Wednesday, October 27, 2010


So. I have a confession to make. My name is Victor, and I like fish. No, I'm not talking about a nice fillet of salmon over a bed of rice smothered is a rich dill sauce (well I might be now). I'm talking about aquariums. I have/had and am close friends with many people who keep fish in aquariums. And you know what else? I love taking pictures of them.

Believe it or not, even though you don't have to worry about fish running away when they are in an aquarium like you do when shooting most wildlife- aquatic photography is pretty tricky! That is at first.

I love aquatic photography, and I would like to share one of my favourite shots I have captured. While at a conference in New Orleans this past summer I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the New Orleans aquarium. While there I made an effort to take photos of as many creatures as I could to share with my aquatic-loving buddies back home. One of those critters is that seen below- The Pacific Sea Nettle.

This shot took a little bit of creativity because the displays were so poorly lit. So much so that to get a proper exposure I needed to either crank my ISO way up or drop my shutter speed to way below hand holdable (with aperture wide open). Neither option sat very well with me. So what other options did I have with such dismal lighting conditions? Add more light of course! I got out my trusty eBay wireless flash trigger/reciever and my speedlite flash and gave my girlfriend the 'ol puppy eyes. Of course she already knew what I was going to ask as soon as I opened my bag. She was going to be my high tech light stand! Flash at about 1/8 power into the side of the aquarium, aperture stopped down for sharpness and sync'd at my max sync speed of 1/200 sec to freeze motion, I was able to get several of this type of image very easily. The nice thing about hitting a Jelly with flash is light become so soft! The jelly acts like a sponge, lighting itself up like a softbox! These, believe it or not, are not touched very much in post. A little colour correction here and some cloning of debris in the water there and presto! Sharp jelly shots! 

So, the next time you are at a public aquarium- try taking out the flash!

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