All the Little Fishies

Here are a few of my favorite photos from our recent visit to the Georgia Aquarium. This place is huge. The main tank... wow. Just... wow. If you have a few hours to kill and are in downtown Atlanta, Georgia (and can cough up a hefty chunk-o-change for admission), I highly recommend going.

One of the smaller whale sharks via the huge viewing window of the enormous main tank. There are glass tunnels and a whole slew of viewing windows for just this one tank.

Technical Details
Aperture Value: f/3.5
Focal Length: 19 mm
Exposure Program: Program
ISO: 200
Shutter Speed Value: 1/30 sec
Filter: UV

Over in one of the smaller exhibits. This sea turtle was being very photogenic.

Technical Details
Aperture Value: f/5.6
Focal Length: 18 mm
Exposure Program: Program
ISO: 400
Shutter Speed Value: 1/100 sec
Filter: UV

The big tropical reef tank. Yes, it does curve overhead and there are waves crashing above. I have no idea who these people are, but they were providing some good photo composition. Thanks random unknown people. :)

Technical Details
Aperture Value: f/9
Focal Length: 28 mm
Exposure Program: Program
ISO: 400
Shutter Speed Value: 1/320 sec
Filter: UV

Tips for Taking Aquarium Photos:

1.) Turn off the flash. It will just bounce off the glass and cast annoying reflections or mess up the image entirely. If you can't turn it off, press your lens up to the glass, or make sure you take photos at an angle to the glass to minimize reflection.

2.) Put your camera in manual mode (if it has it). This way you have better control over your exposure. Your camera will try to expose the image much too bright for the aquarium lighting. Under expose the image a stop or two if possible. This way you can turn that flash off and still be able to have the shutter speed fast enough to prevent blur. The rule of thumb is you can hand hold a camera without blur if the shutter speed is 1/focal length. For example if you are at 18mm, you can get away with hand holding the camera up to 1/18 second. Also, keep in mind that the fish are moving, which may also create blur.

3.) Put your camera in night mode if your camera doesn't have manual mode. Since you are shooting indoors and in a fairly dark environment, most of the time you want to preserve this atmosphere in your photos. Night mode was designed exactly for this type of lighting situation. Try it out.

4.) Increase the ISO. Typically your camera will be using (or be set to) ISO 200. By increasing the ISO, you increase the light sensitivity. I found that I don't like using anything greater than 400 because the image gets to grainy. The higher the ISO the grainer the photo. This becomes really obvious in images with lots of dark colors. However, play around with this setting and see what works for you. Rumor has it that digital cameras are going to finally ditch this sometime soon as it's really a carry over feature from film. There is really no good reason why it's used in digital photography.

5.) Use post editing to fix images. If you goof up your photos, use a photo editor to tweak the images after the fact. Photoshop has some nice photo filters/adjustment tools if you take your photos as JPEGs. If you take them in RAW or TIFF, you will have much more control over the exposure settings during post editing.