Gary and SaltyDog- Thank you both very much for the compliments! I am happy that you guys appreciate the set up and the pictures! It helps keep me going!
Teddo- Of course I have to tweak the photos! If I didn't, it would be washed out by the blinding white of the Spanish Moss. Therefore, the photo is taken, and adjusted in my Canon software. I have to decrease the brightness, increase the contrast a bit, increase the saturation to get the warmth back, and I usually increase the sharpness. But all I am doing is getting it back to a true visual. There is so much light from 16 HO T5 54 watt bulbs that it becomes necessary to this. I don't consider it cheating as much as I consider it a true version of what my eyes see versus what comes out on film, which is blinding and would look "Eww." The only really big comp that I do is on the brightness level; everything else is somewhat minor adjustments to less the "Eww" factor.
Thank you Bushkill! The Gloxinella is a very pretty plant, and I lucked out that it would do well. From what I could tell, it should have, but you never know with these things sometimes until you get them, set them, and see how it responds. Other plants that I have gotten require hardening, and it's common for these species (like Marcgravia for instance) to disappear completely, only to re-emerge a few months later doing well. It always ends up surprising me what pops up.
Thank you AnotherHobby! In reality, that's all I'm trying to do is to compensate for the over-brightness from the lighting. You can see in the video below what the tank looks like from a video perspective, and I feel that it is comparable.
Johnson, thank you very much! The fern is called "Fluffy Ruffles" and was de-potted when I added it to the tank on top. It is sitting on top of a bed of leaf litter and trimmings from the tank, and covered at the base with the same. This was simply to keep it from drying out is all. It has since been able to grow it's root structure to the extent where they are touching the water, which is about 18" below where the main fern sits. It did that after about a month of being placed in it's location, and sends out runners like crazy, which I have taken and replanted elsewhere on the top.
I took this video using my new camcorder on Saturday and Sunday this past weekend. It's my first non-crappy, non-iPhone video.