How I take pictures of my fish

jcardona1

Feeder Fish
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Reptilesfishbirdsmammals;4371679;4371679 said:
is your camera high resolution? that thing is clear as day! beautiful!
it's a DSLR, Nikon D90
 

jcardona1

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thanks guys :cheers:

and no pbass in there. he'd destroy my plants and eat my expensive denisoniis :eek:
 

SteveR

Jack Dempsey
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jcardona1;4369679; said:
Posted this on Xander's thread too, figured ill make my own thread as well....


Wanted to take the time to show my little process for taking pics of fish. it's been work pretty good for me so far. please note i did NOT clean my glass and these are jpg files straight from the camera. so the quality isnt the best and they're a little under-exposed. but i think some of them are pretty good :)

i use a sheet of eggcrate over the tank since i have a rimless tank. i take a piece of white plastic rain gutter and elevate it a few inches to clear my speedlight (disney cups optional :D).

i place the speedlight in the middle pointing up and trigger it with a wireless radio trigger (CowboyStudios brand). place the flash in manual power mode and adjust settings accordingly. i havent tried it with two speedlights but i will in a few days.

enjoy!














Great Pics dude. Your a D90 man ain't you? I got one and I have the SB-900. The D90 wirelessly controls the flash without the aid of extra transmitters, just pop up the flash and put it into commander mode? Maybe it's slightly diff over here but I do basically what your doing and the flash fires off camera with no extra bought transmitter? I'm guessing you may not own the SB-900 as it looks different to mines in the photo.

I wanted to ask you about "manual" flash mode, since you seem like the man to ask in here. I've been taking photograph shots in manual for years but never had the capability to know (and take this further) into the strength of what to flash, so have just used iTTL or ITTL BL etc. For fish I set it to manual sometimes and 1/1 (I understand this is the highest power you can get to then allow the most light in there possible).

My question I guess, is how do you know when you'll only need 1/128 or 1/30 or whatever?

Oh and another one, what does your nikon kit comprise of so far? I've got the D90, SB900 speedlight (man that is an expensive flash but awesome), and the 18-105 VR lens, awesome versatility!:headbang2

I'd be interested to know whats in your kit bag.
 

jcardona1

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SteveR;4371938;4371938 said:
Great Pics dude. Your a D90 man ain't you? I got one and I have the SB-900. The D90 wirelessly controls the flash without the aid of extra transmitters, just pop up the flash and put it into commander mode? Maybe it's slightly diff over here but I do basically what your doing and the flash fires off camera with no extra bought transmitter? I'm guessing you may not own the SB-900 as it looks different to mines in the photo.

I wanted to ask you about "manual" flash mode, since you seem like the man to ask in here. I've been taking photograph shots in manual for years but never had the capability to know (and take this further) into the strength of what to flash, so have just used iTTL or ITTL BL etc. For fish I set it to manual sometimes and 1/1 (I understand this is the highest power you can get to then allow the most light in there possible).

My question I guess, is how do you know when you'll only need 1/128 or 1/30 or whatever?

Oh and another one, what does your nikon kit comprise of so far? I've got the D90, SB900 speedlight (man that is an expensive flash but awesome), and the 18-105 VR lens, awesome versatility!:headbang2

I'd be interested to know whats in your kit bag.
thanks man! yup, i'm a D90 guy :D

yeah the D90 has a built in wireless commander mode. but since sometimes i have the flash positioned in weird angles, i just go ahead and use the radio triggers. and outdoors, radio triggers are the only way to go. the wireless flash setup will be essentially worthelss outdoors. indoors it usually works pretty good since the monitor preflash can bounce around the room via the walls. but outdoors, it needs a direct line-of-sight or else it wont fire.

and for costing only $30, you can go wrong with these little triggers. i have yet to have a misfire!

as for flash modes, i dont use TTL because it gives you wonky results when shooting an aquarium. the camera doesnt know what the hell to do with an aquarium. it cant properly measure the light or produce the right amount of flash. so the power will vary from picture to picture.

thats why i use Manual flash mode; the flash intensity is always consistent. these i shot at 1/2 or 1/4 i think. i dont shoot full power since you eat up your battery and can overheat the sb-900. i use less power on the flash, and adjust my aperture/shutter speed on the camera to get a good exposure. honestly with aquarium photography its a lot of playing around with the settings. once you got a particular aquarium dialed in, just keep a note of your settings and you can use the same settings everytime.

as for my kit list, this is what i got right now:

D90
17-55mm f/2.8 (nikon)
70-200mm f/2.9 (nikon)
50mm f/1.8 (nikon)
sb-600
sb-900
cowboystudios radio triggers
2x 16" cowboystudios softboxes
manfrotto 222 joystick head
manfrotto 680b monopod
proline dolica tripod (cheapy brand)
 

SteveR

Jack Dempsey
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Thanks man I'm gonna look into these transmitters, I'll need it when I get a second speedlight and start using outdoors etc. One thing I still don't get though.

