Aquarium Photography: Calm Under the Waves…

Tropical Reef smallSearching through some of my older posts, I found this one. It is both a photo taken with my phone’s camera, and it is a photo of an aquarium.

I remember being truly surprised seeing it once back home. The surprise came from the facts I a. didn’t use flash (not allowed as they harm the fishies…) and b. was in near total darkness on the bottom level of San Francisco’s Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park.

I had just gotten the phone at the time of this shot so didn’t know what shooting capabilities I’d be working with. Years later, I still have this phone- haven’t found a single reason (including photographic!) to ‘upgrade’ yet.

I still have lots to learn about light and refraction and camera angles and things of that nature, but I’m OK with the learning part. My phone’s camera and my dedicated digital cameras over the years have continued to amaze and instruct me creatively.

Besides, even if I didn’t have a camera on this day, I would have simply appreciated the calm under the waves… and the fishies!

K’lee L.

21 thoughts on “Aquarium Photography: Calm Under the Waves…

  1. Lovely shot.
    Having never used anything but my phone for whatever I do (photography, video and animation included) I’m no longer surprised by the excellent results you can get with the camera. I feel there’s a lot of snobbery and elitism surrounding photography, especially where mobile phones are concerned. After all, unless you’re going to blow something up to the size of a football field, there really is no need for better resolution than a decent phone camera can give you.
    Plus, many of the post-production apps that are available nowadays enable a huge amount editing and enhancements (another thing that “proper” photographers get snippy about) which can easily make up for any deficiencies in the original image.

    Rant over. ;~}

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wans’t aware of that- the fact you use only your phone’s camera for all your work. I see that as a viable option. For me, especially these days with several ‘virtual stores’ containing many of my images, higher quality (ie. megapixels) shots are sometimes a must. I agree with you on the plethora of quality post-production apps available these days. I use a number of those on my phone and tablet to enhance both phone camera shots and DSLR shots.
      As far as ‘proper photographers’ go, I can’t say I’ve ever been one of them. To each his/her own, I say. Enjoy what you do is my motto when it comes to expressing your creativity.
      Bottom line with cameras for me is there are things/situations my phone’s camera simply are ill-equipped to handle. I’ve never taken the choice further than that, I suppose.


      1. I enjoy the challenge
        Every single post on my blog, all 400 of them, no matter whether it’s writing, photography, video editing, animation, making weird music or just manufacturing images for use on the blog: all done on my phone from the very start. Built the site on my phone and decided I’d make that my mission, to get round any obstacle to what I wanted to do by improvising and making up new ways of doing stuff. I don’t own a pc and never have and the last camera I owned was a cheap 35 mm back in the ’90s.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow. You really are a ‘rough-rider’, Dale. I like that. No computer…ever. That’s quite impressive. My brother taught me to build them way back in the day, so I’ve always had one, build to my exact specifications.
          I suppose the other (camera) thing for me is the tactile element in using a DSLR; of holding a lens and manually focusing on some distant object of interest.
          I recently came across a flock(?) of snowy egrets teaching the youngsters how to fish. When I got home, I’d taken over six hundred photos. Necessary? No, not at all, but the thrill of having the choice in those moments to shoot continuously and zoom in and out with both precision and speed provided me with photos I could never have captured with my phone’s camera (even though it has an app which allows ‘burst’ or continuous shooting).
          You’ve got me curious now… I’ve done plenty ‘phone camera only’ shooting, but perhaps I can see what a segment of phone shots -only blog posts would be like?


          1. You’ve seen my photo-blog, Photo Sans Frontiers? All of the shots on there of mine (that’s excluding the “showcase” posts from the Facebook page members) were taken on my phone.
            I’m fully aware of the limitations, technically speaking, and the one thing I would like is a good zoom. But I get pretty good results from cropping, if the subject isn’t too far away, and I know that the actual quality of the photos is dictated by the deficiencies of the (12Mp) camera on my phone but to me it’s more about the artistic value of the picture and less about the “photographic perfection” of the image. That’s why I especially enjoy the artistic mucking about that can be achieved with apps and online resources.

            Bear in mind that I only took up photography as a regular pastime at the same time I began writing, blogging and social media: when I bought my first smartphone.
            I’d never been interested in computers really, except as tools at work, nor had I been “creative” in any way (although I did a lot of theatrical stuff in my teens) so mobile phones aren’t as evil as everyone makes out, hahaha.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I definitely hear ya, Dale.
            I would go so far as to say the only limitations that exist occur in our minds when it comes to creative expression. Every method one takes to walk the creative road should be a valid one… for the individual.
            People will have opinions; some siding with- some against what you stand for. I say allow it- let others pursue their expression in the ways that suit them best.
            If you’ve experienced people calling mobile phones ‘evil’, I say let them. The technology is here to stay and will more than likely simply continue to evolve. Your photo work is outstanding, Dale. I say let that be enough. I’m someone who just happens to use both forms of technology- digital cameras and my cellphone. Is one ‘better’ than the other- more superior? I can’t call it, I just continue to create as the desire strikes and with whichever piece of tech I deem best suited for the expression.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. It’s a GREAT maxim to live by along with the best camera combo we’ve always possessed… our eyes and brain! If we’re satisfied by the end result, who’s to say we’re wrong?

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Great shot considering the circumstances. I used my phone too sometimes if I haven’t had my camera with me and it worked most of the time. This days the quality of the phone cameras are getting better and better, my phone is “old” but I will not give it up, but I do prefer camera taken shots. Anyway all photos are getting somewhat worked over with various softwares so we can correct flaws or totally let our imagination go wild and create something according to our style. A good image is a good image and I appreciated doesn’t matter how or why.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Eva. You’re right- phone cameras are getting ridiculously high end with better and better models all the time.
      The air show I shot this past summer was a classic example of an event to put the phone in the back pocket (carefully!) and break out the Nikon for some ultra fast shooting. I got to see many people with their phone cameras trying to shoot jets streaking past… I didn’t see too many happy faces…
      I follow and ‘attend school’ with a couple of excellent pro photographers on YouTube and guess what? They post-process too. The trick they say is in making that additional work look as natural as possible… unless ‘out there’ is what you’re aiming for.
      You’re also right when you say: ‘A good image is a good image…” How it got that way… not so important really…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Must be cool that “school”, I have never done anything like it, I just follow my instincts when I take shots or process my shots, I’m a hobby kind a photographer and I enjoy it way to much then to follow rules, but then rules are made to be broken, right (I like to break them anyway, ordinary is tooo boring). BTW, I have posted a collage of the Snow Birds painting a heart on the sky, I will post additional shots as well from the show, but for
        now I thought those shots combined would carry a great message for the holidays. I didn’t go to crazy with the processing kept it simple but I will fancy out the other shots a bit more just because I love processing. Way to much fun not to!
        Have a great weekend! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha! It’s a cool school, just pro photo people with a passion willing to share the knowledge in video format. It’s free so, hey, why not? I’m like you- it’s good to have rules, but fun to break or ‘reinterpret them occasionally!
          Oh, I’ll take a look. New ‘Eva Art’ is always worth the time. Have a great weekend as well!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Right? Ironically, when it comes to computers, one of the first things I went about teaching myself was how to compose music- another of my great loves… The (tech) revolution will not be televised… it’s already here…


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