Love the One You’re with


While in Chattanooga we visited the Tennessee Aquarium.  I’ve attempted to photograph inside the aquarium once before, but just didn’t have the needed light. This time I adjust my ISO in order to obtain the speed that I needed to photograph.  Even then I shot these at ISO 3200 and some as low as 1/20 of a second.


Lagoon Jellyfish
Lagoon Jellyfish


This a little off subject, but I normally shoot 70% of my photographs from a tripod. I like how it makes me take those extra two or three seconds to think about the composition. Now I would love to have one of those the very nice state of art carbon fiber tripods, but Santa just hasn’t seen fit to leave one under the tree yet.

When I was photographing back in the late seventies, I purchased a fairly nice then state of art aluminum tripod. Yes, it is heavy and it will turn into an ice cube when it is freezing. However, it’s paid for and it works very well. So in the words of Stephen Stills, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”. Somehow, I don’t believe that a carbon fiber tripod is what was on Stephen’s mind when he wrote that song. However, the point is that you use what you have.


Sea Walnut
Sea Walnut


So let me get back to the aquarium.  Sometimes when I go on trips it’s not always convenient to carry my large tripod. For these occasions I have a small cheap tripod. It fits nicely into a place on the side of my back pack and doesn’t take up much room.  It’s not the easiest thing to use and in fact can be very frustrating especially when using a heavy lens. However, I just remember what Stephen said and keep working with it. So, I mounted my camera on my little tripod and worked with it until I was able to capture a few good shots of some jelly fish.

I imported them in to Lightroom3 and used Dfine 2.0 to erase some of the noise. Then I used Viveza 2 to make a couple of adjustments.


In to the Light


I really like how these couple of images turned out with the blue background. The jelly fish almost looks painted. I would love to say I created this by using a certain filter in Photoshop, but the truth is this was out of camera. I did continue on to process these like I did the others. I just love how they seem to be floating in outer space instead of swimming inside of an aquarium.







20 thoughts on “Love the One You’re with

  1. These are some amazing images. Last time I went I forgot my filter and had so much glare. Good to see it’s possible to get shots like this through glass. Nice stuff!

    1. Thanks Aaron, I was pleasantly surprised with these Jellyfish. It was the use of the black lights in the aquarium that intensified the color.

  2. OMG, Phillip, these are gorgeous! So, no flash and no polarizer? Sweet. Like Aaron, I haven’t had that much success shooting at an aquarium.

    1. Thanks Dani. I’ve only shot in an aquarium once before. That was just after I got back into photography after being away from it for over 20 years. That time I used a polarizing filter, but it made a slow shot even slower. Being from old film days, I’m have only recently started playing with using extreme ISO. I have always thought the the noise would be so bad that I couldn’t use the image. But even using an high ISO I don’t believe that I could have used a filter.

  3. Awesome work! The colors pop right out! I enjoy capturing fish, turtles, etc. through water and glass. It is frustrating, but rewarding when it turns out. Tripods aren’t allowed in the zoo, here, so I rely on pressing the lens onto the glass.

    1. Thanks Rob! I have been thinking about going to our zoo. I haven’t been in years. However, I never thought that they might not allow tripods.

  4. Phillip these are great images. I’ve always been afraid to use a high ISO because of the noise but have started doing so myself (although my camera only goes as high as 1600…Santa hasn’t visited me either but I’m still hoping) and realize its a great way to capture in low light without a tripod.

    1. I completely understand Edith. Back in the late seventies I shot high school football for a small local paper. Many of these games were played at night on badly lit fields. This was when the ISO was called ASA. We would increase the ASA to 3200 or 6400 or more, and then change our developing times. Of course we used B/W film and the prints would have grain the size of golf balls. Many times they were literately black or white.

      I’ve been shooting digital now for around four years and I just couldn’t bring myself to waste my time ruining perfectly good images. Like you, I would keep hearing others talk about raising the ISO. So I tried it. I still can’t bring myself to include “that beautiful grain” that every one talks about into my black and white shots. Heck, I tried for years to get it out! Why would I now want to put it back in? I guess that I’ll be trying that too before very long.

  5. Very nice shots, Phillip. You know I had my share of success in the aquarium not long ago. Wonderful job and your blog is looking great too.

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