Shooting in Aquariums

shooting in aquariums

On a recent trip to Vancouver Canada, I decided to stop by the aquarium. And why wouldn’t I? Fish are cool. Of course, most people want to take a bit of that aquarium home with them. What better way to do this, than with a photo.

This is where the issues arise. Most people do not account for the fact they are shooting through glass and water.

I can see it now, a beautiful orange fish. The flash fires, the picture is taken; all that is visible is glare. Remember that glass I was taking about? Yea, that is why it’s a problem.  At this point people with cell phones have a choice, either continue to capture your flash reflection. Or you can turn the flash off and get some somewhat shaky pictures. Most around me went with option one.

Those with point and shoots were left in the same position as the cell phone folks. Of course, there was the option of a tripod.

Oh the tripod. Mount the camera, slow the shutter, good to go. It works wonderfully. Wonderfully poorly around people. In an area where 30 or more people are squeezing into the same area, time is not on your side. Extended exposures are not an option, let alone setting up a large tripod.

Now you are screwed. Well, unless you have a dslr. While you will have no luck shooting in auto mode for the reasons stated above, manual will be your friend.

A speedy sharp shot can be accomplished with some experimentation. Bring the ISO up. Between 400 and 800 should do quite nicely. Now, pop your aperture to about 7 or 8. I would recommend raising the exposure as well. You should be good to go with a speedy dark shot.

While settings will change camera to camera, location to location. I have found that it is pretty reliable.

Another hint, lights and people behind you will have a tendency to reflect in the glass of the tanks. This will show up in your photos. To solve this, simply stand directly in front of what you are shooting. It will prevent any light from reflecting into your shot.

Category: How to