Photos Without A Flash :-)

Kathy Potts

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Still working on taking photos of the fish without using a flash. I took these with the manual setting and no flash. Not using a flash makes a world of difference. Something well worth working on. This is some of Romeo & Juliet's offspring.

Feel free to let me know what you think.
 

LyndaB

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Kathy, what other lights did you have on in the room and where are they in relation to the tank, i.e., overhead, table lamps..... you're really getting great light there. Also, are you using manual settings on the camera?
 

rae64

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Excellent photos!

I never use my flash, just the macro setting on my camera. See if you have one, it is fanominal
 

MikeNTX

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Ditto what Lynda said! Ive tried using a few lamps, over head light in the room and I just can't get the crisp pics you get. What is your secret? I REALLY wanna know for my EBJD
 
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Kathy Potts

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I JUST snapped this one........................

Back in a few minutes with some answers...............

THANK YOU EVERYBODY......................
 
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Kathy Potts

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A personal note:

To Nutter

Nutter, do you remember just a short while back you gave me some pointers on how to use the manual setting on my camera. You explained them to me in a way that no one else had. Well, I have been playing around and I think I have made some progress. This progress is all due to YOU!!!!!!!!

Just want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! You got thru to me what I had never been able to comprehend.

THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!!!!! arty0009: hoto:

Here is the post and the advice that Nutter gave me:


DSLR are not my strong suit so I'll leave those alone. With a half decent point & shoot you should have a few settings that can help you get good shots without the flash. The first thing is to switch the camera from auto to to manual or program. That will allow you to customise each setting to your own needs. Once you have switched the camera to manual, look for exposure compensation. This is often shown in a scale that ranges from -3.0 to +3.0 with increments of 0.5 in between. 0 is the standard setting. Moving towards -3.0 gives you a darker shot while moving toward +3.0 gives you a brighter shot. With my camera I find -0.5 to -1.0 to work best. Play with that to find what gives you the best results. Once you have done that it is time to adjust the ISO. Have that at a minimum of 400. I find 800 gives the best results for me & that 1600 is a bit too grainy for my liking. The higher the ISO the clearer shots of moving fish will be. There should also be another setting for White Balance, usually represented by teh letters AWB. There should be manual settings for taking pics in natural daylight, incandescent light, fluorescent light & a few others. Play with that to find what works for you to give pics closest to what you see with your own eye. As far as manual settings on point & shoot style cameras goes that's about it. Play with those 3 things until you hit upon a combination that gives the results your after.

There is also another setting on some cameras called DIS (Digital Image Stabilisation). This is a wonderful setting that leaves you having to do nothing other than set the macro to on or off, hold the camera really still & then press the shutter. All my best shots have come using the DIS setting but it's lousy for med-fast moving fish. On slow moving or stationary fish though it is fantastic. It sets everything in such a way that you can get a crystal clear shot that shows up all the colours etc the way you see them. It takes a bit of getting used to to take pics with this setting, in fact I used to swear that it took **** photos. Now that I have gotten the knock of it though, I use it more often than not for aquarium photography.

Also google "how to aquarium photography". There's some really good articles out there that will give you some great tips on how to get the best results with either point & shoot or DSLR.

Hope that's helpfull. If not at least it will give you something to play with for a little while.


LyndaB said:
Kathy, what other lights did you have on in the room and where are they in relation to the tank, i.e., overhead, table lamps..... you're really getting great light there. Also, are you using manual settings on the camera?
MikeNTX said:
Ditto what Lynda said! Ive tried using a few lamps, over head light in the room and I just can't get the crisp pics you get. What is your secret? I REALLY wanna know for my EBJD
Mike and Lynda........

I am using the manual settings on my camera.......... Thanks to Nutter (please see post above). For the below photo here are the settings that I used:

Shutter: 1/20
Aperture: f/3.2
Max Aperture: f/3.2
Exposure Bias: 0.00
Focal length: 6.84mm
Sensing: One-chip color area
Flash: Off
Metering: Pattern
ISO Speed: 400

Also had it in MacroMode.

Lighting was from the lights above aquarium. Lighting seems to be a key factor. I am finding that there are "sweet spots" which shoot better. Meaning that different areas of the aquarium produces better shots. Lighting in one spot may be better than lighting in another. The tank is the 180 gallon. I rearranged the 180 last week, and that seems to have improved the lighting. I have 2 All Glass Aquarium 25 Watt bulbs made in Germany. Also have 2 Current T-5 39 Watt Bulbs. (one has a pink tint to it and the other is white) Only lighting from the room was an overhead light and the 90 gallon. The room lighting I don't think had any input on the photo. I took it late in the afternoon. Normally shooting at night with all the lights off in the room gives good results.

The camera I was using is a point and shoot. It is:

Canon PowerShot A2000IS with 10. MegaPixels

Hope this helps.
 

Butterfly

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Kathy how much light do you have over these tanks? Do you use any extra lights besides the tank lights? Are the room lights out?
Carol
 
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Kathy Potts

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Sorry guys............. I was typing the info in post #10 while you guys were waiting. Please see Post #10. Sorry it took so long to post the reply.

Will also post some more photos that I took this afternoon with the same settings.
 

Nutter

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Excellent photos. You can really see the close up detail & the colours are coming out beautifully. Glad you found my ramblings helpfull.

I can't remember if you have a tripod or stabiliser but you can make up a stand/stabiliser real easy out of a coke bottle (or substitute) & a suitable bolt. I've put a pic of mine down below so you can see what to do. It's pretty self explanatory. I've added the piece of wood because the only bolt I had to fit the base of the camera was pretty long. The wood adds a bit more support to.

