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Discussion Starter #1
Anybody out there pretty good at photographing aquarium close ups with digital cameras? I know just about nothing when it comes to taking close up shots, and I believe it will be even harder trying to get close ups of an aquarium. I do have a digital camera, and if anyone could give me some tips/hints I would appreciate it. Im pretty sure I should use the macro setting, but what about flash? I have a tripod so that will help. Is it pretty much a trial and error process with each different camera to see what works best? or are there some tried and true rules/guidelines to follow?

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Close up of what ?

Fish or plant ?

Provide that info and I will be more then happy to share some ideas. Look at my website and see if you like the pictures. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I cant access your website for some reason.... Let me know what to do. I would like to take pics of both the plants and fish. I think plants might be easier to start with.

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I can't get the www.greenstouch.com site either.

Briefly:

For photographing fish you just about have to have a flash. A built-in flash on the camera is difficult because you have to avoid reflection back at you from the glass (shoot at an angle), and the fish do not look natural illuminated from the side. For good pictures you have to have a flash sitting on top of the aquarium attached to the camera with a sync cord. Only the high-end digital cameras are equipped to do this.

Plants are a lot easier. You need a tripod because you will be doing exposures of more than one second in most cases. You want the lens stopped down (f16 or f22) so that you have good depth of field (things in reasonable focus nearer the lens as well as further away). You don't want to use the high ISO (light sensitivity) setting, because you tend to get grainier pictures with poorer color. An ISO setting of 100 or 200 usually gives the most pleasing results. For all these reasons, you may have exposre times in the 10 to 20 second range.

Before taking the picture you want to look carefully to see what is reflecting back at you from the glass of the aquarium. Lights on other tanks? The shiny aluminum legs of your tripod? You may not notice these reflections when you take the picture if you are not looking for them, but you will certainly see them in your picture. For the tripod leg problem I use a three foot by five foot piece of black cloth and drape it over the legs of the tripod. More serious tank photographers than I have a large piece of black cloth, something like five feet by five feet stretched on a frame with a small hole cut in the middle for the camera lens to poke through. This is the best way to eliminate all pesky reflections.

Also clean the glass of the aquarium. Otherwise, you may notice in your picture marks from dried water drops and other miscellaneous crud.

With a digital camera, learning by trial and error is not as bad as with a film camera.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I cant wait to try! My fish have ich right now so the water is a little blue from the rid-ick, but hopefully in a few more days things will be back to normal and I can start experimenting (and learning how to work the camera!)


Thanks!
 

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Well I just couldnt wait so here is a shot of one of my bettas. I think the room is too bright right now from sunlight behind the tank and it also needs to be cleaned.
 

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Kevin,

I think I see a reflection on that shot. You need to angle more.

One key to Amano's photos is the use of HUGE amounts of lights. He puts "infinity screens" behind the aquarium that make it look like the background keeps going on to infinity. He also puts two or three slaved flashes directly on top of the aquarium. All excess light is covered to avoid unintended shadows or glare.

When he presses the shutter button it is as if a bomb went off. Fish have to be blinded for a few seconds. However, that is how he gets the quality of picture he does. Or course, using a 12 inch negative also helps. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I dont have any flash but what is on the camera. I have not been using it, just aquarium lights. Maybe if I wait untill its dark outside (window light) and point a lot of regular lights at the aquarium and dont use the flash? What do you think?
 

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Kevin, what kind of camera are you using? Brand and model? That might help to give some specific advice.

Some of the best photos of my 75 are taken with only the night light, a 15 watt NO Flourescent. At any rate, use your tripod and if your camera has a timed shutter release use that. You won't get fish pics with that formula, but can get some very nice plant and overall tank pics.

Regards,
Jay
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The camera is an Olympus C-700 Ultra Zoom. I am still learning how to use it so Im not sure if it has a timed shutter release or not. I will post up some pics here once I get some decent shots. :)
 

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i am also trying to get some good shots of my tank. I took some and posted one on the site and it looks poor to say the least. I have a 1 mega pixel vivitar digital camera, so i dont have a lot of options regarding exposure etc, but will try some of the tips posted here ! hopefully i can get some decent photos posted and start getting some points on my profile!!
 

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i am also trying to get some good shots of my tank. I took some and posted one on the site and it looks poor to say the least. I have a 1 mega pixel vivitar digital camera, so i dont have a lot of options regarding exposure etc, but will try some of the tips posted here ! hopefully i can get some decent photos posted and start getting some points on my profile!!
 

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Kevin,
Why I take pictures of my tank, I have all lights off in the room except the tank's. I now have 182W over the tank (50g corner) and full tank shots look pretty good, I think. Using a tripod is a must for this. And if you have to have any lights on, two things: make sure you've got a good angle for no reflections from you and make sure the camera doesn't see anything except the tank for when it determines exposure time (Any white walls around the tank can throw things off).

Then, for close-ups, I move in and use the flash (I get as close to the glass as possible - even putting the lens up against it). The problem with the 700, 750 (My camera for now), or 765 Ultra Zoom cameras is how close the flash is to the camera. With pics too close to the camera you'll be able to see a shadow cast by the lens (This is also what causes red-eye :)).

The last thing I'd say to do is make sure you play with your macro mode. I've got a pic of two yo-yo's swimming through a "forest" thanks for macro mode. Oh yeah, the yo-yo's were huge :).

--Mike
 

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Sure should. There should be a button with a "flower". That's your macro.
 
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