This website is dedicated to Ol'Conrad. He passed away shortly after Christmas, 2013. He had made stupendous contributions to our hobby through his dedicated and careful breeding of aquatic animals. He was a good friend and best buddy of Pete's and will not only be missed greatly by Pete, the hobby will forever have lost a valuable friend and asset. But his progeny will live on forever in his memory.
Lotsoffish fanciers attempt to take photos of their fish, and more often than not, the results are not a good representative of what is in the water that, the hobbyist is so proud of. Hopefully this page will help a whole lot of you get further along on producing the results you were after.
Pete and I ran a contest on Aquaboards.com asking members to submit photos; both their worse and best results and, tell what camera they used. To encourage participation I offered, without asking Pete first, as a prize, a nice box-o-crap to be sent to the winner and a not-so-nice-box-o-crap to the worse picture.
At the bottom of this page, after all the entries are viewed and the information as to what camera, Pete and I will also give you suggestions on how to use the camera of your choice. Knowing how makes as much difference as using the right equipment.
Please be aware the results will depend a lot on the ability of the person behind the camera and the results may vary from person to person with, the same camera. In others words - just because we show some crappy photos, does not necessarily mean that camera used was crappy.
Here are the entries in order of submission, none at the time of producing this page have been determined awesome or crappy.
BTW taking good pictures of live moving animals behind glass in water tain't a snap!
tetratetra's three entries
Canon Powershot A590
all important atmospheres for best photos. "
"Here is some of my favorites the hubby has taken for me.... ME you cant tell there is ACTUALLY a fish in the photo, let alone WHAT fish it is..... seriously.
camera, old Canon Powershot a640
thats been dropped a few to many times."
Please notice, her entries are quite abit larger that Tetratetra's. I did not specify a size and I am glad I didn't. Look at the difference in sharpness between T's above and these submitted by H. The larger images have a tendency to fuzz up and getting great pictures with a higher resolution takes practice. HCA75's are quite good considering the size of the photo.
Also, taking the higher resolution for larger photos will also show you need to clean the glass inside and out before taking prize winning shots. :)
Nabobmob1's three entries. the only info given was Just got info "Yes that was a canon set on "Aquarium mode"
"Powershot A580and I assume that would be a Canon."
There is a lot of room here to yack so I will take this space to talk a brief bit about resolution.
Resolution is the capability of the sensor to observe or measure the smallest object clearly with distinct boundaries.
There is a difference between the resolution and a pixel. A pixel is actually a unit of the digital image. Resolution depends upon the size of the pixel.
The smaller the size of the pixel, the higher the resolution will be and the more clear the object in the image will be. Images having smaller pixel sizes occupy more space on the disk.
The term resolution is often used for a pixel count in digital imaging, even though American, Japanese, and international standards specify that it should not be so used, at least in the digital camera field.
if ya want to get really into the info.
Creativeaquarist's three shots.
"All three taken with Fujifilm O.I.S. 8 X zoom which, goes to
show a photographer can not always blame the camera."
Guess which is the crappy entry?
Beth has submitted several but each is different as you will read.
"I am more of the school of thought that lighting and settings make much more difference than what model camera. These aren't my best pictures but may demonstrate what I mean.
I took this outside with an old Olympus.
That purple HRP really was light purple. Natural light give the most accurate colors."
"After I got the camera focused on the opening of the cave I moved it forward about 4" so the inside of the cave (which was impossible to focus on) would be clear."
Canon XSI DSLR
"Flash does weird things. These were very nice guppies but not as vividly blue as the flash makes them seem."
Similarly light and reflective fish but with very different backgrounds."
"Not a great picture but the lighting is very even. I have cool white LED strips shining in from the sides instead of from above. Almost no shadows."
"Aquarium Mode....this is a pic i took awhile back...i am such a terrible photographer that the wife had to confiscate the camera.......LOL "
I told John I did not think it is that bad, but is rather artsey fartsey. Is his wife holding back a repressed artist? LOL Karen
Here are some of my favorites from my Discus tanks. Nothing special about the camera, just taken with an
old Sony Cybershot.
Lighting is the hardest thing I found, that and the crappy camera. Unfortunately later I got a good Canon 5D2 camera but had not tanks.
FUJIFILM T350 with 10x zoom
" I recently got a new camera, its simply awesome even for a camera tard like me, it does water scenes like magic and even has an anti vibration thingie so if i move the shot stays focused!
it remembers the focal point and automatically stays focused on that particular thing, be it fish or person. I cant say enough about it!!
Ohhh, even on zoom for taking pics of fry, its awesome, tells me when its focused and ready ta just push the button!!
Its the FUJIFILM T350 with 10x zoom, heres a couple of examples, and those of you who have seen some of my pictures in the past, will be surprised LOL...zoom, here's a couple of examples, and those of you who have seen some of my pictures in the past, will be surprised LOL...