I've also added a couple of photos of the way my photographer cousin showed me to hold a camera freehand to get a steadier platform. It feels weird at first but there's no doubt it is a steadier way to hold the camera than the old two hand method.

Hope those extra tips help someone out.

PS: Mods feel free to move this post to it's own thread if you think it doesn't belong in Kathy's thread or the info could help others out & should be in a thread of it's own.
 

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Aquarist

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Good morning,

Wonderful photos Kathy!

Thanks for the photo tips Nutter. I think your post correlates well with Kathy's thread and I don't see any reason to move it unless you or Kathy would like it moved.

Ken
 
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Kathy Potts

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Nutter said:
Excellent photos. You can really see the close up detail & the colours are coming out beautifully. Glad you found my ramblings helpfull.

I can't remember if you have a tripod or stabiliser but you can make up a stand/stabiliser real easy out of a coke bottle (or substitute) & a suitable bolt. I've put a pic of mine down below so you can see what to do. It's pretty self explanatory. I've added the piece of wood because the only bolt I had to fit the base of the camera was pretty long. The wood adds a bit more support to.

I've also added a couple of photos of the way my photographer cousin showed me to hold a camera freehand to get a steadier platform. It feels weird at first but there's no doubt it is a steadier way to hold the camera than the old two hand method.

Hope those extra tips help someone out.



Nutter!!!! Thank you again!!!!!! When you hold the camera the way that you show, do you put the lens up against the glass?

I am always moving around from one end of the aquarium to the other. With a tripod, do you just set up in one place, and wait the fish out? I do have a tripod but have never used it with photographing the fish. With the tripod example that you gave, do you sit it up on something or do you hold it by the handle?

Trust me, I don't mind your post being here!!!!! It fits right in. You might want to write an article on photography though and submit it here at FL or where ever you see fit. It is because of the understanding that you gave me on the mechanics of the manual settings that I am moving forward in that area!!!!!!

I am finding that the lighting can, will, and does almost constantly changes. Do you have any pointers on how and where to set up external lighting and what angle the light should come into the aquarium. The above photos were taken with the overhead lighting on the aquarium. Martizruan said that he had started using one of those hats that have a light on it. I haven't gotten on of those yet, but sounds like an excellent idea!!

Also, I haven't tried shooting at night will all the lights out in the room. Will this also make a difference? This morning I took some shots, and had trouble with the camera focusing. I think that it was focusing on the glare on the aquarium glass form other things instead of the fish. Thinking that night shots would cut that out?

The below shots are some that I took this morning. I know some are not the best, going to post some because I like the artsy way they turned out. Just a different view and take on everything, if you know what I mean..... anyone?
 

Boxerb2003

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Kathy Potts said:
Sorry guys............. I was typing the info in post #10 while you guys were waiting. Please see Post #10. Sorry it took so long to post the reply.

Will also post some more photos that I took this afternoon with the same settings.


1st pic, he/she couldnt make up what color he/she wanted too be!!!!
 

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WOW!!!!!!!! Well its all workin!!!!! Everything your doing!!!!!! I don't know how u can get better!!!!!!!! U just keep toppin it!!!!!!!!! Fabulous pics!!!!!!
 

Nutter

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Taking photos at night or in a blacked out room with only the aquarium lights on works great. That will remove pretty much all of the reflections on the front glass. If you use supplemental lighting on the outside of the tank you might still get some reflections from furniture or whatever is in the room but if you have one of those umbrellas or some kind of reflector to direct the light into the tank those reflections won't be too bad. Taking pics at night will give you very consistent lighting levels across the whole tank except for where there are darker areas from overhead light placement. If the lighting on your 180gal is anything like mine you can move it into any position you want & so can light any portion of the tank very well. Any supplemental lighting should be placed above the height of the aquarium top so that the lower portions of the fish are still shaded. If the lighting is at the same level as the aquarium or fish, the photos begin to look very flat & one dimensionsal because the darker areas around the bottom half of the fish are no longer there. That isn't how the human eye expects to see a fish lit up. Supplemental lighting should also be place on an angle away from where you want the photo composed so that you avoid reflections. Honestly the use for supplemental lighting in aquarium photography is limited. All of the best aquarium photographers seem to use just the overhead lighting or add more lights to the top of the aquarium if they need more light. If the lights are directly overhead, the fish will look more natural to us. Moving lights towards the front of the aquarium is helpful as any fish that is behind those lights in the aquarium, will be well lit from the front but still have that natural shadowing around the bottom half.

With tripods you can use the wait the fish out method or if it is quickly adjustable you can move the actual swivel to follow the fish. I find the first method to be the best & easiest. Set the tripod & camera up in front of the tank the morning you want t take the pics & just let it sit there all day. That helps get the fish used to it being there so they are not so put off when you want to take the pics. Observe your fish for awile & you should start to see patterns develop of where they swim in the tank. Once you have worked out their pattern all you need to do is focus on the area you think will make for the best photo & where the fish should hold still for a second or two. Then it's just a matter of wait until the fish is in the right spot on the right angle & click away. Having the camera up against the glass is difficult with a tripod so most photos are taken from a slight angle to the glass to minimise any reflections. Freehand photos can be taken from up against the glass fairly easily. I've read that taking photos against the glass is good for minimising the amount of distortion from dirt or scratches but honestly I find it a pain in the butt. I take most of my photos 6-12" from the glass. The little bottle stand I use is set up on a small table that I place in front of the tank & I just point it where I want. The bottle stand is very stable even when held o nan angle leaning forward or backward so moving it to get a good shot is very simple.

I've got to get my kids off to school now but if I missed anything or there are any other questions I'll do my best to answer them later.
 

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