Since it is a short week I decided to tackle a soft and somewhat gooey subject.
I spent a few hours at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto last week and, as usual, brought along my camera. This was my second trip to Ripley's Aquarium, the first was with a photo group. This time the shooting was secondary to visiting with a friend in town on vacation.
The first thing I'd like to state is that I haven't been ecstatic about my results on either of my visits. It isn't an easy place to shoot. In general the areas are dimly lit and it tends to be a very busy place. Youngsters get under foot and adults are apt to walk into your shot unless you are next to the tank. All this and you are shooting through thick glass with lots of reflections. Still, it is fun to shoot there and I have taken a few shots that I like; especially the jellyfish!
The jellyfish tanks are lit for maximum visual effect, accenting their beauty as they ride the currents and creating stunning abstract scenes. Additionally the glass does not seem to be as reflective as in other areas, making for clearer images with less light pollution.
Because of the even lighting and narrowness of the tanks I was able to use both a manual exposure and manual focus. This allowed faster shooting without danger of auto focusing problems. I used my Sigmas 70mm Macro lens at f2.8 for all shots. This allowed for faster shutter speeds and sharper images, although I wasn't too concerned about sharpness. I didn't have my tripod with me because the crowds don't lend themselves to setting up. A monopod would have helped I'm sure.
I've read a few articles about shooting at aquariums that offer good advice. An obvious tip is not to use your on camera flash. (You'll end up with big white blown out patches on the image!) The Nikon USA website recommends a rubber lens hood. This will allow you to shoot against the glass, shutting out reflections. Try to shoot at right angles to the glass. This will limit distortions. Lastly focus on close fish. The farther away the subject, the softer the image due to the water between the lens and subject.
Although I haven't figured out the best time to go to beat the crowds I highly recommend visiting the aquarium and bringing your camera. I will share images of some of the other exhibits in a future post.
A Photo In The Life Of is a weekly PHOTO blog on LARRYLEWISPHOTO.COM. It is an evolution of my original blog A Photo in the life of that began in 2006. I hope to give a little context to my photography and maybe make a few new photography friends. To purchase a print visit Shop. If the image is not listed Contact Me for availability.