Aquarium photography fail: I went to the aquarium to shoot fish, ended up with birds.

Last week I decided I’d spend this weekend shooting as much as possible. That included going to the Long Beach Aquarium – a place I hadn’t been in maybe 8 years, but one that I wanted to try out some macro fish shots. I especially had my eye on the jellyfish and the seahorses.

I ordered a rubber lens hood off of Amazon for about 7 bucks but it hadn’t arrived by the time I was going. Michele said I didn’t necessarily need one and that all I had to do to make sure there was no reflection was to put the lens straight on the glass. I figured that would be slightly limiting but there was no deviating from this weekend’s Sunday plans to go to LBC as I wasn’t sure when I’d have time to go. The shot below isn’t even in focus:

My arms were sore from the 7 mile hike to Devil’s Chair the day before, so that made it a bit harder to hold up the heavy camera. Also, the glass made it impossible to get a clean shot. Some of the larger tanks it was ok; the lighting was bright and the fish were slow. Glass tanks that had Jellyfish and Seahorses were so magnified it was impossible.

I’ve seen beautiful photos of jellyfish, but most were taken in the wild and/or more scientific settings and not zoo’s. I was hoping with such readily available subjects that I’d get some good ones to share but none of the ones I grabbed are very clear. After 20 minutes of fussing with settings and lenses, Michele just took my camera, put it on Program, and shot the jellyfish. They ended up being the best ones, but still not what I had in mind.

As for the seahorses, I was slightly disappointed I wasn’t able to nab even one usable one. Seahorses are my favorite creature, they are ridiculous little animals and I love them. But the curved glass wasn’t something I readily understood from a photo standpoint. So, no seahorses. But I did get some interesting shots of the Lorikeet birds – very colorful birds you can interact with. My macro lens is really fast, and has a sharpness my go-to one does not.

Overall it was a fail, but I had fun since I like all of the creatures at the aquarium. I just don’t know how to get good pics of them. :/


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1 Response to Aquarium photography fail: I went to the aquarium to shoot fish, ended up with birds.

  1. Rick Alonzo Photography says:

    Those jellyfish shots have great potential. Maybe some tweaking in post? They seem sharp, which is an important place to start. Anyway nice job overall. Sounds like you learned a lot, and that’s not to be overlooked.

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