Low light, moving objects…..Shooting the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, Calif.

Aquarium of the Pacific, Photographer"s Night. A lesson in high ISO shooting. 2013

Aquarium of the Pacific, Photographer’s Night. A lesson in high ISO shooting. 2013

Photographer’s Night!! Wow, Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif. does a Photographer’s Night.

Bring your own gear, nothing but other photographers around. OK, so it sounds better than it was.

October 6, 2013.

I was in the first group, had my wheeled cart with gear. In the introduction lecture I saw that there were hundreds of photographers. Tons of equipment, from people with point and shoot cameras to pro systems. The second group would be an hour behind. Both groups together till closing with access to most of the exhibits.

I quickly found myself, being pushed around by other photographers, jumped in front of, and had shots ruined by other’s camera flashes going off and messing up my exposure or reflecting off the glass.

My gear was a liability, I would have been better off with just a couple lens, tripod, camera extras in my vest and backpack, a small 3 or 5-in-one reflector and camera. I used my reflector to block light reflections on the glass a couple times after the crowd thinned out. Oh, some water. I use a hydration backpack (large storage and water).

So, I’m Taoist-Buddhist, I wandered around, looking for where the others hadn’t reach yet. I was patience knowing, if I was pulling around too much equipment others were too. Others would take the snap shots their tablets, point & shoots and yes cell phones photos and go home. The crowd would thin out, just wait.

Group of Nautilus in tank. 6400 ISO 100mm f2.8 1/30 sec. 2013

Group of Nautilus in tank.
6400 ISO 100mm f2.8 1/30 sec. 2013

Single nautilus, spent 20 minutes chasing these around to get a decent shot. 6400 ISO 100mm f2.8 1/60 sec. 2013

Single nautilus, spent 20 minutes chasing these around to get a decent shot. 6400 ISO 100mm f2.8 1/60 sec. 2013

The tanks holding the fish, sea creatures, had a variety of lights, coloring the internal scenes. Black lights to show off the bio-luminescent. Here is a sample of what you get to shoot. AND YES, it is worth it, just be patience, wait for the crowds to thin out. Most of the people left after a couple hours and it was much easier to move around and get shots.

Sea Dragon, exhibit closes early, so go there and get your shots in the beginning when few are there. I found it late and the crowd had thinned out, but the light went out while I was there.  6400 ISO, 50mm f1.4 1/80 sec. 2013

Sea Dragon, exhibit closes early, so go there and get your shots in the beginning when few are there. I found it late and the crowd had thinned out, but the light went out while I was there.
6400 ISO, 50mm f1.4 1/80 sec. 2013

As you can see, these sea creatures and their backgrounds have movement. A faster lens lets you use a faster shutter. Flash just bounces off the glass, if you direct it in at the object and are too straight on and at angle you don’t get much light in. Bouncing the flash doesn’t get enough light in to the tanks (most are rectangle hole in the wall) to do much good. Of Course, everyone will thank you for the flash in their photos and faces.

I borrowed the 50mm F1.4  from my brother, but found that the Canon 100mm F2.8 did much better for the small animals.

Yes, that one you want shoot just moved to the back of the tank. Might try my 70-200mm F2.8 zoom just for the fun of it sometime.

Wild colors! 2013

Wild colors! 2013

BIG fish. People in the frame to show size. 2013

BIG fish. People in the frame to show size. 2013

Bright colors, fun to shoot! 2013

Bright colors, fun to shoot! 2013

Hypnotic to watch these jellyfish. Several tanks, different color lights, styles of tanks for different effects. 2013

Hypnotic to watch these jellyfish. Several tanks, different color lights, styles of tanks for different effects. 2013

Can't forget the seahorses. 2013

Can’t forget the seahorses. 2013

Shark egg case with hole to see baby shark growing in egg.  2013

Shark egg case with hole to see baby shark growing in egg. 2013

So, as you can see there is a lot of fun things to shoot. If you are patience you can try these kind of shots during regular hours, I don’t think they let tripods in so, High ISO cameras, fast lens (F/2.8 or better), and the patience to wait for everything to come together for a photograph. The new mirrorless cameras and latest generations of major DSLR cameras are raising the bar for ISO levels. Cell phones are getting more and more complex cameras in them, too.

If you have questions about any of these photographs or the techniques used to get them. Please ask me, leave a question in the comments. I love to heard from all of you the readers.

If you live in the Southern California area and want me to shoot for you, I am taking reservations for photography shoots after I get off my restrictions for this hernia surgery, and I am back up to carrying my gear. Photo-journalistic event coverage, environmental portrait/group shots, Street photography (I like cityscapes more than people, looking for good areas to chase the light. Post coming soon), and camping to do landscape, star and light painting. Of course, if you plan to visit the So. Cal. area, I would be happy talk to you about your needs as well. Got to pay for my photography habit somehow. End of March and forward I should be up and running. Limit myself in carrying gear, but looking for work. Till then,

Creative Shooting,

Peter

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All comments in artistic, opened minded opinions are welcome.

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