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  • Photography Tips

    Hi guys, thinking of entering my 2ft scape into the LCA competition as I have always wanted a paludarium.

    I was wondering if you guys had tips on lighting, angles, editing - the lot really.

    I have a basic DSLR and have played around in lightroom a couple of times for some car photography, other than that I am still relatively new.

    All input is greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Hey man,
    Check this out

    https://youtu.be/Rxnz_MRHg04

    and this

    https://youtu.be/EHnmLAJ0t8s

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    • #3
      Above 2 vids are pretty good from what i skimmed. One thing I dont understand is the "need" for the fan to create "ripples"? Wouldnt this just cause some shadows and not add anything to the photo?

      If you dont have external lights/strobes/etc there is another technique which worked fairly well for me in the past. Basically set camera on a tripod and use shutter remote or timer (to reduce camera shake) and set a slow shutter speed (can get up to a few seconds depending on tank, camera, settings, etc). Turn all lights off in the room outside of the tank to prevent glare and other light getting in. Turn the water off to prevent plants swaying, etc. However, this will result in fish being blurred to some extent (or completely) depending on the fish and length of shot.

      Otherwise, your best bet would be to use 2-3 light sources i would think. 1 from the top to eliminate most shadows, and one angled at like 45 degrees from left and right sides to prevent shadows under things caused by the top flash. This would light up the whole tank. A constant light behind the tank may add an interesting effect (I think it was doyle and his blackwater tank that had this set up? I could be wrong but its def some one on the forum who had a bookshelf tank and ran a yellowish LED behind the tank which gave a great effect.) depending on your scape and add to the illusion of depth.Or if you have no substrate, than lighting from bottom would also give a interesting effect from what i've seen online.
      "The stuff I buy is a bit pricey however it is as dry as a nuns nasty" - BigDaddyAdo

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      • #4
        Thanks guys! I'll give these a go and post the progress here.

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        • #5
          Just to add to what the guys said, practice with your camera before and be patient, try different settings too. The ripples might be a bit overkill and not necessary, not all tanks look great when shot slightly from 'below', depends on your scape, etc (tho it would be fun to try hah). Take pictures at night to avoid lights or reflections and all other lights in the room turned off. I get good enough results just by using the tank's light (if you have a remote flash I guess it'd be even better but...play with what you have).

          Plan in advance when you want to take the final shots, so you can trim the plants accordingly now, to let them grow to the point you like them. Also do a big clean up and water change 1 or 2 days before

          And good luck!
          Last edited by DDM; 22-04-18, 01:08 PM.

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          • #6
            All good points above, personally I just use the aquarium light, try make sure the rest of the house is dark and remove all equipment, I have found best to use a lens with a focal length of about 20 - 25mm, I like to use a fstop of about 4-5 so most of the tank is in focus from front to back and a shutter speed of about 1/160. ISO lower the better but with a decent camera you can get away with an iso of 800 or even 1600.

            One day I would like to play around with extra lighting, as Indir said I have used a LED strip light behind my bookshelf tank before (not for the current blackwater but older scape) it gives a interesting effect that could be worth trying!

            Shoot in RAW and in photoshop / lightroom generally reduce the highlights so blown out areas come back a bit, play with the shadows and sharpen the photo!

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            • #7
              Okay guys I've followed most of your great tips and this is what i've come up with.

              I used what I had on hand, canon 1000D, 50mm lense.

              I don't have any external lighting so I ended up using my tank light (ecotech radion) with a up aqua pro z 3ft aquarium light behind the tank (has a weird purple hue).

              For the ripples I just left my filter on, my scape pretty much hides all my piping.

              Went ahead and trimmed the stems a week before to get those fresh tips growing. The red stems were recently placed, they aren't even rooted. Some of them are floating just so I can get a little more height haha. I got deadlines to meet!

              I went with F8.0, shutter speed 1/160, iso 800. I couldn't find a setting that would allow the fish to be crisp whilst having the scape not blurred or too dark.

              For some reason it looks a lot more white when posted on the forum. In lightroom, there isn't as much white 'glare'. I'm assuming its from uploading?

              What do you guys reckon?

              Setup



              Pre edit



              Post edit

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              • #8
                That is a great start.
                I think an obvious part that will need some work is the deep shadows on the right hand side. Some kind of light lower on the left side shining across to the right to remove that dark area possibly.
                One of the problems that you can run into if you do use multiple lights is having different types of light sources that can affect your white balance. 6500k LED's from above but 4000k incandescent bulbs from the side etc. Not a lot most of us can do much about as we dont have a pro studio to work in.
                Training your fish to swim into that blank space and pose for the shot shows that you are pretty close to being a master aquascaper. I bet that never happens again.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Madmerv View Post
                  I think an obvious part that will need some work is the deep shadows on the right hand side. Some kind of light lower on the left side shining across to the right to remove that dark area possibly.
                  I agree, the shadowing is quite annoying, I thought I could fix it during editing but couldn't. Need more external lighting!



                  Originally posted by Madmerv View Post
                  Training your fish to swim into that blank space and pose for the shot shows that you are pretty close to being a master aquascaper. I bet that never happens again.
                  I have quite strong flow from the filter creating a current against them so they school up nicely in that negative space, they almost always hang around there. All that was left was to get them facing the same direction, to do this I starved them for 2 days so they follow my hand. It was just an idea but it worked quite well!

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                  • #10
                    Nice work!!

                    I really like the tank. I think it photographs well because the subject matter is good. You can't make a bad tank good in post processing.

                    Ideally you need a higher F stop if possible to improve your DOF.

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                    • #11
                      Good luck to everyone who entered the comp! I've seen a few familiar ones Just voted

                      Shame FB upload such a shit quality images..

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                      • #12
                        really useful advice! I am grateful to you for this!

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                        • #13
                          I am grateful to you for your helpful advice. this is very important for aspiring photographers. I study this area in detail and hope that I will achieve great success and my photographs will be seen by millions. I admire the work of contemporary photographers and it inspires me. most of all I like photography of natural landscapes by alexander vershinin. he is a talented person
                          Last edited by kamila44; 19-07-21, 10:18 PM.

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