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Photographing a reflective/empty tank

tranquil_anteater

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15 Dec 2020
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HI, I'm hoping to post some material to the El Natural / Low Tech forum and am struggling to get some decent shots of the tank. Its currently empty, clean/shiny, and has glass 15mm thick meaning up to four sets of reflections to contend with. Has anyone any suggestions on how to get some decent shots which show the inside (I mean without taking them from the open top). I've tried taking them in darker conditions with the tank lights on but then I just get glare instead of reflections. I've also tried high dynamic range photos (3 photos at different exposures combined into one) which does reduce the glare dramatically but then you end up with a more stylised/less natural shot. P.S. assume use of a DSLR. Many thanks in advance.
 

Wookii

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13 Nov 2019
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I get the same issue on my older tank that is float glass. My newer low iron glass tank is less of an issue.

As @dcurzon suggest, you need to put something black and non-reflecting between you and the tank.

Other things that can help is blocking any light over spilling the top of the tank from the aquarium light so it doesn't illuminate the surrounding objects and you taking the photo. With an SLR, I've also found using a polarising filter, if you have one, can reduce the reflections a little.

Lastly, if you can't get rid of all the reflections, don't take any of the photos whilst naked! :D
 

X3NiTH

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13 Apr 2014
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If you want you can post a pic where we might be able to inform better, if you don’t want to publicly show any image yet you could post it in a PM. Add us all into the PM group chat so we can confer.

:)
 

tranquil_anteater

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Hi all, many thanks for the suggestions i'll start by trying the black sheet trick tonight and a polarising filter and see how it goes.

Hi Wookii, the glass is Optiwhite (low iron) all round and the top is completely light sealed all round with a wooden cabinet. Expanding your idea I could try putting a rim of black paper/card below it to just stop that last bit of direct glare coming out when the camera is lower than the top (the tank is 4ft deep and so the top is 6ft off the ground).
 

X3NiTH

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Anything to reduce direct glare from a parallel light source would help. The absolute best reflection blocking material for surrounding the object/camera is black velvet (not crushed velvet), the Albedo of some black card materials can be too high to prevent all external to internal reflections in glass objects.
 

tranquil_anteater

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Hi thanks all for the advice earlier; I've managed to get a reasonable HDR photo tonight with the reduced glare and external reflections, see Current Tank

It's definitely better than my previous attempts and looks like most of the reflection now is internal objects (e.g. you can see the reflection of the branches).
 
Joined
30 Aug 2020
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282
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Bristol
I get the same issue on my older tank that is float glass. My newer low iron glass tank is less of an issue.

As @dcurzon suggest, you need to put something black and non-reflecting between you and the tank.

Other things that can help is blocking any light over spilling the top of the tank from the aquarium light so it doesn't illuminate the surrounding objects and you taking the photo. With an SLR, I've also found using a polarising filter, if you have one, can reduce the reflections a little.

Lastly, if you can't get rid of all the reflections, don't take any of the photos whilst naked! :D
Is all most all glass not floated on tin in production? It's just made with very low iron raw materials

GF has a how to video
 

tranquil_anteater

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15 Dec 2020
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HI, many thanks for the video link, that's a really useful video. I've had the camera in aperture priority up until now but as per George's suggestions I might try it on fully manual and also try some deeper depths of field. I was using the len's sweet spot of F/8 but can go up to F/22 (I guess it is still a landscape at the end of the day for which high F numbers are good). Might also try putting the extra lights back on above again though his advice of using a much as possible might assume there is normally water in the tank (so more transmission losses, less glare on submerged objects).

Ref the glass the Opti-White in aquariums is still float glass as well; the Pilkington factory in Bristol were really helpful for technical advice when I was weighing up different choices for building our current tank (don't know if there are still there?).
 
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