Aquatic POTM February Discussion Thread !!!


Original poster
MFK Member
Jan 5, 2005
Now you guys are giving me an ego the size of Jupiter. Two wins the same month? Crazy. Specially considering it's an old shot I found in my old RAW files from last year's trip to the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. Never thought of it as good, took another look and ... Thank you for the votes. Congratulations to all other entries too, great batch of photos. The average these days is so high, you have to have that "special" shot to win.

As far as the contest overall here are some thoughts:

1. I think Francine's and Jay's tetras should have done better, both were clean perfect ID shots, not much to take away points for.

2. The 2nd place shot by John, IMHO was not John's best, and did too well. Not even because of the black background, but mostly because a lot of it was drowned in the background, and it seems unnaturally saturated to me. I placed it a lot lower than most I guess. I think John has a lot of MUCH better entries he's saving up for other months :)

3. Sean's clean and nearly perfect corydora shot, (which he did not even want to use :) ) was very good, the pose and the crispness of the subject is excellent. My top marks were given to this shot, plus Jay's and Francine's entries.

With that, I will now open this for discussion, and remind you all to submit entries for March's contest ASAP.

Winning Entry


Black Skirt Tetra
MFK Member
Jan 7, 2004
Re: Aquatic POTM Discussion Thread !!!


I think your shot was excellent though there's a small white spot directly above the dorsal that kept bugging me. It's tiny but it's there. Likely just some detail in the background.
I hope I have a better shot to submit this coming month.


Feeder Fish
Jan 21, 2005
Re: Aquatic POTM Discussion Thread !!!

I agree it wasn't my best shot, but I thought I might have pipped yours there Ed - both shots were slightly blurred in places (mine on the underside of mouth area, yours on the anal fin area) - thought mine stood out more for capturing the translucent nature of the fish, and the black background gave it an interesting 'deep sea' feel - background issues can be applied to both shots I guess... oh well, maybe if I had got that extra vote of yours!
Last edited by a moderator:


Feeder Fish
Dec 8, 2004
San Jose, CA
Re: Aquatic POTM Discussion Thread !!!

Congrats, guys. My comments on this month's results.

#1. Great shot. Nice and clean with the focus on the right spot (it's all about the eyes). If the BG was improved in the tail region, this one would be perfect.

#2. Love these guys. Could use a bit more room behind the tail. Some of the edges of the fins are lost in the BG and the sharpness is less than Ed's, but it was well down and easily was up there with Sean's shot.

#3. Great shot for having owned the equipment in such a short period of time. Plenty of DOF in this shot, but what it missed here is the pose. The corydoras in the front is tipped slightly forward and his left nostril is in the way of the eye of the second cory. With a better pose, this shot would have given Ed a run for his money.

#5. Jay's tetra shot. Great ID shot of a beautiful tetra (probably one of the better shots that I've seen of this species). Really tough to expose with the whites in the tips. Subject is hard to shoot with those tips and thought that the overall picture was just a tad overexposed (couldn't be helped, unless two images were blended, but then that would have been a bit much for such a casual picture). The fish is also at a slight angle, which took a bit away from the sharpness.

#7. Francine's tetra shot. Similar to Jay's shot, this one is very nicely done. The sharpness is there, but the BG didn't work here. Also would like to see a closer crop.

#9. Tobi's convict. I thought this shot was quite refreshing. Don't see a B&W shot in the competition very often and I really like the mood that it conveyed. Thought that it should have done better.

#10. Josephine's mbuna. Nice sharpness and colors. Would benefit from a tighter crop so that the shadows from the direct flash would be less noticeable.

Great job all!


MFK Member
Oct 16, 2004
Azores, Portugal
Re: Aquatic POTM Discussion Thread !!!

Congratulations Ed.
This one was a toss up for me, between your shot and Jay's. Both top notch stuff.
Clippo, your shot was another excellent entry as well. great contest guys and keep up the good work.