As far as I understand on the D90. I dial in my settings for my exposure, based on the light meter in the viewfinder. I set to 1/200 and I set maybe F9 or something. The light meter obviously thinks that it will be massively underexposed so reads like well down on the negative scale. I know that in TTL the flash will fire and bring it up close or on the "good exposure" midpoint. (I understand what your saying though, my results vary wildly so I want to start using Manual flash, however I've become slightly afraid of it.) What I don't understand is how does the manual mode do this, how can we possibly know how much it's going to affect what the lightmeter says? Are we just wildly guessing that if it reads like at the bottom of the minus scale and the meter is flashing, that hm a 1/4 will do it, or a 1/2 will. Is that just purely guessing? Do you get me, I dunno if I'm explaining this very well...

Oh and thanks for the kit list! Interesting. God I am gonna be broke, I have too many hobbies and I drive a Mazda RX8 which totally drinks fuel and empties my bank every time I service her.
 

jcardona1

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SteveR;4372003;4372003 said:
Thanks man I'm gonna look into these transmitters, I'll need it when I get a second speedlight and start using outdoors etc. One thing I still don't get though.

As far as I understand on the D90. I dial in my settings for my exposure, based on the light meter in the viewfinder. I set to 1/200 and I set maybe F9 or something. The light meter obviously thinks that it will be massively underexposed so reads like well down on the negative scale. I know that in TTL the flash will fire and bring it up close or on the "good exposure" midpoint. (I understand what your saying though, my results vary wildly so I want to start using Manual flash, however I've become slightly afraid of it.) What I don't understand is how does the manual mode do this, how can we possibly know how much it's going to affect what the lightmeter says? Are we just wildly guessing that if it reads like at the bottom of the minus scale and the meter is flashing, that hm a 1/4 will do it, or a 1/2 will. Is that just purely guessing? Do you get me, I dunno if I'm explaining this very well...

Oh and thanks for the kit list! Interesting. God I am gonna be broke, I have too many hobbies and I drive a Mazda RX8 which totally drinks fuel and empties my bank every time I service her.
yeah, i understand what youre saying. when shooting aquariums, i dont even look at the light meter. for one, they are only measuring the light REFLECTING off of the subject, not the light actually falling on it. now how can you measure the light reflecting off a fish? you see why the built-in meter is so ineffective for aquarium photography?

i dont go off of the light meter at all. i usually anticipate my settings, dial them in, take a few shots to see how it looks, fine tune, then im ready to go. im usually dialed in the to the exposure i like withing 2-5 test shots.

the light meter works okay for general photography, but it cant be used for aquariums
 

jcardona1

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and yeah, its usually a bit of guessing with aquariums. like if im shooting a portrait, i like to use spot-metering. for a light-skinned person, ill spot meter off the face, and adjust exposure to be about +1 stop. or ill meter off a pure white or pure black object.

for a bright white object, i expose at +2 stops. solid black, -2. dark tones, -1. light tones, +1. this is because the camera will try to render everything as a gray tone. it will underexpose light colors and overexpose darks.

here's a simple test. set your camera to auto everything. take a picture of a white shirt in front of a white wall. the picture will be undexposed because the camera is trying to render the image as middle gray. now take a picture of a black shirt in front of a very dark wall or background. it will be overexposed, again, the camera is trying to expose everything as gray. now set it to manual with spot metering, use the figures i told you, and check out the results :)
 

SteveR

Jack Dempsey
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Thanks for your input, makes sense with aquarium photography.

What about using manual mode for example as fill flash so that you can illuminate a subject yet set exposure for a background. How would you know what to put the flash at based on the light meter reading reflected, not incident light? If i use TTL it fires test pulses and works it out, is this the only way aside from messing about with manual?
 

jcardona1

Feeder Fish
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SteveR;4372310;4372310 said:
Thanks for your input, makes sense with aquarium photography.

What about using manual mode for example as fill flash so that you can illuminate a subject yet set exposure for a background. How would you know what to put the flash at based on the light meter reading reflected, not incident light? If i use TTL it fires test pulses and works it out, is this the only way aside from messing about with manual?
in those cases ill use TTL or TTL-BL flash. i only use manual flash for aquariums. for general photography, the TTL flash works, and it works well. for cases like this, ill meter off the background i want to capture, like a bright outdoors scene through a window, or sunset sky. in these cases metering for your subject will cause the background to be blown out completely.

so i meter for the background and fire a test shot. if i like the way the background looks, ill then set the flash to TTL and fire another shot. if the subject is too bright or too dark, i wont touch the settings on the camera. instead ill adjust the FEC (flash exposure compensation) on the speedlight itself, depending on how much fill light i need. here's two examples:



for this one, i metered off the evening sky. since the light was low, i had to use a pretty slow shutter speed and high ISO. i then added a touch of fill flash to bring out the car. FEC was -2 to -3 if i remember correctly.


in this shot here, i metered off the tank and exposed only for the tank. since the tank is very bright in relation to the room, the exposure results in the rest of the room looking very dark. because of the big differences in lighting between the tank and the room, you CANNOT expose for both correctly. if you expose for the tank, the room will be very dark. if you expose for the room, the tank will be blown out and will appear almost white.

[URL="http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=512168&thumb=1&d=1279767699"][/URL]


now look at this shot. i used the same exposure as i metered for the tank (the shot above). i then took my speedlight and bounced it off the ceiling. the result is a good exposure for the tank AND the rest of the room.

 
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