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Advice needed for full shot/scaping

Discussion in 'Aquatic Photography' started by Anti-Pjerrot, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. Anti-Pjerrot

    Anti-Pjerrot New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
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    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    I need some help with the photosetup for my 60cm.

    I need to take some pics doing the setup:

    Materials used
    Plants
    Preparation of plants
    Preparation of the tank - equipment
    Layout of substrate, dw, rocks ect.
    Planting
    Finalizing

    I got a Nicon D80 w. standard kit 18-55. No external flash. Tripod.

    The tank light is 3 x 24 W T5 - Grolux, 10.000K and a LifeGlo II.

    Additionally I got a 300W MH floor lamp 2700K, and 3 x 20W CF 6000K lamp.

    I plan to buy a 1,5m x 3m black velour sheet to use as a background for the hole setup (Only for the pictures). And I will use a white bagground for the tank it self.

    So - any good advice how to get the best out of it?
    Im thinking of placement of the light, shading outside light ect.

    Heres a scetch of how the tank is placed in the room. The room is very bright and all white.

    [​IMG]

    How close should i take pictures with the standard kit to avoid "bending of the edges" (Cant remember the correct word for that).

    Any good advice is welcome.
     
  2. George Farmer

    George Farmer Aspiring Aquascaper

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
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    Location:
    UK
    Hi Kristoffer

    Personally, I would block out as much natural light as possible and rely on your tank/other lighting over the top of the tank. This is more controllable and reflections won't be an issue.

    Experiment with your other lighting fixtures and get as much light as possible, especially when shooting anything moving (fish), so you can use a fast shutter speed whilst maintaining a high depth of field (f/11 or higher).

    So much light isn't so important when shooting static objects - your 3 x 24w should be fine. If you shoot in RAW you can have more control over white balance etc. without compromising image data.

    Use the higher focal length (50-54mm) and shoot from furthest away to minimise curvature. 55mm and you may lose sharpness with kit lenses at the extremes of focal lengths.

    Experimentation is the key though and the best way to learn.

    Good luck. I look forward to seeing the results!
     
  3. Anti-Pjerrot

    Anti-Pjerrot New Member

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    Feb 25, 2008
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    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Thanks George.

    When taking full tank shots, without fish - what aperture should be the minimum for a this tank (60x30x36cm)?

    I know that the colors from the lights I have give an odd whitebalance if not set properly, but I have no experience with setting it manually.

    Could I set the whitebalance before I shoot, ex. on a sheet of paper placed in the tank (Before its filled)? Could that spare me the work of adjusting WB?

    Any other good way to ensure the colors are true?

    (I have not much experience with this cam, and no other DSLR exp.)
     
  4. defdac

    defdac New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
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    Location:
    Sweden
    Nikon Lens: Zooms - Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX Nikkor (Tested) - SLRgear.com!
    For the kit-lens you have it seems 35 mm f11 is the real sweetspot regarding sharpness.

    As George says, shoot in RAW-format. Then you don't have to worry getting the whitebalance exactly right when shooting - all information is in the RAW-file so you can adjust it afterwards. That said, when I myself is shooting RAW I tend to go for the "cloudy" setting so the "default" whitebalance is somewhat correct - or at least relatively true to how it looked like in the room.

    In extreme conditions (dog shows inside with ugly flourescent lighting only) I set the whitebalance manually by first shooting a white or gray area out of focus and then use the picture to set the manual white balance. On dpreview I can see the Nikon term for this is "White bal. preset". When I use this in my tank I use a white piece of plastic tilted 45 degrees, but this is kindof hard when you have different bulbs and I have never really got it to work extremely well. The colors doesn't get as vibrant as the actual experience of the tank IRL.

    One important thing is ofcourse to cover the light strips completely so no direct light from them is getting to the camera.
     
  5. Anti-Pjerrot

    Anti-Pjerrot New Member

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    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Thanks for the link defdac ;)
    That explained a lot for me.

    Im not experienced in any way with PS, so just adjusting whitebalance can be a job it self... Well. I guess i can find a simple toturial for it.
     
  6. Maciek

    Maciek Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Jul 3, 2008
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    Location:
    Cracow, Poland
    If you want to avoid bending you should choose focal length at about 50mm. But it is useful to learn how to neutralize te curviness is PS, as shooting at wider angle gives you more depth (when taking a front tank shot). I take all my photos at 18mm and then correct them in PS - if I took a photo at for ex. 50mm, it would look flat, I'm afraid. And if you don't want to learn PS you can always send the photo to me ;)
     

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