Sean, congrats on third place. You've really impressed me with your images lately. Definitely a quick learner. Keep it up buddy!


Feeder Fish
Mar 14, 2005
Re: Aquatic POTM Discussion Thread !!!

#9. Tobi's convict. I thought this shot was quite refreshing. Don't see a B&W shot in the competition very often and I really like the mood that it conveyed. Thought that it should have done better.
Thank you. :) Yeah, b&w fish shots just aren't something you see very often so I wanted to be a little different.



Feeder Fish
Staff member
MFK Member
Jul 18, 2004
Greater Manchester, England
Re: Aquatic POTM Discussion Thread !!!

I like the way these contests make us think - and show us how differently we think about the same photos :confused:
No offence Ed, but I didn't have your shot high on my list - the colours looked OTT to me and I disliked the background. I made John's shot a clear winner: transparent fishes are really tricky and this was beautifully controlled - I loved the fin rays and the subtle colours.
I often wonder how to rate photos of fishes I've never tried to photograph. I know discus are very placid (although I liked the graphic quality of the discus shot) and I've always found cardinalfishes are easy too. On the other hand I don't think I've ever tried to photograph bleeding hearts or other medium sized tetras, so I didn't really know the difficulties Jay and Francine faced. I do know how awkward double portraits are, so I rated Sean's corys - but the poses didn't quite work together.
Thanks to all the entrants for straining my brain :rolleyes:



Jack Dempsey
MFK Member
Jan 18, 2005
Maryland, USA
Re: Aquatic POTM Discussion Thread !!!

First of all, congrats to Ed for another great shot. Also congrats to all the contestants in this month's contest.

I scored Ed's, Sean's, Laurie's and Jay's with the same scores. Evaluating the color and composition and difficulty of each photo as well as technical skills, I found all these very close. However I scored John's one point higher. I gave it a better score based on what I considered a more difficult subject to capture with such near perfect exposure. I even felt that the black background was not considered a detriment to the overall photo because of how strong the subject came through.

I liked Francine's photo as well as all of the above. I already mentioned on our club site to her that perhaps the waterspots were too much of a distraction for me to score it higher. Also, even with technically good captures like hers, I as a voter, am also influenced by the subject. This species was not as interesting to me as the other fish in the contest. The irony is that I am evaluating each photo again on my other computer with the crt monitor, as I write this post. Her entry looks so much better on it than on my new computer with the lcd monitor.

Every month the bar gets higher in this contest. I am so happy to see how so many of our members have made such drastic improvements in such a short time. Makes me proud to be a APFer.:-D


Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Jan 29, 2004
Re: Aquatic POTM Discussion Thread !!!

I chose my subject from a barebottom/ open back, stock tank with cardinal tetras and weitzmani tetras. I must remember to clean the glass before I shoot or at the very least, set up a photo tank. I'll keep trying.
The competition is stiff here. That is one thing I like. Thank you.

Maybe I should participate in the 'Critique' section, huh?

John's shot was truly impressive. Should have won.


Feeder Fish
Mar 16, 2004
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Re: Aquatic POTM Discussion Thread !!!

A little late, but better late than never (and 2 mths in a row, at that).

Congrats Ed - two wins in the same month!

I didn't have a clear personal fav - in fact, I rated the top 3 similarly (and for different reasons):
- OOF areas in Ed's entry
- black background in John's (personal taste)
- the 'blocked eye in the 2nd cory' in Sean's

But if I just HAD, just HAD to choose a fav from the three, it would have been Sean's cories. But I still rated them the same, 'cos IMHO all three had "their feel" in their own way.

And for some reason, I didn't catch on to Jay's entry - the fish was in focus, exposure was ok ... but the 'darkness' of the fish didn't catch on (probably it's because I've never even seen this fish before in real life). I probably should have rated it higher, now that I'm scrutinising it again. Sorry Jay, my bad.