Nabobmob1 submitted more taken with his
newest camera. "These were taken with a Canon Rebel
T3i, Manual settings and manual focus varying the ISO and focal ratio, in some cases using a +2 or +4 Macro Filter. Most of the time I do not use any flash." This is a DSLR.
Here I will talk briefly about two types of digital cameras a person can buy.
Point and shoot digitals and DSLR (digital single lens reflex). There is myriad of camera style and options, enough to send a person running in circles like the blind man in a round barn
searching for a corner to pee in.
Point and shoots are just that tho there are several programming choices to get the best
results. OR if you are a camera buff and have the bucks go for the DSLR.
These generally give the professional look we strive for. Because
the photographer can choice hundreds of options and use various lenses for
the desired results. I love the SLR but alas, not in my budget.
When taking photos with a point and shoot digital, aren't they all digital anymore, the best results are obtained with the room dark and all tank lights off except the ones for the tank or subject being photographed. I say subject because you might be wanting a great photo to put in one of your auctions. For that type of photo, I will give more details pretty quick.
Anyhow, irregardless of goal of the photo the lights must shine from above not in the back. OR do like Beth does and set the lights to shine on the subject from both sides. Beth uses cool white LED strips. I just move the fixture that is on the tank forward where it should be anyhow to show the fish in their best colors. Having the lights at the middle or the back create shadows and you will have dull fish.
Set your camera to aquarium mode if you have one that has such an option, or set it on macro which is depicted by a flower on the view screen, Do not aim the camera directly onto the tank or container as this will create a picture with flashback. Instead have a slight angle to the the glass and you will be more pleased with the results.
And I trust you were prepared and had the inside of the glass and the outside polished like a diamond! For older tanks there will probably be scratches but as of yet I have not found them to be that objectionable.
NOW - to take individual shots for your records or for auctions you can go to Kens Fish.com and in shipping, look for Tom Dip & Pour. These come in various sizes and the size of fish you are working with decides which container will work for you. If you are wise, you will use these for photographing fish only, not for any other purpose. It will then remain relatively scratch free if stored properly.
You will also need something for the background when using one of these boxes. Generally black works best and the black half of a old CD case works quite well. Just set it on the outside of the back. Of course with black fish, duh - NOT! You can also be creative and have fun choosing various colors and types of back grounds.
You will also plan ahead for the fish to settle down after netting them into the box filled with tank water, so perhaps go have supper and let them relax.
Now, here is where shooting with the point and shoot gets difficult. You will find there are probably several options to chose for your pictures. Like light balance, flash mode, ISO, manual or auto, macro, portrait, etc. Pete and I use a Canon Power Shot SD400 and these are the settings he told me to use.
"Ok and remember, I have been screwing around with these type cameras for about 10 years now.
Click the center button and set the camera on "my colors" then click down and set on vivid red. Click down further and set the camera on fine. Extra fine is even better but you won't get more than 5 or 6 any photos on your card with that setting. You will want to try to buy a 512 mb card when you can.
On the way back up make sure it's set for auto.
Now set it all the back up on the bell thing and click up until you have the square symbol, then move right and get another square symbol, next click left to get the flower symbol up, next click right to get the A with the arrow on." This will give you the idea. Do not email asking where is such and such on my camera, etc. cause all cameras are different.
The above shot I took a closeup of my rainbow shark, Epalzeorhynchos frenatum and my red-tailed black shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor) co-habitating happily in the 125 gal tank. The fish are a bit blurred but for a multitude of swimming fish, I do believe the little Canon did a superb job!
Now this picture. Pete snapped in a view box from Ken's. Notice how clean the box is, no scratches. and how clear the water is. PLUS the vibrant colors and patterns on his guppys. AND these of course these are a moving subject and he took several shots so he could pick the best, And with his little Canon Power Shot SD400.
If you have a DSLR I can not help you with camera settings.
Gary Lange had sent me instructions on using such a magnificent device but, durnitalltoheck, I can not find it now.
Gary - if you read this can you please resend it?
We have more area to cover and that is videos. The Canon Power Shot SD400 in my experience takes really crappy movies, yet Pete takes some decent ones. Perhaps he is using a second camera for that. ??
I use my Sony Cyber Shot and get grand results. Gary did send me this tid bit of information for capturing videos and of course like with stills, the room should be dark and usual lighting as for stills.
"Your videos are a bit more in focus than most I see though. A well edited video in general could sell more fish but most are lacking. My comments aren’t necessarily toward your videos but most videos in general.
1) a large portion of the video is just out of focus. Better focusing techniques could help along with editing out the fuzzy parts.
2) a lot of the video just seem so low res that it doesn’t do the fish justice. I don’t know if that happens after U-tube gets it and mashes it or what. I don’t know if something like using Vimeo instead would make it work better or whether people are just starting from such low light pics that everything is fuzzy to begin with.
3) People don’t set the color value (white balance) on their video or camera to match the lighting. The colors then come up off. Worse is low light and then those wonderful reds look black or worse.
