Aquarium Photography Part II Macro

Discussion in 'Aquarium Photography' started by RCBruce, Nov 9, 2008.

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  1. RCBruce

    RCBruce Astrea Snail

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    In my first article we learned a little of the basics to get started with. In this article I'd like to expand and get a little more in depth.

    SHUTTER & APERTURE
    Aperture - simply stated, this is how you control your 'depth of field.' When you focus on a point or object, you put it in focus by means of the camera's autofocus system. How much focus or clairity you have in front and behind that object is your 'depth of field.' If everything behind your focus point is blurry, you have a shallow dof. If everything to the horizon behind your subject is clear, you have a large or deep dof.

    Aperture and dof are controlled by a set of butterflies in the lens of the camera. These butterflies open and close to control how much light enters the camera. The size of this opening is measured in F stops, or stops of light. If you look at either your led panel, or the bottom of your viewfinder, you see 2 sets of numbers. The one on the left is always your shutter speed. The one on the right, usually preceeded by an F, is always your aperture.

    So what does the number mean? Think of it this way, a small number means a small or very shallow dof, and conversly, a large number means a deep or large dof. When you do macro, or close up photo's of your tank, you want a smaller number so everything behind your subject gets thrown out of focus. This is especially important in aquarium photography as we have so much in our tanks, if we have everything in focus, we loose our main subject. Almost all cameras now have an auto macro setting, symbolized by a flower. This will automatically put your F stop at the smallest number, therefore shallowest dof possible. It also helps the camera focus closer than normal, which most lenses have a minimum focusing distance of around 5 feet.

    Let's stop here a moment and recall something from article 1. Macro does NOT mean you can put your lens directly on an object. That is microscope, not macro. Besides, how would light get in if your that close? For further instructions, see article 1.

    Most slr lenses common these days have a minimum aperture of around 3.5 or 4. This is usually good for most of our concerns here. Any lens that has a smaller mimimum aperture, 2.8, 1.8, etc. are refured to as "fast" lenses. These are usually the lenses you see photographers using at sports events that have an opening so big it looks like you could shove a bowling ball in it. They are called fast for a reason that has nothing to do with dof! Are you now :confused:

    Aperture has an equal partner in making a photograph. This partner is called shutter speed. You can not adjust one without effecting the other. As you shallow your dof by making the F number smaller, you are allowing more light through the lens. As you let more light in, you raise the shutter speed.

    In front of your fim, or digital sensor, there are a set of shutter curtains, similar to a set of blinds. When you press the button to take a picture, these blinds open and close at a preset rate. This is where the button you press got it's name, "shutter button." This rate of open and close is your shutter speed. This is the number on the left. When you see 120, 500, etc., these are parts of a second that the shutter is open. 120 would be 1/120th of a second. The faster the shutter speed, the less blur you have in your pictures. Always remember, you never want to shoot from hand with a shutter speed of less than 60. Anything less, you need to have the camera mounted on a tripod.
     
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  3. Reef2Keep

    Reef2Keep Purple Spiny Lobster

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    Right on...good stuff and helpful. I'll have to search for your first write up now.
     
  4. schackmel

    schackmel Giant Squid

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    can you link the first article? Perfect timing....I just bought a new Sony Alpha 330 with a macro lens simply to take photos of the coral! It should hopefully be delivered tomorrow at the store! I cant wait!
    Thanks for the article!

    Now I need to look up how to get the luminesce (SP??) photos
     
  5. jmik26

    jmik26 Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

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    What would you recommend for aquarium photography and why?

    1. Canon EF 100mm Macro f/2.8L IS
    OR
    2. CANON EF 85mm f/1.2 II

    In my free time I have been doing some trial and error on aquarium photography and getting decent photos but I would like them to be better. So far I have only attempted to take pics of my fish because thats all I have. In the future I will be getting a reef tank and would like to do abstracts of corals.

    Right now I have a 40d, 50d and a slough of lenses. The biggest problem I have is shutter speed and DOF. I shoot everything in AV mode and even with ISO 1600 my shutter speeds are around 1/125 - 1/250 :-[. At ISO 1600 it has to be ran through noise reduction software and takes away from the image IMO. I would be interested in hearing what you reccommend... Jeff
     
  6. amcarrig

    amcarrig Super Moderator Staff Member

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  7. schackmel

    schackmel Giant Squid

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