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Mountainscape V2

zig

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Hey thanks a mil everyone :D

Aw yes,the green dust algae , the smiley face was to cheer me up when I realised how bad it was :? This photo was probably taken coming near the end of its cycle, the rocks behind are looking pretty clean, I was probably cleaning them at this stage, it took hours with a toothbrush I remember that well, they were as green as the HC :D

DSC_0416.jpg


Here's some fishie photos, I have to say these are fantastic little fish, they suit a small tank so well.

DSC_0038copy.jpg




DSC_00251.jpg




DSC_0290.jpg
 

GreenNeedle

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Zig - Congrats on the scape and the result. Not often anyone from this side of europe gets anywhere near as close as you did there. All the pics in this thread are great seeing it in action so to speak and also to show others not to despair when things go bad etc.

That inline diffusor looks interesting. Where did you get it from? Do you have a link to anywhere that sells them? Its not even on the Boyu website. lol

Well done matey
AC
 

George Farmer

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Great thread, Peter. I echo my first reply regarding the aquascape.

Thanks for showing us the extra shots. Interesting on the algae too, I've never seen GDA that bad. And top tip on the impellar. Always innovating aren't you?!

Out of interest, did you use much 'digital darkroom' in the final full-tank shot. It looks almost too flawless. Or was it sheer hard work cleaning the rocks and pruning?
 

Dan Crawford

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George Farmer said:
Out of interest, did you use much 'digital darkroom' in the final full-tank shot. It looks almost too flawless. Or was it sheer hard work cleaning the rocks and pruning?
I'm sure peter can speak for himself but I have the original for using on a small part of our stand and I could see no evidence of digital darkroom. I know what you mean, it looks too perfect, I wish my tanks were too perfect, the only "too" I get comments on are "there are too many plants" :rolleyes:

Great work peter, I think we can all safely say the you've taken the UK and the rest of the world by storm with this scape. It's gonna be tough staying at the top but I was doubtful that you could improve on V1 and you've done so magnificently so no doubt you'll rise to the challange with typical Irish style.
 

John Starkey

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Hi Zig,i have just returned from lake garda italy and this scape reminds me some much of the northern end of the lake (lake garda is 35 miles long) ,absolutely stunning peter well done,regards john.
 

zig

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George Farmer said:
Great thread, Peter. I echo my first reply regarding the aquascape.

Thanks for showing us the extra shots. Interesting on the algae too, I've never seen GDA that bad. And top tip on the impellar. Always innovating aren't you?!

Out of interest, did you use much 'digital darkroom' in the final full-tank shot. It looks almost too flawless. Or was it sheer hard work cleaning the rocks and pruning?

George I am happy to clarify for everybody about the photos :D

George your probably looking at the algae covered tank and thinking hold on a sec, how could he turn that into the image in the opening shot. There is no trickery going on I assure you. The algae was a nightmare there is no doubt about that, but luckily it cleared in time a couple of weeks before the deadline so I could prepare the tank for the competition. As you have indicated It was sheer hard work tbh over several nights just to clean the rocks and the tank, they were cleaned and then cleaned again and again, and then more time was spent to whip it all into shape before the final photos were taken. The original competition photo entry and main photo in this thread are NOT photoshopped. I am sure you are not suggesting it is either, but given the events when the Asian entrant was found to be cheating this is a sensitive subject as I am sure you can understand from my point of view. I will try and give some background information about the photos.

I will just say that ANYBODY reading the thread is welcome to a copy of the original file if they wish to have it, just send me a PM with your email address and I will forward it to you no questions asked. it can easily be checked with an Exif viewer to see if photoshop or any other image altering programme or method was used. I did not even so much as crop the image or sharpen it, things other competitors have admitted to on other forums using photoshop. The image was not retouched in any way before I sent the original file to ADA for the competition, it was sent untouched. The only methods I tried to use to my advantage were photography and very careful preparation beforehand. I was very careful while doing the last preparations for the tank, knowing that the competition rules do not allow any form of digital altering. I probably took a few hundred images over the course of 3 or 4 photo sessions just to get the fish into the right position, this was the hardest thing of all and is probably a story in itself how I did it. The final photo had many hours work put into it.

Dan has the original file in his possession and can/has verified that it is not retouched in his opinion, it was sent to him at his request a few days ago for use in the UKAPS stand for the festival of fishkeeping exhibition in Hayling Island. He wanted a large file for printing quality purposes so I sent him the original no problem. I will see if I can post up the original file, its about 4mb I think, I am not sure if I can do it in photobucket without a premium account which I do not have.

Edit can't do it in photobucket. Heres the original file as big as Photobucket will allow me to upload, you can still check the information on the file though by downloading an Exif viewer you then right click the image and the exif viewer shows you all the information about the photo. I use it all the time to check photos and see what f no's, speed etc were used on other peoples photos. It will show up if photoshop has been used on the file, there is no way of hiding this with an exif viewer AFAIK. Some people will try and hide the extent of the retouching they have done to an original file by deleting the embedded thumnail image in the exif viewer, it will still show up that photoshop has been used but you cannot now compare the embedded thumbnail of the original image to the picture shown, so you cannot see or compare whether wholesale photoshop has taken place, backgrounds being added etc.


