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Hiya peeps!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by gho, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Glad to see my friends here. A little about me here.

    I've been slowly drifting from DPR. It's not the place it used to be where people go to ask questions, learn about their cameras and pick up photography techniques. I used to love helping people out there.

    But now in the D100 forum, hardly anyone asks questions. I tried answering some questions on several occasions in the D70 forum, but I get a lot of arguments from people rather than follow-up questions and discussions.

    Anyways, that's why I've not been posting there much anymore.

    I hope that the members here will feel free to give me constructive criticisms on my images that I will occasionally post (I'll try to post more from now on).

    Its even helpful when people tell me which ones are their favorites.

    And Don't be afraid to hurt my feelings when commenting on my pics. I never take anything personal and I'm out to improve, not just recive cushy praise (although, I must admit, its reassuring).

    Here's a few reef shots to start out with - shot these for a client:





  2. PGB


    Jan 25, 2005
    Welcome to the forum. Glad you stopped by. I have always been a fan of your posts on DPR.

    I look forward to your posts.

  3. Gregory, I was wondering when you would make it over here with the good guys (and gals). Welcome, sit back and relax, no trolls or angry people here. Great post by the way and my favorite is #4 with the fish.
  4. do you dive with a take or snuba to take those great shots? :D 

    Great shots as always. Glad you made it here, except for Bill and me, no trolling, so you should be able to keep your sanity.
  5. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Thanks Patrick. I didn't know I had a following :D  I'm glad you enjoyed my pics.
  6. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    I just found out about this place. Chris sent me email. Thanks Chris!

    the trolls don't bother me so much, its the angry peeps I can do without. So much animosity sometimes, it makes me wonder. Looks like a great forum. Hopefully the moderaters will be liberal yet not allow it to get out of hand.

    On some other forums, the mods are like the Gestapo, and you constantly have to worry about your posts and hope that you don't get banned.

    I also frequent www.reefcentral.com (the avatar is the same one I use there, though I had to resize it to make it smaller) - does it look soft?

    Thanks for the welcome, greyflash. I'm always so happy when you posted to my DPR messages.

    Edit: #4, the fish is my favorite from the shoot too.
  7. Welcome Gregory, very happy to see you here! I was going to send you an invite myself when I saw your post on dpreview the other day, but Chris beat me to it. Always love your fishy photos :)  In this batch I like the first one best, just love the feathering on that coral.
  8. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Hey Harris,

    Nope don't scuba or anything like that with a 3 and a 2 year old, I don't get out of the house much. These shots were from a client shoot of his reef tank - he had just set up a 100g bowfront - beautiful tank:

  9. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Hi Janet! Thanks for the welcome. I feel so at home! Its great to have everybody here.

    The first one is actually not a coral, its a worm. Funny you sould mention the feathering, its commonly called a feather duster (I have no clue as to it's scientific name). I'm not very good with coral IDs though, so most of my reef pics are captionless. I'm not very good with animal IDs either. So at the zoo, anything that is deer like is a "deer" when my daughter asks me. Pitty, I guess I should learn.
  10. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Welcome Gregory,


    So glad to see you here. Saw new display of your reef tank this morning on DPR but didn't have time to reply. So I will say now. They are really beautiful. Getting better all the time.

    Cheers and enjoy
  11. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    Hey Gregory....

    Welcome to the Cafe.... :)  Another friendly face and great photog joins the group.

  12. Gregory -

    Love the shots. I've never tried anything serious with tank shots like that, but even some "simple" attempts to get some small fish in a friend's tank convinced me how difficult it truly is. Hard to get a focus lock, much less deal with extraneous reflections, white balance, etc.

    I'm sure you'll like it here, and we'll reap the benefits of your knowledge and skills.
  13. CraigH.


    Feb 1, 2005
    Northen NJ
    Beautiful shots Gregory! you are in the right place.
  14. Gregory!!

    Glad to see you here! Just realized when I saw your name that you were missing here. Glad that's been rectified.

    And those reef shots are great, as usual. By the way, something I've always wondered since you started posting these outstanding images: Is "reef" what the insiders call an aquarium, or is the word referring to something else?


  15. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Re: Welcome Gregory,

    Hi Gale, It's actually not my tank. Oh how I wish it were though. Thanks for thinking about me and taking the time to reply. Yeah I posted different images in DPR, I figured y'all might have seen them.

    Hi Frank. Glad to see you! I'm flattered that you think I'm a great photographer - I'm always trying to improve.

    Thanks. I don't know if its "serious" it was for a client, but I didn't really make any money off the shoot, especially considering the time I invested in it.

    I've got to figure out a new way to do reef shots.

    For this particular session, I went out to shoot this guy's tank (about 50 miles away, but in LA, so it takes about 2 hours one way with all the traffic). Add to that, he wanted me to shoot his daughters too, so add another hour for that session (for free - I didn't chage him any extra in addition to our already agreed upon price).

    I ended up with about 600 shots of his reef tank, and about 200 of his daughters. So it takes me about 10 hours to process proofs for his daughters, and about 30 minutes per image to process the reef shots. I ended up presenting him with 200 pics of his tank and about 125 shots of his daughters.

