Learner photographer sets about his 60 litre

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Maximumbob, 1 Jan 2008.

  1. Maximumbob

    Maximumbob Member

    Messages:
    119
    Location:
    Cheshire, UK
    Pictures taken with my new Nikon D40.

    I think I've a lot to learn about my lighting, depth of field and apatures!

    studytanksnap.jpg
    excuse the floating plants at the top... the fish are very sensitive. I plan to grow crypt. balansae up to the surface, but in the meantime its this floating weed :)
    boraras1.jpg

    boraras2.jpg
    Some of my beautiful boraras maculata

    vaillant-1.jpg
    A gorgeous caillant choc gourami - my favorite!

    CPDmale.jpg
    My celestial pearl danio
    borarisandCPD.jpg
     
  2. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Wonderful choice of fish, I was thinking of a Malay tank with boraras and chocolate gourami's. What KH and GH do you keep them in? Are Choc G's really as difficult as people say? I saw some in, of all places, my local pet supermarket last month and if I'd had a home for them it would have been hard to resist.

    My wife got a D40 for Xmas also, will have to try it on the fish too :D
     
  3. Maximumbob

    Maximumbob Member

    Messages:
    119
    Location:
    Cheshire, UK
    I have not found keeping mine difficult... until now. I have in the past few weeks been struck by a mystery illness that looks a little like fungus on the nostrils. It has now gone but I have lost 2 of my vaillant chocs. I have heard one other report of a similar incident where a vet couldnt identify a cause ?!?!?!

    My fish are kept at gh8 ph 6.1.2, lots of overhanging plants and some indian almond leaves to add humic and tanic acids. I use a mini surface skimmer as well.
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Maximumbob,
    Cool xmas present! A couple of others got this model and have done some great work. Lighting is really a challengen with tanks because there is so much variation across the different areas. It's not clear what camera settings you used with the shots (ISO, metering mode,shutter speed, fstop etc), what file type (jpg vs raw) or whether there was any post shot processing (Photoshop etc). There are a lot of ways to skin the cat so a good thing to do is to have that "exif" data that comes with each shot. That way it's easier to understand what corrections to make during or after the shot.

    In the first shot the highlights across the top seem to be totally blown out. If there is one bad thing about digital cameras it's that they don't handle overexposure very gracefully at all so sometimes it's necessary to compromise the shot settings to avoid this.

    This shot is overexposed to the extent that you can actually see some details in the dark areas like at the bottom right where the thermometer(?) is. Since that area is of no interest it would have been better to adjust the exposure down by 1 stop so that the thermometer and tank trim would go all black while the top would also be darker and therefore less blown out.

    So let's say you were in P ("program auto") mode and that the camera selected the following settings for the shot; ISO 400, f5.6 and 1/125 second. There are a few options you could use to lower the exposure but the easiest way is to use exposure compensation.

    This is the button, looking at the top of the camera, just aft of and to the right of the ON/OFF lever. It's labeled "+/-" If you hold this button down and spin the rear dial you'll see in the viewfinder numbers with + or the -. "+" forces the camera to make the photo lighter than it would ordinarily and while "-" makes the shot darker than it would. If you rotate the dial so that "-1.0" shows the shot will be "1 f-stop" darker. That effectively means that the shot will be twice as dark as if you hadn't fiddled with the dial. "-2.0" would mean the shot would be 2 f-stops, or 4 times darker and so on.

    You can just play with the compensation until you get an exposure that achieves the best compromise of well lit, medium lit and dimly lit areas across the frame.

    After each shot you can review the image and zoom in to review each area of the frame. If you are outside and if it is difficult to see the display image you can use the histogram to tell you if you have significant over/underexposure. If you want to know more about using the histogram let me know.

    Cheers,
     
  5. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    I'm sure I read of somone breeding them and some wild bettas from similar waters and saying he had problems keeping them long term and breeding them unless the water was very acidic. If I remember rightly a pH of 4 was used...

    Apparently at that acidity many pathogenic bacteria are unable to grow, so fish from waters that are naturally like that often succumb to bacterial problems because they have no natural resistance. The 'fungus' from the nostrils could be a systemic bacteria (it could, of course be something else too).

    Coincidentally, one of my new cichlids was stuck in shipping before christmas and only just made it. She'd lost her tail almost completely and was in a bad way. I stuck her in my quarantine tank (that also has a breeding quartet of killis in there) and added some Melafix and was rather worried she wouldn't make it.
    Now, less than a week and a half later her tail is fully re-grown and there was never any finrot or other bacterial problems as I was expecting. I tested the pH today; 4.1! Maybe that was part of the reason!
     
  6. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Does your tap water arrive out the tap PH 6.1 or do the almond leaves bring it down or are you doing some other treatment? I was thinking of using boiled peat under my substrate
    but not sure about ammonia leaching and tea coloured water.

    I have GH 8 too, so good news that works. Interesting comments from Ed - how do you get the PH down to 4.1 for the killi's - peat?

    Thanks for the tips Clive, I'll use them on my wife's new D40 when I try to photo the tank (I'm not as evil as it sounds, she expects me to figure the camera out so that I can explain it to her). I've ordered this book off Amazon at my brother in law's reccomendation: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-D40x-...bs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1199270735&sr=8-2
     
  7. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Just very, very soft water at the moment with some peat in the filter. I have to say that getting the pH that low wasn't intentional, I just try to keep the water very soft for the fish and then when testing it with a newly calibrated pH meter it was that low! I've changed some of the water since to bring the pH up a little as my main tank runs at pH 5.9 and I want to move the Pelvic to there now that her tail's healed.
     
  8. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    I have always loved the B. maculata, gorgeous little fish. Your hair grass certainly looks healthy too :)

    Sam
     
  9. Maximumbob

    Maximumbob Member

    Messages:
    119
    Location:
    Cheshire, UK
    I've been nosing around aquarium photo forums and have picked up a few pointers in the right direction.

    One thing I did find which will help me a lot is a small addon for firefox. It displays the EXIF data from the photos by right clicking on them and going to properties.

    I found it here- at least this allows me to learn from my mistakes a little easier :)
     

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