How do you guys take such good pictures? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
 
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How do you guys take such good pictures?

I am curious on how everybody takes such good pictures of there planted tanks!? How do you do it? Do you use flash on your camera when you take them or leave the flash off? I just went through a whole role of film with flash on and half a role with flash off. Any "tips" would be much appreciated, thanks
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 03:03 AM
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Here are some tips on taking pictures.

1. Turn off all other lights in the room.
2. Use a tripod.
3. Turn-off camera flash.
4. Lift the canopy half way (reduce light by 50%).
5. Use outdoor (sun) white balance. Itís a manual adjustment on most cameras.
6. Turn-off filters and power-heads.
7. Use Photoshop to adjust levels if needed.
8. Share pictures.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 04:54 AM
 
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And clean your glass. I have taken sharp pictures of fish before only to have a smudge on the glass spoil the whole image.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 06:31 AM
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And if you're not using a digital camera, plan on spending LOTS of money on film and processing. I probably get 1 in 50 good shots. With digital you can play with settings at will, especially aperature and ISO, until you find the right balance between good light and sharp focus. Also, ditto the Photoshop. Manual levels adjustment using the black and white point color pickers is a Godsend. (I used to work on the Photoshop team at Adobe, so I'm biased...) Oh, I also really like black backgrounds for tank photography.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 04:33 PM
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Ditto everything suggested here. I actually like to ADD light fixtures to tanks for shooting- really blast the light. This will allow you to shoot a much faster exposure/shutter speed and really helps with blurry fish. Obviously: the greater amount of light=faster shutter speed=more action stopped.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 08:57 PM
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Adding a polarizing filter may also clear things up, but can really effect some of the coloring...but if you are blue backgrounded...it will show up nicely.


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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 09:33 PM
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I just keep my hands steady, make sure to use no-flash, I dim the light sometimes and just snap pictures. It also depends on what kind of camera settings you have but manual is always the best.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhoetzl
Adding a polarizing filter may also clear things up, but can really effect some of the coloring...but if you are blue backgrounded...it will show up nicely.
Just be aware that by doing so, you're gonna lose one stop of light (more along the lines of 1.3). That can be the difference between a sharp or blurry picture. Polarizers aren't usually used for aquarium photography (haven't heard of it before). Take for examples these images (non-aquatic test that I did on a lens a short while back):

F9, 1/80 of a sec.


F22, 1/30 of a sec.


Hopefully you can see that the first picture is a bit sharper than the second. The shutter speed on the first one is more than twice as fast as the second.

Try to get as much light over the tank as possible when you're taking the pictures. Really improves upon shutter speed, allowing you to capture moving fish (try to get it at 1/125 and above). Using the existing light over your tank, set your camera to aperture priority and see what kind of shutter speed you're getting.

Eric


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 10:38 PM
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You don't need to spend a lot of bills on "the best" equipment, though it helps:



Get comfortable with your camera by monkeying with the settings.


You won't get good pictures if you're a bump on a log:


Frogs are cool:



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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 01:57 AM
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Nice series, John. The first two pics look a bit soft (eyes out of focus also), but the rest of the series look great, especially with the proper cropping. Recent vacation pics?

Have any aquatic photos to share?

Eric


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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 02:10 AM
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Good eye. I handheld those under a forest canopy, zoomed at @ 400. I was using a flash and flash extender, but oh well. Actually, the 2nd pic is pretty sharp at full rez--I don't remember the software I used to reduce the source file.

Taken about a year ago in different parts of Costa Rica.

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 02:17 AM
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Here are a couple more from that trip:




I have some photos in my journal link, but nothing I've really tried to capture well. I haven't really had the time! Plus, I need macro lenses for my D100.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 03:03 PM
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I have had limited success with a cheapy digital and flash, just make sure that you done take the photo directly on. Think of the glass as a mirror, you want the flash to bounce away from the lense. also I know I have some good links somewhere. . . .Ill look.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 03:12 PM
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here is one

HTML Code:
http://www.greenstouch.com/various/aquarium_photography.pdf
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 03:29 PM
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Getting a bit off topic...

Not aquarium pics...but these were taken with circ polarizers on:

http://www.geocities.com/jhoetzl/images/bird-detail.jpg
http://www.geocities.com/jhoetzl/images/sealion.jpg

And I can't find the ones I took without from that day, but agreed on the loss of light, but with most of the planted scene with tons of light overhead, it should work...hmmm, early sunday morning project for me I guess...

Also forgot to mention that you may want to try to shroud yourself to avoid any odd lighting bouncing off yourself or surroundings...but we are getting into studio setups at this point...


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