DSC_0091.jpg



Edit: I dont know why the image is not showing up bigger, I have the settings set for 1024 x 768 maybe its our own forum thats not allowing me post the picture so big. Heres a direct link anyway which hopefully works better. Edit again, thats not working either. I will work on it to get it working ;) I was having difficulties yesterday as well posting stuff but this is a new problem.


http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y142/dublin6/DSC_0091.jpg



You can (not you only George,anybody can check) check the image posted above against the image that Jeff Senske has posted up on APC forum from the ADA competition, it is the same image, dust marks and all except that ADA have cropped it for presentation purposes.

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...55958-2008-ada-layout-contest-top-27-a-3.html

Here's the Exif viewer that I use, its an add on extension for firefox browser, handy thing to download anyway ;)

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3905

Some of the the other images in this thread have been photoshopped, mainly to get rid of CO2 bubbles that are floating around the tank which are very visible especially against the background. I have upped the contrast on some of them as well in photoshop and probably cropped them, no big deal there I think. I have not deleted any fish or added any rocks or plants or anything like that. Most of the other pictures that I took other than the main competition entry were taken with the equipment operating in the tank, the fish cooperated better that way. I found once the filter went off the fish were much harder to photograph. Another problem with the filter off was using the hairdryer, the fish tended to hide as soon as the hairdryer came on. So I spent a lot of time and trouble on the main tank shot when the equipment was removed, once the filter was on the fish moved around freely so I could photograph them better. I don't see a problem posting those type of retouched pictures here tbh, these are just secondary pictures as far as I am concerned. But It is also the reason that I don't have too many different angles of the whole tank without equipment showing, it was to difficult and time consuming to organise so I just concentrated mainly on getting the front view for the competition entry.

The first image in this thread is cropped, this is NOT how the image was sent to ADA for the competition, I sent them the whole uncropped image file. Its pretty close though, I have just cropped the top and bottom section of the photo in this thread to just give the view of the tank only, I have used no other form of digital altering, contrast ,sharpening nothing at all. If you look to the right hand side of the main image you will an obvious dust mark on the side wall of the aquarium, the dust was on the sensor of the camera when I took the photo. I was a dissed about this later on when I realised there was dust on the sensor. This would be easy to get rid of in photoshop, a couple of minutes work, and something I would normally remove if the photo was not a competition entry. There are many other photos from the other photo sessions with no dust marks, I could have used one of those instead if I so wished, actually I sent one of those to the AGA competition as my entry, it was a cleaner shot as regards dust marks. I had a couple of hundred photos to choose from, a lot of duds as well mind you among them, but the fish position in that shot is the one I liked best, so I knew the image could not be retouched and thats the decision that I made, it was the best shot, dust marks and all, so that was the one I used for ADA . The reason the rocks were so clean was hard work with the toothbrush.

Sorry about the long winded answer, but as you can appreciate it is a sensitive subject about which I am happy to clarify any questions people may have.
 

aaronnorth

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You can (not you only George,anybody can check) check the image posted above against the image that Jeff Senske has posted up on APC forum from the ADA competition, it is the same image, dust marks and all except that ADA have cropped it for presentation purposes.

whats the difference? just that the top & bottom is cut off :?:
 

Tom

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How far are you allowed to go with photoshopping?

When I do my photos, theres loads of barrel distortion coming from using a fairly wide angle so I have to straighten the image out, and it comes out a funny colour from the bulbs I'm using to photograph it. Instead of sorting that out in the camera, it's easier to do it in photoshop with a couple of clicks. Then before I convert it from RAW I sharpen it as it always goes softer in JPG.

Tom
 

Mark Evans

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how many flash heads are you using? this is the problem i have, im relying on the luminaire at the mo. i have just 1 flash head, and its not enough by a long way.
 

zig

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Heres a shot that I did photoshop, just an example of the CO2 bubble problem I was talking about. This shot is the same as the one shown above and it was photoshopped primarily to get rid of the CO2 bubbles, this was probably the worst one actually, bit of dust in there as well :D . I think I upped the contrast and cropped it mainly to reduce the background, less work that way! But no big game plan I was just doing them as I went along yesterday and I thought it was a nice shot. Some of the other shots were photoshopped and some were not but they might have been cropped in some way or other, but I didn't spend a lot of time photoshopping tbh

DSC_0038.jpg


Thanks very much to everybody for the interest in this thread, I was just posting random shots and thoughts about the tank, I was making it up as I went along tbh (haha the way I aquascape a lot of the time ) I am not trying to tell people how to do it or anything like that, there are much more capable technical people around these forums than myself.

Edit: aaronnorth there is no difference except they (ADA) have cropped the image, that is really the point. It is to clarify that the main image is not photoshopped. There is no difference between the original untouched file and the picture posted over on APC, it is also the same image as the main image, albeit my cropped version, that I have posted here as my main opening shot on the first post of this thread.

Tom for the ADA competition the rules state NO image manipulation, so the answer is none is allowed, period. That is my interpretation of the rules anyhow. The exact wording is....

