 1 ft tank with thin glass will do. cover the back with oyama paper, lay some neutral gravel ( I find the dennerle brown one does great).

b) keep the water clean, run a filter until its clear of all dust particles. in my case, I'm more extreme and use a diatom filter that can filter off all particles up to one micron but even so I need to use healing brush in photoshop to get rid of dots ..

c) its entirely possible to shoot with the on board flash but not helpful, cos the flash is going to be harsh. I used to do it with a 550 ex , an omnibounce on it and two 420EX flashes sitting on the top of the tank with a piece of paper to soften it..

most often, I tend to use ISO 100 1/100 f/6.3 - f/8 and bump up the FEC. its almost impossible to FEL on a moving fish.. 8) having a grey card next to the tank is helpful sometimes to FEL against. (they ought to sell oyama paper at 12% - 18% grey )

Full tank shots are much more tricky. the problem with this is the water can never be too clear. and if you use flash, you end up with spotlight areas. unlike some friends I know who have up to 10 550EX just to shoot a tank, that kind of vitamin M I can't afford or justify... anyway, I'm trying out something new once I get my new tank..


spotlight ...
take a step back and look, you can see where my flashes are.

 

letdoit

New Member
Oct 12, 2003
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singapore, Jurong
#9
Tay said:
Hi,
Any experience 1 can give advice?
Picture taken are either blur or dark.(Using D70 with no external flash)
What are the settings should i use?

Regards. :thumbsup:
fish tank hobby???? me too.... but i am freshwater type. Blur??? used to crack my head when snapshot those fish even with tripod. but now change to macro lens, most of the problem solve. Dark, i had no problem with this because i had 8 x 36W PLC ontop my fish tank. sorry.
 

Tay

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Nov 28, 2004
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#11
wah thanks for sharing tips..I must first get the nikon 105mm micro.

Regards.
 

letdoit

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Oct 12, 2003
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#12
cheaper. used macro filter. but a bit troublesome. i either look for filter again to double up it or change to sigma lens. Sigma have shoter lens and gave long zoom plus macro build in....... hmmm... filter cheaper ...... i still thinking......
 

Tay

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Nov 28, 2004
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Bedok
#13
letdoit said:
cheaper. used macro filter. but a bit troublesome. i either look for filter again to double up it or change to sigma lens. Sigma have shoter lens and gave long zoom plus macro build in....... hmmm... filter cheaper ...... i still thinking......
How much does the simga micro lens cost? Im new in photography so im not sure which lens to get for certain purpose. So I usually look into nikon lens, but v costly... :think:
 

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