4) They set their video camera on auto. When you go from dark to l, shutter speed & ISO keep them much closer to what you want to see.
5) Good set ups instead of a real messy raising tank. We all have those raising tanks but need to keep a few special tanks for photography & video work. I do believe that if a picture is worth a thousand words a video is worth a million. And a bad video just doesn’t help worth a darn J. I call most of the rainbowfish videos I see “swimming cockroach videos” because you often can’t even see it well enough to know what species it’s supposed to be!
Hey enough of my ranting though. Yeah I know put up or shut up. I will do better soon, just have to work in a very different mode than I do for still images. I don’t know what part of Florida you’re from but for what it’s worth I’ll be speaking at the Fort Meyer’s weekend bash June 19-21st in 2015, yeah over a year from now. The last one had a good list of speakers so perhaps something to put on your calendar as there will be a lot of different fish speakers there.
This video shows how difficult it is to focus in on the fish because the camera focused in on the decor. However,the video accomplished what I had in mind, to show the flashes of blue of these fish as well as their playfulness and move ability with their body style. One of my favs that I have.
Well, I have gobbled enough for one day at this point. We still haven't made any decisions as, we are looking for more information and photos to be submitted.
So there is still time and I WILL put them on this page, tho at the bottom cause I will be dratted if I move all of this to here to put everything in order. THE END.
Nice surprise this morning, an entry and I have an idea it will be the last. So, if our minds can agree Pete and I will be able to announce a winner by Friday May 10th 2014
"First Pic is of Pete's Full Green x Supercross Guppy Males
Second Pic is of a Partial See Through Blonde Guppy Female
Third Pic is of a Siamese Twin Platy...over exposed but still a cool pic :)"
"First two pics were taken with a Fujifilm FinePix S4830
15 MP 30x Superwide Zoom
Macro settings and Flash were used on all pics.
Small acrylic container was also used.
Third Pic was taken with a Kodak EZ share Z??? that quit working a few years ago
I remember it had 15x optical zoom :)"
The entire purpose of this contest was for helping us take better pictures of fish, suitable for public viewing in auctions, and for our own records.
There were many photos submitted that are superb however, most were not as sharp as this one were you can count the tiny while dots. AND the fish's main body is sharp.
Yes, there is fuzziness at the edges of parts of the fins and the background is blurred. This effect is very common in extreme close ups.
Nabobmob1 showed us with this picture, we do not need a high priced DSLR, to take quality pictures. (I still want one)
Congrats Nabob, be sure and send the mailing address where the awesome box-o-crap can be sent.
This is by far the crappiest submission! I mean we all get these but good grief woman, do you know what the delete button is for on your camera? LOL
This took up space that could have been dedicated to a really nice picture much like the others you let us see.
Question for you, where can Pete send you the box-o-crappy crap?
And are you sure you want it. Chances are he might clean out his can not throw-a-way box cause he might need something someday.
I really like this picture, however it is more of an artistic wanna frame or put on as wallpaper.
Not a photo to demonstrate the lines of the discus and the beauty of the fish itself.
Really cool Photo!
**The first one I had show up was 30ish years ago in a drop of 100 +Swordtail fry(just common run of the mill LFS fodder)...I didn't have a camera at the time that could get any sort of a pic of them, and for a few years I'd bring it up in conversation with experienced livebearer keepers only to be told it was "impossible"(sugar coating that word like you wouldn't believe) eventually I quit bringing it up, got a bit tired of the heated comments that would follow...LOL! So when this little one showed up...and I had a fairly good camera I absolutely had to make an attempt to get a few acceptable pics...more for documentation than to rub it into the "experienced ones" faces who had told me that a siamese twin fish was NOT possible :)
I was so thrilled to see that little fish :) I spent 4-5 hours and took about 1,000 pics to get the few acceptable shots of him....it's not easy (as you know) to get a decent fish pic...sometimes hundreds of pics for the one or two "acceptable" and by the time your done taking pics you are so sick of it you're ready to either throttle the fish that won't stop for a second or just throw the camera into the nearest fish tank, in this case it was throw the camera into the nearest tank...LOL!
It was a good camera...just had issues with such a tiny subject (btw I remembered the model of the camera Kodak EzShare z740). I had the stats wrong...was 5 MP and 10x optical zoom, image stabilization, and Macro settings was quite the little workhorse of a camera.
This was a fun contest and I hope you learned something that will help you.
The winners are announced next to their work PLUS I would like to thank all for taking their time to share their experience with us.
Beth what you did and always do for people is outstanding and seldom do you get accolades for your dedication to the hobby.
Please all go to the double stars ** toward the bottom of the page. There is further information that should be a inspiration for all us to keep trying in life and photography.
I love this picture, it is one of those once in a life time being ready with the camera at the perfect time to capture this gal in her own environment within the tank. Great Catch of the day!!