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Related FAQs: Above-water Photography, Underwater Photography,

Related Articles: Aquarium Photography: A Wonderful Offshoot By:  Adam Blundell and Shane Silcox, Underwater Photography, Reviews on: Norbert Wu's How to Photograph Underwater

/The Conscientious Reef Aquarist

Aquarium Photography:

How To Take Worthwhile Pictures Above Water, Part 2 of 3

By Bob Fenner


Part 2 of 3, Back to 1, On to 3

Many people rely tremendously (okay, exclusively) on TTL control... I don't and know several other photographers who "shoot manual" for light control (setting aperture and exposure both)... how do we "do it"? Practice, experience, a lot of wasted film and processing...

In actual practice it's better to slightly overexpose film than to under-... Still, remember to bracket, keep shooting, change lenses... and possibly film type/ISO. 

How long your shutter is withdrawn, exposing the film on the plane. Important trade offs between:

Again, trade offs... unless you're aiming for a dramatic blurred effect, there is an optimum range of settings time-wise to expose your film... Do check on issues like synchronization with your flash units (some go to 1/250th... others not half that)...

Huge variability... likened onto women's clothes sizes... Umm, quality of premium ice creams?

    25, 50.... 100, 200, maybe 400 for most all types of shooting... but film ISO's do go to the 1000's... Give example uses for various types, ISO's. Dark conditions, tank shots, slow lenses... 

Mutually exclusive desires... fast films are grainier, not as color rich... but able to stop action, be shot at a faster/shorter exposure time, with less light... but suffer from a greater likelihood of over-exposure...

Digital and analog fixes, techniques abound. ICE technology by  Nikon, Photoshop by Adobe... many more.

For "whole tank" shots, faster films, tripods and bulb releases or timers, outside lighting, longer timed exposures, faster lenses of shorter focal length. 

Many small details go into producing consistently good aquarium photographs. Here are some of my "other" ideas on things to look out for... And a few notes on the money-making aspects of this interest, as well as getting help.

New fish stores, holding facilities, public aquariums, tank tours where everyone has carefully scrubbed their tanks down in advance... are what you want. Fine scratches, water marks, dissolved color are not the photographer's friends. 

Try to arrange "after hours" times when outside lighting can be turned off or down at least.

You want the absolute least distance between you and the subject... to the point where you mal-influence the animals behavior.

When you think of a handsome paradigm: is it me or Selleck? How can you tell?

Reference works... personal experience...  interrator agreement.

Post photographic fixes...

Must need be able to differentiate the subject from its setting, background... think, look for these opportunities ahead of pushing the shutter release. Example of Hans Joachim Richter, paper covered tanks, cut out, lift panel... where he planned of photographing subjects.

Click here for Part 3 of 3 of Aquarium Photography


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