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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me first say that I use the Zonatum as my "practice subject" more often because he is very easy to manipulate...and the tank easy to light. I started using a second flash more often in my photos. They are connected together with a hard wire and attached to the sync cord that goes to the camera. As with most of my photos I use the aperture priority and shoot with as low as possible ISO...generally at 200. The lower the ISO the less noise, but also more light that is needed. Whenever possible I try and shoot with a high aperture to maintain the detail in the photo. Again...higher aperture...more light. That's why the second flash has come in handy.

THe majority of past photos I have positioned the flash directly above the fish pointing down. The light diffuser I use (Gary Fong) nicely evens it out to illuminate the fish. The down side of this is that you can't "wrap the light" around to the shadow side of the fish. TO somewhat alleviate this issue I use a portable reflector...sometimes on the side, other times under the tank pointing straight up. This works great, but I found that I had lees control than I wanted. The second flash works great. The challenge was finding the right combination of settings. The general set up is having the main light (with diffuser) on one side...and the other flash (without diffuser) on the other. The flash without the diffuser throws a more concentrated stream of light even with the built in flash diffuser. The reflector moves around depending on what I am trying to fill.

Once the fish is within the sweet spot of the lighting I take the photograph. As I said before, the Zonatum is really predictable and easy to manipulate into position. I have found that a few minutes of "finger play" combined with stepping back made him travel to the area I wanted stop, turn and dip down toward the bottom of the tank on his way to turning back to the other side. I wanted a shot that would illuminate both sides plus the bottom. The entire photo session I shot maybe 80 photos...not all with this pose...maybe half. Of it I got two that I really liked...both are somewhat similar.

Here's the first. I like it, but I thought I needed just a little more light on the right.



Here's a much better shot...both lighting and composition. The plants (all silk) on the left really adds to the overall composition.



I thought I would put together a little diagram of the lighting set up. If you have questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer.



Here's another shot with the same lighting configuration. The main difference here is that the aperture was a lot lower (5.6) which caused the depth of field to somewhat suffer with the detail at the back half of the fish. Still a nice shot. I like the blacked out BG look. The lack of plants in the photo doesn't detract from the composition IMHO.



In this photo you can see that the fish is closer to the flash on the left. The light is much more concentrated on the side of the fish. The diffused light did a great job on making the colors POP on the other side. The reflector caught more of the direct flash illuminating the belly.



Final shot...a close up taken in the sweet spot of the flash zone. I really like this shot.



If I can answer any questions...please ask.

Mo
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Kramerpit said:
Your pics look amazing. I have one of a jaguar cichlid and its brood on my desktop. What camera and settings do you use?
Settings vary. I usually shoot using aperture priority with the aperture around F18 - F22. Several cameras...but the workhorse is the Nikon D300 or the Nikon D3. I used the Nikor 105 mm Macro VR lens for these photos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Kramerpit said:
thanks man. I really like the pics. I noticed your posts at some other sites too.do you use the macro setting ?
There's no real setting for this lens. It's a macro lens....just allows me to get in close when I want.

And...thanks.
 
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