    Add to this about an hour to setup and tear down.

    The thing with reef tanks are that most clients only want the digial images to show off their tank, and not really intersted in prints. Soooo..... I spend all this time, without the prospect of any additional sales.

    I haven't done the exact math, but I think it probably comes out to less than 1 USD per hour of work.

    Anyways, for some photography lessons, expecially how it pertains to shooting aquaria, check out this link:

    Hi Craig. Yes, I feel right at home already. It helps to see friendly faces around.

    Hi Mike. So this is where you've been! I guess the "reef" term is kind of an insider term.

    Specifically, we refer to them as "reef tanks" because most of the inhabitants (corals, fish, rock, etc.) originate from natural reef systems, usually off Fiji islands. A reef tank usually contains a mixture of corals and fish. There are fish-only tanks also. Aquarium is just another term for it, but methinks "reef" is easier to say & type ;) 
  16. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    I recently read a great book, Bruce Fraser's Real World Camera Raw which spends about a quarter of the pages on streamlining NEF production. With two cards (about 150 NEFs between them) and the techniques from the book, I had 125 printable PSD files on my dish after about an hour. The other 25 images were mostly unprintable (white, black, too blurry, etc.) or took speciallized processing (which, like you, took about half an hour - or so - each.)

    It's one of 3 books that I recommend to 'nearly advanced' DSLR shooters like many of us.
  17. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    I'll look into getting it. What's the jist of it, if you don't mind sharing?
  18. Re: Welcome Gregory,

    You had me rolling on the floor with your cost analysis of the reef shoot. It mirrors my professional experience. If I get a few more customers, I'll have to declare bankruptcy :?.
  19. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Great shots, Greg! Love the Macaroni coral, or whatever it's called. You do a fantastic job on these subjects that are so hard to shoot well.
    I was invited to take a few shots at a jewelry store I recently visited. I went to your page, and read about about shooting reef fish, and from what I could gather there, you need to block out ambient light reflections on the glass with a large black cloth, and use a circ polar filter if using flash from the sides. What I'm not clear on is the decision of when and where to use of flash, it's exact placement, and the lens' distance to the glass itself. I want to isolate just a single fish or 2, since the tank doesn't have many fish OR coral. Would you suggest putting the SB800 on top of the tank connected with a sync cord, illuminate it from the side using the circ polar filter, or something else altogether?
  20. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Yeah, I was thinking the exact same thing :D . It really doesn't pay to be a photographer, but I keep trying - call me dumb.

    A circular polarizer should work to filter out ambient reflections also. I used the black sheet for an alternative method for those that don't want to shell out the dough for a polarizer (one of the most expensive filters you can buy).

    The polarizer will work for reflected light from the flash, but not direct light. i.e., if you flash head on, you'll still get the reflection from the strobe itself, but it does filter out reflected light pretty effectively.

    The best technique is to shoot so that you avoid the reflection entirely.

    When shooting the close up shots, I don't use a polarizer or the black drop, but I make sure the room is dark, or dimly lit without any strong light sources.

    The biggest benefit of digital (for me) is the instant polaroid feature. Simply shoot a test shot, check for flash reflections and move the flash around till it disapears.

    You also need to consider how you want to light your subject. For the plain vanilla shot, that your jewelry shop probably wants, a flash from above will give it the most "natural" appearance since people are most accustomed to lighting from above (tank lighting). For more dramatic shots, move the light source at an angle or focus the light on a particular subject.

    I use the sync cord for a several of reasons:
    1) The D100 I had when I bought the sync cord doesn't support wireless iTTL
    2) The D2h doesn't have an onboard flash to use as a trigger
    3) Wireless iTTL adds a signficant lag, which means a missed shot with faster moving subjects such as fish.

    The thing about the SB800 is depending on how high above the tank it is, it doesn't have a very wide dispersion area, so it makes it easy to get directional lighting, but difficult to get even lighting. The best way to get even lighting (such as full tank shots) is to bounce the flash into the tank, but you loose a lot of power, not only because of the flash, but because the water absorbes a lot of the light.

    I shoot most of my shots with flash, as the tank lighting is always so dark that its difficult to get a clean shot without bumping the ISO (which I rarely do).

    Sometimes, I want to capture the effects of actinic lighting (blue light) and I use ambient light from the tank:

    I actually don't mention the flash placement since I wrote the lessons with the novice shooter in mind. The placment of the flash is a more advanced topic, so that's why its not clear, and its a good thing you asked.

    In summary, placing the strobe on top of the tank is a good starting point. Hope this helps a bit.

    Let me know if you have more questions?

    BTW, that "macaroni coral" is called a "hammer coral" because its polyps (the macaroni things) look like little hammers - I don't know it's scientific name. I had one in my tank, but it died in a heat spike.

    Here's an "artsy" pic I like of my hammer coral - taken with a cheapo digicam (my daughter's). They close up at night when the lights go out:

    Another view of the same coral taken with a different consumer digicam (Sony DSC-P5) - this is what mine looked like when it was open:

    Both of these shots were done with no flash using only the lighting from the tank. The first one (with the hammer closed) was processed to ehance the noise and boost contrast & saturation a bit.
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