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-   -   Digital Aquatic Photography Help (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=727)

GulfCoastAquarian 02-04-2003 04:32 PM

I'm having trouble taking good pictures of my Aquarium with my Kodak DX4330. Does anyone have any experience with this camera? Mostly, my trouble is with lighting and focus. I can't focus on small objects (saving up for a macro lens). But even worse is lighting. Even with exposure compensation reduced, my pictures tend to get washed out in bright areas.
This problem was especially aggravated when I switched my two strip lights. Previously, I had my CSL 2x65w PS strip in the rear and the two ODNO GE P&A bulbs in the front. When I switched them, everything is way too bright on my pictures. Maybe I should leave the flash on and just cover it up to fool the camera into a short shutter speed?

Does anyone know of any good sites with expert advise? Thanks!

Buck 02-05-2003 02:29 AM

A suggestion for lighting Sam...
...always leave flash off for photos and try shooting "down" on tank slightly for fullview photos...if you have the contrast adjustments on your camera it helps alot also...each elevation in photo angle will be a differnt setting to allow good light quality...
Digitals cant help but soak up the light , dont know why. Lighting tech's were the hardest thing to get used to with Digi.

Now Im battling with crisp "motion" shots...I tried asking the lil buggers to pose but they flipped me off ! :hehe:

Anyways ...try that bro...it might help.

lanstar 02-05-2003 06:14 AM

I'm by no means a photography whiz. But I've found that Adobe Photoshop and a little experimentation can sure cure - or at least help - a lot of problems.

One of the most useful tools I stumbled on was a "levels" tool where you can select white and then find and click on something in the picture that's supposed to be white, and then select black and click on something that's supposed to be black and the program adjusts the color balance and exposure for you.

Fiddeling with Saturation, Contrast, and Brightness can also greatly improve some pretty nasty pictures.

If you like, send me a picture of your choice and I'll beat on it and see if it can be improved.

tpearson@myrealbox.com

Take care...

Tim

lanstar 02-05-2003 06:28 AM

Here's a brief Photoshopped version of the picture you posted above...

GulfCoastAquarian 02-05-2003 01:03 PM

Yeah, I photshop every single picture I get off the camera, but they're still no where near the quality you'd see on The AGA International Aquascaping Contest website.

ACDSee has a great "Auto-Level" feature that will fix up minor color and brightness/contrast imbalances, but nothing this severe.

All of my pictures are without the flash. I tried taking one standing on a chair, aiming down at the tank and it is slightly better, but not great. This is also with my "exposure compensation" (essentially a contrast adjustment or the equivalent of an f-stop) reduced all the way.

GulfCoastAquarian 02-05-2003 01:05 PM

Also, that is after fiddling with contrast/brightness/gamma correction as best as I could to make it look the most like the actual tank.

Buck, how the heck do you get crips motion shots without a flash?? I might be able to figure it out with my wife's Canon EOS Rebel 2000 with the intense lighting on and a pretty fast shutter speed, but not with my digital camera.

Buck 02-09-2003 01:43 AM

Does it have aperture/Shutter speed adjustments ?
There is also on a lot of cameras a thing called "Exposure Compensation "... check your manual.
That would help you...
However if all else fails... remove a bulb or 2 from the hood for a photoshoot , then just put it all back together ! :hehe:

Wish I could be of more help but Im outta ideas bro...

-bala 02-24-2003 01:43 AM


-bala 02-24-2003 01:48 AM

Sorry for the blank...but anyway

Unless I missed it it in earlier post. Have you tried a tri-pod? With low light exposures your camera will compensate with slow shutter speeds. Every virbration is amplified. I use a tri-pod and set the shutter on dely so I do not even touch the camera, all in an effort to eliminate camera shake

RayB 03-16-2003 10:36 PM

Here's good site to get advice, tips etc. for aquarium photography.

http://characin.com/photography/web-show/index.html

Hope I helped.

kor4ever 03-17-2003 02:53 AM

With digital cameras, if you feel the light it washing out your pictures, like Buck said, don't use flash. You can increase the f-stop to decrease the light, that will also increase the depth of field in your pictures which will alleviate some of your focusing problems. If that isn't working so well, use white balance, where you tell the camera what you believe is pure white in your composition. Better get everything as good as possible, saves you trouble in Photoshop. If you plan to edit the picture in photoshop, try to take the pictures with as little compression as possible or hopefully in raw format, such as tiff files. Some companies have their own raw format such as Canon, but I am not familiar with your camera
Also, if your camera has auto-bracketing(where it takes 3 pictures, where it varies the aperature according to your settings), that will help you hone down on the proper settings on the picture.

On Photoshop, you can't just use auto-levels and auto-contrast, horrible functions, quick but messy. You need to use threshold and curves and levels independently. Its hard to explain, but if you want PM or email me and I can help you with it.

My email is flyeh@artsci.wustl.edu

Felix


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