Pls help newbie with photographing aquarium fish!


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cavallino

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Nov 27, 2004
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Hi, am new here.. I use a Olympus C5050.. so it's not a pro setup.. i'm completely goon at photography.. would like to seek advice about bringing out the best in my aquatic subjects... some key problems i face are the reflection off the fish tank glass, and of course- the fish are moving...

my camera has all sorts of functions and features, i don't really know what it all means. I've read the manual, so i know how to use it, i just don't know to put together a solution with my equipment to bring out the best..

what would be your recommendations for:
1) flash/ lighting?
2) F- Stop (What is this? my camera's range is 1.8 to 8.0)
3) Shutter speed (1/5? to 1/900?)
4) white balance
5) ISO
6) others?

thanks in advance.. i'll try posting some pics of my 'work' :confused: soon for you all the rip up! :bsmilie:

cheers! :cheers:
 

Witness

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Mar 18, 2004
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#7
yup...ask uncle choy....he likes to take snaps of his fishes....

even heard tt he has got a tank juz for taking photos...

FISHY STUDIO haha..
 

vil

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Jan 25, 2004
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most important tank needs to be well illuminated ;)
 

ywh

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Aug 12, 2002
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#10
No one shoots at an angle to the tank....what's the reason for doing so? And there's no reason to use a polarizer too. Cuts down so much light and would not remove reflections completely.

1) Switch off all exterior lighting.
2) If you need a wideshot of your tank, have a large black cloth behind you (to block out any potential reflections) and do not use flash.
3) If you're using the macro mode of your camera, wear dark colours, some wear dark gloves to prevent themselves from being 'seen'
4) Get at least one external flash and have it 45 deg to your camera. Bracket your flash settings. It would be preferable to have 3 flashes, one on each side and one on top.

Lastly, try to actually get as close to the glass as possible and make sure that both the inside and outside of the tank is clean. The water should be sparking clear too.

There are some other methods that I would refrain from using to avoid placing the subject under stress.
 

xieyuqi

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Mar 10, 2002
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#11
ywh said:
There are some other methods that I would refrain from using to avoid placing the subject under stress.
good point here ! ! !

My dad took a photo of his "luo han" fish with simple P & S in auto mode. The built in flash can on and frighten the fish until it 'jumped' out of the tank. After that event, the fish got scared very easily, dashing around when room lights are switched on or when anyone move near the tank.

flash light :nono:

continuous light :thumbsup:
 

kahheng

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Jan 20, 2002
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#13
xieyuqi said:
good point here ! ! !

My dad took a photo of his "luo han" fish with simple P & S in auto mode. The built in flash can on and frighten the fish until it 'jumped' out of the tank. After that event, the fish got scared very easily, dashing around when room lights are switched on or when anyone move near the tank.

flash light :nono:

continuous light :thumbsup:

That could be a one-off! The last fish I took a snapshot of with autoflash even smiled for the camera. Very cooperative little guy.
 

ywh

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#15
Yuqi,

On the contary, I would say that flash should be used as often as possible. Continous light is never sufficient (bright enough to allow reasonable shutter speeds) at the lower ISOs (400 and below). The LuoHan that your dad has is one rare case and all the fishes I have encountered have no 'fear' of the flash. It was some other techniques that I was talking about....:)

Harmony,

That's the reason why the camera should preferably be parallel to the glass.....not tilted at an angle.
 

joteo

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Oct 19, 2004
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#17
Over at killies.com, I've read that some of the users there use a photography tank. This is a small acrylic tank that isolates one fish for shooting.

This limits the fish's ability to swim too far from side to side.

Some even set up the tank with a moss wall to give the background more interest.

Some just use black background.

Others also put a divider in between the tank to limit the fish's ability to swim too far back.

A small desk lamp is placed directly on the top of the tank. You can get any cheap lamp from ikea.

I've seen the setup before. The webmaster showed it to me.

A lot of good photos have been taken that way.

I've never been able to take good photos of fish, personally. Even increasing ISO to 1600 didn't help. My guppies just swim too fast.

Some people suggested you should feed the fish before shooting them so they get full and sleepy, but it's never worked for me.

The best photo I got was an acrylic tank placed in bright sunlight outdoors. but it was of a betta. And bettas don't swim as fast as guppies.

One method, which I've not tried yet is to use a remote flash mounted on top of the tank.

If you have success, please share it. I'm learning too ;)

Good luck
 

stroma

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Feb 20, 2004
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#18
foxtwo said:
u should look for this fella in CS called hwchoy.
You should also check out CPLIM (I think thats his user name).. I saw some posts of his a few months ago in the digital darkroom when I was checking some PS advice... He has got some awesome pictures of fish.... 2 Hobbies in one!!

Actually i've just remembered what the thread was about... it was re Noise reduction and a new (at the Time) freebie download called Helicon

He used some fish pics as a demo... then visited his website.... extraordinary...Shows how it can really be done well!!

;)
 

xieyuqi

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#19
ywh said:
On the contary, I would say that flash should be used as often as possible. Continous light is never sufficient (bright enough to allow reasonable shutter speeds) at the lower ISOs (400 and below). The LuoHan that your dad has is one rare case and all the fishes I have encountered have no 'fear' of the flash. It was some other techniques that I was talking about....:)
Yes most of the fishes i took photo of have no problem, except for the luohan. Just be safe, I would advise against using flash light on precious fishes. Continuous lighting is possible to obtain a fast enough shutter speed. If all else fail, there is still the 'natural' light - sunlight
 

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