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How to lit zoo's aquarium

 
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zzffnn



Joined: 22 May 2014
Posts: 1454
Location: Texas USA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:00 pm    Post subject: How to lit zoo's aquarium Reply with quote

At our city's zoo, I tried to film creatures inside their aquarium. But light provided by the zoo was too dim for my camera and I have access to only one side of the zoo's aquarium (as opposed to having access to 4-5 sides of a home aquarium).

Please kindly comment, what would be the best way to lit/film aquarium creatures in my case?

Working distance is sufficient in my case, but that reflective aquarium side wall (which is my only access to light) seems to be a problem. With a home aquarium, I can easily film with light from top or sides, without causing light reflections.

I have a LED ring light and two high power LED torches that I can use. Camera is a cheap Olympus E-PM2 (micro four thirds), lens is Schneider Componon S 50mm F/2.8 reversed and on extension. On-sensor magnification would be mostly around 1x (0.5x, 1x or 2x).

Thank you and have a great day!
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houstontx



Joined: 31 Jul 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe a polarizing filter would cut down on the glare? I like that aquarium, they need to get rid of the tigers though Sad If you ever get the chance go to the Dallas "aquarium" its worth the drive, its great!
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zzffnn



Joined: 22 May 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you houstontx. I will try polarizers, though I suspect that may not be enough, as creatures (jellyfish, ect) are under reflective glass and light can only come from lens side.

I wanted to film leafcutter ants in their cutout terrarium/nest too. They were caring their larvae when I visited.
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Lou Jost



Joined: 04 Sep 2015
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Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that polarizers can certainly do the job, if the glass is really clean. You might bring one of those alcohol-impregnated lens cleaning tissues with you and wipe down the glass before working. In public places the glass often has a layer of grease that will cause flare and incomplete polarization. Also don't use your ring flash, try to increase the angle of the light with respect to the lens. Also use polarizers on both light and lens, and cross them so light hitting the sensor is minimized. This can be hard unless your lamps are rigidly attached to your camera (on some kind of long arms so the light is not axial).
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ChrisR
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Joined: 14 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fan, perhaps can hold a shaded light against the glass, so there is no reflection. A flash in a cardboard box?
Maybe an excuse for a "glamorous assistant"? Razz
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zzffnn



Joined: 22 May 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Lou and ChrisR.
The combination of those sounds like it would work. No assistant unfortunately (he would do more harm than help Evil or Very Mad ), just a huge gear bag with me.
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Pau
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the aquarium glass is acrylic polarization likelly will not work.

In some aquariums flash is forbidden because it could damage fishes eyes (or at least curators say it)
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zzffnn



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Pau.
I did check photography restrictions there and there is none. This would be mainly for ant terrarium. Jelly fish tank needs only a little more light. I won't use camera flash, just polarized LED torch at high angle.
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piczzilla



Joined: 26 Apr 2017
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:25 pm    Post subject: Lens skirt Reply with quote

Hi zzffnn,

I think a lens skirt would help with reflection (you can reportedly use flash with it too), but I'm not sure if the staff would let you use it, as it blocks the view from other visitors.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1051335-REG/lenskirt_lskirt1_lenskirt.html
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ChrisR
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a rubber lens hood, pressed against the glass?? One of the extending ones would let you angle the camera.
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zzffnn



Joined: 22 May 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ Thank you, guys.

You are right, I too am not sure about using the lens hood at the zoo. I can easily make something like that.

But I feel with my long arm LED torch and tripod, I may already be pushing the rules' limits and taking up too much space from other viewers.
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Olympusman



Joined: 15 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 12:03 pm    Post subject: Aquarium photography Reply with quote

I have photographed at museum type aquariums and have had very good results from holding the flash well above the camera on a coiled off-camera hot shoe cable. Right hand on the camera with a macro lens and left hand holding the flash well above the lens axis. The same principle as one-light copy photography.

Mike
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zzffnn



Joined: 22 May 2014
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PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Mike.

I mainly want to take videos under continuous light, instead of photos. But I will keep your advice in mind and try a single diffused well-above-camera LED torch next time.
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Irisoratoria



Joined: 02 May 2017
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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good way to take pictures is approaching the front of the lens very close to the glass. You can use a rubber lens hood that lets you absorb shock and allow you to eliminate stray light. As you get closer to the glass, optical quality improves. You can place lights or flashes 45º / 50º superfice glass to avoid reflections.
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