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Macbeth417

Reef Monkey
Joined
Oct 18, 2003
Messages
563
Location
Seattle, WA
Can anyone point me in the direction of a good tutorial on tank photography?

I am able to take some shots, but not up to the caliber that I would like.

I have 3.3MP Vivitar 3705 ViviCam, nothing great but it does fine on macros outside of tank... just wish I could get some within the tank.

Any help would be appreciated, as I am not savvy to the inner workings of photography.


-Erik
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Erik -

I had just learned a few things about taking tank pictures. Tripods are for the most part essential. A higher f-stop value means a high depth of field. A lower f-stop value means low depth of field. Having more depth of field means you lose out on shutter speed.

Not sure about a tutorial, but I did find this. It is a link on Macro Photography

I'm just now learning the art (& frustration) of taking Macros. I have a Canon G3, which has been an awesome camera. Here is a shot of my sister's LT Plate coral. I took this with the camera set on Aperture Priority - no flash - aperture set to smallest aperture value (?? on terminology ) - in Macro mode. I customized the White Balance using a few coffee filters.

 

Llarian

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2004
Messages
556
Location
Seattle, WA
NaH2O said:
I'm just now learning the art (& frustration) of taking Macros. I have a Canon G3, which has been an awesome camera. Here is a shot of my sister's LT Plate coral. I took this with the camera set on Aperture Priority - no flash - aperture set to smallest aperture value (?? on terminology ) - in Macro mode. I customized the White Balance using a few coffee filters.
Just to correct the terminology, I'm guessing you meant you used the lowest F-stop. (Probably around F/2.8 or so?) That's actually the largest aperature, so you're letting in the most light possible and have the narrowest DoF.

The F-stop defines the aperature width as focal length over F-stop, so if I'm shooting at 50mm and F/2.8, I have an aperature ~18mm, whereas F/11 would be ~4.5mm.

For almost any consumer digicam, macros look the best at the lowest F-stop (widest aperature) you can get, since the DoF is nearly infinite at all but the widest aperature due to the extremely short focal length and small image circle.

Any questions, feel free to ask, I love talking photography. =)

-Dylan
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Dylan,

Thanks for correcting my terminology. I knew something wasn't right about that. Thanks, too, for the further explaination of f-stops. Do you have any tips or tricks when taking tank pictures?

Glad to know we have someone in our midst to send our photography questions to.
 

Llarian

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2004
Messages
556
Location
Seattle, WA
Since I don't have a tank yet, I'm afraid I don't at the moment, but I can give some ideas of what I see the pitfalls being...

For consumer digicams, its actually a little easier because you don't have to deal with a paper-thin depth of field at wide aperatures. When I've done shooting through tank walls at aquariums and zoos, I'm always shooting fully open, F2.0 or F2.4 depending on how far zoomed I am.

A tripod is a must obviously. One other thing is the subject. If you're taking a picture of a coral or other relativly stationary invert (this wouldn't apply to soft corals that move a lot in the current), you'll get a better picture if you push the limits of the shutter speed to as low as you can. A longer exposure tends to be smoother, to a point at least, since digital cameras introduce noise after a certain amount of time.

Anything fish related though, I'd put it on a tripod, be in aperature priority, and shoot fully open. For inverts, just play with it a bit, but always shooting at the lowest ISO possible.

Another thing that can help a lot is a cable release if your camera supports it. A very slow shutter (1/4s or less) will often give a very smooth effect on a scene where there's some light/water motion but not much of the actual subject moving, it tends to defocus the background and give a silky kind of look, which keeping the stationary subject very clear. Unfortunatly, even with a tripod, pressing the shutter without a release is often too much and you're get noticable camera shake in the final image.

The best advice though is to just try things and see what you like and don't. =) A little fill flash combined with a long exposure can change the texture of an image significantly while still freezing motion, an extremely long shot with fish and stationary corals in the frame can wipe out the fish completely even if its in the way as long as its moving fast enough. And when push comes to shove, photoshop is your best friend. There's an amazing amount of detail you can pull out of a digital image if you learn how to apply masks and sharpening in the right areas.

-Dylan, the verbose
 

sharkbaitx2

Active member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
38
Location
Federal Way, WA
Dylan,
Thanks for sharing your photo knowledge. How about UW photos? I have an old Nikonos 3 that I've been looking for a strobe to fit it. Any ideas who makes a good one (at a reasonable price). Macros are my goal.........thanks
 

Llarian

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2004
Messages
556
Location
Seattle, WA
For an older camera, you don't need TTL or anything particularly automatic about a strobe. I use a Vivtar 385HV on my Olympus E-10 digital for macros, using an off-shoe cable with a PC sync usually, but you can get a Shoe->PC cable fairly inexpensivly. I would highly reccomend grabbing a Lumiquest softbox or something similar to diffuse/soften the strobe a bit for macros.

I don't have any macros that I did with a strobe that're somewhat comperable right now online, but the closest I can find is here:

High-speed macro photography w/ strobe

This was done almost exactly how I described above. Macro lens, flash mounted about 1.5' to the left and about 1' above the subject on a small table tripod, with the camera on a normal tripod about 6" from the subject. I just set the shutter at the fastest my camera could do, used the strobe to freeze the motion, and tried to guess the movement. For normal-speed macros, it should be pretty easy, you'll just want to play around with strobe angle and diffusion to get it through the glass. Shutter speed is really just for ambient light when you're using a strobe.

-Dylan


sharkbaitx2 said:
Dylan,
Thanks for sharing your photo knowledge. How about UW photos? I have an old Nikonos 3 that I've been looking for a strobe to fit it. Any ideas who makes a good one (at a reasonable price). Macros are my goal.........thanks
 
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