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Thread: Big Jim...... how do you do that with your camera?

  1. #1

    Big Jim...... how do you do that with your camera?

    Big Jim....

    How do you get those pictures?

    Can you help me understand?

    What photo edit software or is that raw?

    What lighting?

    I have tried about 5000 times to replicate it. Seems I have to adjust temperature to get the blues out. Just can't seem to get it right.

  2. #2
    Director of Membership BigJim's Avatar
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    Jan 2015
    I just use my phone... lol

    I was going to try to type something quick, but there is no quick answer. I will try to put something together during my lunch break today. If you are using a DSLR and macro lens and want to know my settings, you can get them easily.

    Click on my photo on the website to go the the Photobucket link
    Copy the "Direct" http address to the right of the photo
    Paste the address in this website and see the setting and any adjustments I made in Photoshop:

  3. #3
    Director of Membership BigJim's Avatar
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    Jan 2015
    Having a DSLR camera and a macro lens is a big part of it. I have a Nikon D7000 camera with a Tokina 100mm macro lens. You can find good used cameras and lenses on eBay or Craigslist. You can get good pictures with a standard lens too, or even your phone, but you need to find a way to get the blues out. A lot of people use orange gel filters to do that, but I feel like a lot of those pictures look fake.

    I am going to assume you are using a DSLR for the rest of this post.

    Shooting coral through the glass

    Shoot in RAW mode. If you are shooting through the glass, turn off all pumps, use a tripod, shoot with the lens at a 90 degree angle to the glass, and set your camera to aperture priority mode. The camera automatically sets everything except focus and f stop in aperture priority mode. I use manual focus, but you could even use an auto focus lens and only have to worry about f stop. The f stop sets the depth of field which meant nothing to me when I first started playing with the camera. Depth of field is basically how much of the coral is in focus. F stop of 2.8 will only have a small portion of the coal in focus. F stop of 20 will probably get most or all of the coral in focus. The only other trick for shooting through the glass is to use the timer on your camera to avoid any shake from pushing the shutter button.

    Shooting coral from the top down

    Shoot in RAW mode. I use an Avast Marine Porthole so the picture is basically taken under water and I get no reflection from the lights. I have to use full manual mode for these shots because aperture priority mode sets the shutter speed too slow to shoot free hand without motion blur. I typically set the shutter speed to 1/400, the ISO between 250 and 400, and the f stop between 9 and 12. You may be able to go with a slower shutter speed and lower ISO if you have a steadier hand. The pictures get darker as f top increases, as shutter speed decreases or as ISO decreases. Going too high with ISO will cause grainy images. You just need to find the balance for your tank. I use these settings when shooting fish as well, but it is a challenge. I have to take about 15 shots to get one good fish photo. A lot of people use the flash for fish shots but I usually do not.

    Post photo processing

    I use Photoshop but Light Room is a little easier. There is a $10 monthly charge for Photobucket and Light Room. I usually only adjust white balance (higher number takes out the blue), exposure (brightens or darkens the image), tint (my camera tends to make photos look too green), contrast, and clarity (sharpens the image if the focus is a little off). I usually set the white balance to somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 K, but I need to set it higher for blue or purple corals. I usually set the contrast and clarity at 10 just to make the photo a little sharper. Exposure is something you will need to adjust as needed based on how dark or bright the picture is.

  4. #4
    Director of Membership BigJim's Avatar
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    Jan 2015
    Here are some bullet points for people like me who can’t read more than a paragraph without beginning to daydream about a JF Homewrecker.

    Through the glass
    • Shoot in RAW mode
    • Turn off all pumps
    • Use a tripod
    • Shoot with the lens at a 90 degree angle to the glass
    • Use aperture priority mode
    • Adjust f stop for depth of field (higher f stop = more coral in focus)
    • Use the timer

    Top Down
    • Use Avast Marine Porthole or similar product if possible
    • Hold on tightly to the camera and be careful to not go deeper than the Porthole and get the lens wet
    • Shoot in RAW mode
    • Use manual mode
    • Shutter speed as fast as possible without motion blur (1/400 for my shaky hands)
    • ISO as low as you can go and still have enough light in the photo (between 250 and 400 for me but going much higher will make the photos grainy)
    • F stop to your liking but too high will make the photos too dark (I usually stay between 9 and 12)
    • Use these same setting for fish photos but take a lot of pictures because most of them will suck

    Post Processing
    • I use Photoshop but you can use Light Room or even one of the free photo editing software packages.
    • Adjust white balance to remove the blue hue
    • Adjust exposure to brighten or darken the photo
    • Adjust tint if the color is not matching what you see in the tank
    • Play around with the other features to see

  5. #5
    Jim! Thanks! I'm going to try it.... stay tuned!

  6. #6
    Def post some results Daryl. Thanks OP for the writeup!!!! My photos suffer blur and odd color skew no matter how i configure my leds over the tank. Ill try some of those settings on my camera and editing software when i get some free time.

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