* The Weekly Image Thread 19 09 25 #381 *

Started 7 months ago | Photos thread
WhyNot Veteran Member • Posts: 8,730
Aquarium Memorandum

I went to the Tennessee Aquarium this last weekend. This was an exercise in lens selection! …. The trip showed the need for better preplanning. …

From the above picture, showing one of the Aquarium buildings, it is obvious that some of the area inside will be filled with bright sky light ..

while others areas are mostly low light

As pre-planning I looked back to my trip to the Atlanta Aquarium about a decade ago. At that time I used only the Canon S90. Looking at those pictures I was mostly at high ISO with maximum aperture and slow <1/125 shutter speeds. I also noted that I was almost always shooting at the equivalent of 28mm. This was probably due to the fact that this is the only focal length where the aperture is at f/2.0 and also allows the fastest shutter speeds and lowest ISO … With this in mind I decided to take the 20mm (40mm EFL) lens as it was the widest that I had with F/1.7 aperture – better low ISO than better focal length!. This lens really was often too long! ...I would have preferred a 14mm or even a 12mm lens instead (my 14mm is only f/2.5 and the 30mm f/1.4 is too long!) ...In good light it worked well, in low light not so well

Once inside and in lower light I decided to go with ISO 1600 and adjust exposure from there.

Frequently the shutter speed was less than 1/30 and that was too slow to stop a moving fish .. So after a while I moved to ISO 3200, but even then there were many shots that stayed below 1/30 and environmental shots were very slow and required all the help the IS could give ...

Here we were at ISO 3200 and a shutter speed of 1/3sec. Pretty good IS and handling but lots of motion blur as people walked through …. Trying ISO 12800

Better than I guessed but even here the shutter speed is only 1/15sec .. and at the time I wasn't sure how this would turn out so I didn't try this ISO again.....

By the end of the trip I was using ISO 6400 for all interior pictures. …

and the softness here is still due to motion blur as the shutter speed is 1/30sec! …

Is there a proper lens for this trip? I could make a case for the Leica 10-25 which would have given me better versatility to work with or one of those Sony FF cameras that provide astronomical ISO with a more reasonably f/4 wide zoom lens but either one at a price. but once a decade really doesn't make either attractive .. Or, perhaps I could have just used a phone like everyone else was .. I saw only one other camera in all the time I was there, ….. I suspect that I could have gotten away with ISO 12800 for the dark interior and not fretted so much over lens selection and the exposure ..

I also suspect that Aquarium photography is best done in multiple trips. Selecting the subject and room one is interested in and picking the camera and lens to match. I'm not convinced that a “general” photography approach lends itself well to this trip ...but I'll probably do the same thing in another decade … well one can dream …..

This was a second trip to the Tennessee Aquarium. I went once right after it opened but after the crowds subsided, during this trip crowds were a problem for me. . This is the fourth aquarium I've visited. I was too young to remember much about the Shedd Aquarium but I have memories and pictures somewhere from the Ripley Aquarium in Gatlinburg, the Atlanta Aquarium and this one from the earlier trip ...I always like visiting these Aquariums and never find the experience of documenting those trips or the pictures taken memorable, these included. ... but there are more …...


This post is a recollection and a preplanning memo for my next such trip … and I would certainly appreciate your input and experiences with similar trips …. More pictures from the aquarium to come as I get them processed and have nothing else of interest …..

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