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Lepperfish

Taking photos of fish

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Just wondering what poeples preferred methods of taking fish photos are?

I personally use the macro setting and either use the camera really close to the glass to avoid reflection from the glass, or I use it about 1 foot or more away, still on macro though..

Anyone have some useful tips and hints on anything else I could give a try?

Thanks.. tongue.gif

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Macro up close works pretty well if you are using the built in flash. If you have an external flash hotshoe, using that will make a big difference. Getting the flash a bit further away from the lens makes a big difference when trying to avoid flash reflection.

One of the biggest things when photographing fish is making sure your water and tank are both as clean as ypu can possibly get them. I will turn my filter off while I am taking photos as well as it introduces a lot of air bubbles that can spoil an otherwise perfect shot.

I try to take my photos at night with the tank light on but the room lights off. If you are wearing darker clothing, the fish will not even see you there and will cruise around providing more photo opportunities. My fish are most avctive just before I feed them at night so I try and photograph them then.

Take lot of photos. Don't wait for that perfect pose because you will more than likely miss it. I take a CF card full of photos before I even look at them (about 30-35 shots in raw format) and often I will fill two cards in one evening. I took nearly 300 photos of the same two fish in the last couple of nights trying to get the right one for the photo comp. With digital, it doesn't cost you anything to take heaps of pics so take advantage of it.

The other thing to do is to learn how to postprocess the images. I have had a few shots which have been 90% there but have got the tail of another fish in them or a scratch. With the use of a program like PhotoShop you can recover some of those photos that would otherwise be discarded. But remember, a good shot out of the camera is much better than trying to recover a bad shot in postprocess. If something is out of focus, no amonut of sharpenning in PhotoShop will get it back in focus.

Rick

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Thanks for the info Rick, Im not using a flash at all, I have never used a flash whilst taking pics of my tank.. The reflection I was talking about was from the lense body on the camera itself.

As for using programs like photoshop ect, I just take a pic and dont try and make it better through a program, hence what you see is what you get.. thumb.gif

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Thanks for the info Rick, Im not using a flash at all, I have never used a flash whilst taking pics of my tank.. The reflection I was talking about was from the lense body on the camera itself.

I must admit I don't have a lot of experience with non-flash aquarium photography. Early on in my attempts to photograph my fish with a film SLR, I had a lot of trouble getting enough light into my tank to be able to take decent photographs. I didn't have enough money to process a large number of rolls of film while trying to sort it out so I swapped to using the flash and trying to avoid the reflection. Ever since then I have used a flash and have not bothered to look at non-flash photography. This is not to say using a flash is the best way to take aquarium photographs ... in fact, I would prefer to just use the aquarium light, but I cannot convince myself that a MH setup for my Mbuna is necessary. When I eventually set up a Reef tank however ... smile.gif

Digital cameras these days make non-flash photography a bit easier because the CCDs are much more sensitive to light than the ISO 100 slide film I was using with my SLR. However, what the digitals often do is increase the equivalent ISO of the CCD so you are effectively using the equivalent of ISO 400 or ISO 800 film in lower light situations, which will lead to an increase in noise in the image. If you want to get crisper, clearer images out of the camera, increasing the amount of available light will do wonders. You should be striving for the sort of light levels that are used in Reef aquariums if you want to shoot around an ISO 100 equivalent.

Another thing to consider is how much of the original image you plan on using and what you plan on doing with it. If you are going to use the whole image and resize it for the web, then clarity isn't as important as the way you go about resizing the image. Taking a 6MP image and resizing it to a 600x400 image will discard most of the image information anyway and issues such as clarity and the ISO rating become less important. However, if you are planning on cropping the image down to just show one part or if you are printing the image, you want to use the lowest ISO equivalent possible and make sure the subject is in sharp focus.

This is all assuming of course that you want to capture fish that are moving. If you are shooting something relatively stationary such as plants or rocks then high light levels are not as important as you can just increase the exposure time. I usually take shots of my whole tank without the flash, but my exposure times are around 1/3 sec with my current light setup. This results in blurred fish if they are moving, but creates a much more pleasing image of the whole tank.

Rick

PS. What camera are you using Lepperfish?

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Rick im just using a sony cyber shot DSC-707, which is 5 mega pixels..

Like I said im using strickly on macro for taking pics of the fish tank..

IM using auto iso for those shots as well, mine has iso 100, 200 and 400 as well as auto..

Thanks for the advice, I may give the flash a try tonight..

DO you use an external flash or seperate light you are using..? rolleyes.gif

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Rick im just using a sony cyber shot DSC-707, which is 5 mega pixels..

Like I said im using strickly on macro for taking pics of the fish tank..

IM using auto iso for those shots as well, mine has iso 100, 200 and 400 as well as auto..

Thanks for the advice, I may give the flash a try tonight..

DO you use an external flash or seperate light you are using..? rolleyes.gif

I use an external flash mounted on top of my camera, although I have previously used a flash on an extension arm with a lot of sucess. I tried using using 2 150W portable halogen flood lights but I found that they really didn't work very well. The colour caused the tank to look really yellow and the light didn't penetrate the water far enough. If you have access to some Metal Halide lights, they would be much better than the ones I tried to use.

I don't know a lot about the Sony cameras, but I will have a bit of a look tonight and see what they are about. I am not sure exactly how the macro works on them, but some digital cameras lock the focal length when in macro mode so you may need to take this into consideration if yours does that.

If you are going to have a go at using the internal flash, try taking the photos at a slight angle to the front glass. This will reduce the likelihood of getting flash reflections. Take a few shots from different angles and see what works best for you.

Rick

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Ok Rick thanks for that, Look forward to hearing back from you.. thumb.gif

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