Shooting Photography

Using extension tubes for close-ups

For a long time now, I've followed discussion of extension tubes for macro photography. And a few years ago, I looked up what they cost and quickly dismissed them. However, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking "what if those are really what I need to get these stellar macro shots?

Older videos

Over the years I uploaded videos to my website for sharing, because I never thought YouTube would catch on.  Wink 

Here are the links since they are locally hosted on Melev's Reef.  If you can't play them directly, Right Click and Save As. Most of these are quite short, and some have fun music that would never be accepted if I reuploaded them to other sharing sites. The music was a refreshing throwback to what was popular a few years ago, and I was surprised to find I had about sixty videos amassed in this directory.

Videos are organized by catagory.  Enjoy.

Topdown Photography

In an effort to come up with a better way of viewing corals and clams from above, especially in photography, I came up with a box that keeps the camera & lens dry and gives the photographer the ability to bring out the vivid colors without the issues of wave motion or light reflections.

If you would like to purchase one, please visit my Reef Shop.

The top down photo box allows the lens to be submerged slightly, providing the opportunity for some lovely macro shots that bring out the pure color we usually can't see from the side viewing panels. After all, the lights shine downward and the color reflects upward, right?

Here are a few views of the box I built. The first image contains the extension tube and rubber boot from my camera. The camera is not available for the image because I needed it to take this picture. :)

How to Shop for a Digital Camera

Are you considering the purchase of a digital camera? Cellphones take pictures, tablets too, but a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) is almost inevitable with this hobby. We seem to require more than just saltwater experience: You need to know how to work with electrical components, plumbing, woodworking, and more. Photography is equally important for a number of reasons. Photography allows you to document coral growth sequences over time, share your tank with others online or out of the area, and provides a sense of pride in getting an especially good picture of your favorite fish or coral.

How to Photoshop your photos

This is a Photoshop 7.0 tutorial, but the steps are valid for newer versions as well.  Using Photoshop to clean up our digital (or scanned) images is completely warranted.  Don't let others convince you that "photoshopping" is cheating; we aren't trying to misrepresent our subject - we want to make it look as good as possible.  Or match it to what we see with our own eyes. The biggest compliment I ever received was when someone visited my home to see my reef, and said the corals looked like my pictures. That's the goal.  

These steps that I use aren't hard to learn, so take a few minutes to read over them, and bookmark it so you can refer to it later.  It takes about a minute or so to clean up each image, depending to what extent you are correcting.  Spot removal can take quite a bit of time, for example.

Resize Images to Share on the Web

If you use a computer that operated with Windows XP, Microsoft offers a simple PowerToy called Image Resizer. You can download it here, for free:


Once downloaded, double click on the file to open the program. It will install quickly after a few clicks of the mouse.

Late night Photography

My friend Jessy takes great late night pictures, and I asked her to show me some of her secrets. We walked down to the beach and set up our cameras on tripods, and then commenced shooting.

For the stars, 1000 ISO for 8 seconds was just about right for my D90. For the buildings, it was 85 seconds to get an interesting profile with a starburst effect from some lights. I'm shooting with a Nikon D90, and used a 50mm lens. It was set to infinity, 1000 ISO, using a tripod and IR remote trigger to avoid any camera shake. Images of stars took 8 seconds; any longer and they looked elongated due to the rotation of the earth. Images of the buildings was 85 seconds.

Photographing Tiny Subjects

You will recognize some or most of these images, but I was thinking how it would be nice to put these in one webpage, especially describing the techniques used to get the images.

In the past couple of weeks, I have had three opportunities to photography newly released baby Peppermint Shrimp in my tank. I didn't even know what they were at first, but it was fascinating to study them up close. However, shooting them with my digital camera was challenging.

How can I take great pictures too?

How can I take great pictures too?

In a previous article  I mentioned how you could decide one what type of camera to buy. This article will go into how you can take beautiful pictures with your digital camera, using a few simple settings.

I used to use an HP215 compact digital camera that would fit into a pocket and only had a 4 meg CF card. After 30 low resolution pictures were taken, the camera was full. Even with this type of camera, it is possible to get some great shots. Many pictures on my site were taken with this camera.

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