"Do not make any image processing such as trimming or retouch"

For the photos you have to find the optimum distance between you and the tank before you start to get barrel distortion with the lens that you are using, Thats what I did here anyway because I knew I couldn't correct it later on.
 

zig

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saintly said:
and the lighting? what flash did you use?

sorry mate Im not skipping questions on purpose, I was posting the last post up as you replied and then I had to split to do something else.

There are a couple of other questions as well unanswered, I will get around to them :D

I was going to do something separate about the photography on this tank but seeing as how you have asked 8)

yes the photoshoot, I was going to get on to that, all my secrets will be laid bare :D which I have no problem with BTW.

I have used two professional flash heads to photograph this tank, even powerful flash strobes like these will not give you enough coverage unless you really want to diffuse them by using soft tops or lots of tracing paper, basically soft tops are very large diffusers for flash heads like these. Diffused light will give pretty boring flat photos though so one flash head will not be enough IMO unless you have a very small tank.

These are old Bowens studio flasheads that I picked up cheap, they are probably 15 years old or something like that. This is the first finished tank I have photographed using them.

Does it give me an advantage over anyone else using these? I don't think so really, sure you can take nice photos with these, just like any flash really, but you must have something nice to photograph first of all that is a basic prerequisite I think. Two ordinary flash guns would give the same results if used correctly.

The main advantage these give you is that they recycle quickly, still slow mind, maybe a second or so before you can shoot again, but a lot quicker than an ordinary hand held or off camera flash head. They also recycle each time to the same power setting, so you dont have to worry about batteries draining etc because they are working off electricity. You can shoot at better f stops with them for what you want to do and obviously they stop the problem of blurry fish in photos. Another big advantage is that they have a modelling light which you can turn on and off, the modelling light gives you an idea of where the flash will fall on the subject. Lots of these for sale on ebay, hard enough to pick up secondhand though for a decent price. basically they are just big flash guns really.

Heres the photo setup, although this shot is taken during the day, all the photos of the tank were taken at night. The flasheads are triggered remotely using an infra red device which fits in the hot shoe on top of the camera, so no wires between the camera and the flash strobes.

IMG_86591.jpg


And the view at night

DSC_0252.jpg


I used a good bit of black card around the tank as well when I was taking the shots to stop any flare from the flash.
 

George Farmer

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Thanks for the very comprehensive reply, Peter.

I hope I didn't cause offense by asking my question.

The fact that your photo has not been re-touched is further testiment to your skill as a plant grower, aquascaper and photographer.

Cheers.
 

Mark Evans

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awesome zig. this exactly what i was hoping you'd come back with. my plans involve a couple of flash heads. (hired of course)

im loving the hair-dryer holder too!

quality mate, seriously!

thanks for the reply!
 

zig

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SuperColey1 said:
Zig - Congrats on the scape and the result. Not often anyone from this side of europe gets anywhere near as close as you did there. All the pics in this thread are great seeing it in action so to speak and also to show others not to despair when things go bad etc.

That inline diffusor looks interesting. Where did you get it from? Do you have a link to anywhere that sells them? Its not even on the Boyu website. lol

Well done matey
AC

Thanks a lot Andy ;)

Here's where I got the Diffusers, pretty cheap, get two so you can keep one on standby.

They work good but you do need a high bubble count, exactly the same principle as the in tank diffusers in the way they turn out tiny bubbles, but they come out the filter outlet so you have the advantage that they are getting blown around the tank on entry, you can see the bubbles in the pic I posted on the previous page.

Delivery was about ten days as far as I remember, its a while ago though since I ordered from this guy so check recent feedback etc, you know the drill mate ;)

http://cgi.ebay.ie/CO2-Carbon-Dioxi...20758QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262
 

Mark Evans

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zig said:
Does it give me an advantage over anyone else using these? I don't think so really, sure you can take nice photos with these, just like any flash really

back when i did weddings etc blablabla/.... i used bowens flash heads, i also owned a metz pro flashhead. give me heads anytime! .
 

zig

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George Farmer said:
Thanks for the very comprehensive reply, Peter.

I hope I didn't cause offense by asking my question.

The fact that your photo has not been re-touched is further testiment to your skill as a plant grower, aquascaper and photographer.

Cheers.

George no offence taken ;)

I was going to post about the photography on this tank so your questions just pre empted my replies. No harm in clearing the matter up in a comprehensive manner though.

Hope all is well in Afghanistan (at your end anyway :D )
 

George Farmer

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zig said:
George no offence taken ;)

I was going to post about the photography on this tank so your questions just pre empted my replies. No harm in clearing the matter up in a comprehensive manner though.

Hope all is well in Afghanistan (at your end anyway :D )

All good then mate.

All is well here, thanks. Even better in 2 weeks by which time I'll be home enjoying 'normal' life once again...

And keep up the great work. It's really super to get an insight into Peter's aquascaping world!
 

jay

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This is quite amazing, and very insightful. The set up for the photography is so advanced but with this thread, seems achievable even for a novice like me.

Thank you very much Peter. :)

And I love this pic.... that room is AAALLLL about the tank :lol:
zig said:
 
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