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Re: Constructing a photographic tank
Barry Cooper wrote:
> The discussion of photo tanks makes it obvious that there are different strokes for different folks. That is, various solutions to the same problem.
Yep. Here are a couple more strokes. :-)
> My solution is to use a 2.5 gal tank, a new one with a pristine glass front. I did paint the back light brown color. I place gravel in the tank, then insert a piece of plexiglass, also pristine, just big enough to fit across the inside width and height of the tank. If this is a fraction long you can even bow it to create a space that is wider in the middle than at the ends, thus encouraging the fish to move to the central area. I place lots of plants in the back compartment and the fish in the front. I generally have the front space at about 1", but the advantage of this system is that the plexi can be moved to widen the space for large fish. I set the tank up at least a day before use and run a small box filter in the back compartment to clear the water.
Barry's method is similar to that of Wayland Lee, another great killy
photographer. Wayland likes to use a 5G tank, viewed lengthwise tho, to get
the background and plants far enough away to be a bit out of focus, with crisp
attention then on the fish, only. Works fine for 35mm or larger-format film.
One problem I have had with digital photography is the small-sensor problem.
When you use a smaller film or CCD (1/3 or 1/2"), the depth of field goes way
up, and it gets hard to make *anything* very close to the object go out of
focus, even at low f numbers. The shallow front-to-back tanks being discussed
here are probably not a great idea for digital cameras of the present
generation. A longer tank, viewed from one end, should probably be considered.
When digital cameras have sensors as large as 35mm film, we can probably throw
away the old film camera. [Actually, I prefer 2 1/4" square or larger film for
serious use. :-)]
BTW, Tony's love for the old slow Kodachrome is understandable, but it has
just plain been outmoded by newer formulations, and better processing methods.
Much faster films have every bit as fine grain as those old dye-transfer
methods. The color values of Kodachromes of the older generations were very
inaccurate but gave pleasing flesh tones, over a wide range of missed
exposures, for casual vacation shots. They also required Kodak processing o/e
so the control over that step was totally lost. Every roll is a bit of a
gamble, despite excellent Kodak QC.
For technically accurate photos, I found that Ektachrome professional gave the
truest colors, when I had a processing shop that could follow instructions.
The Fuji films are a bit more accurate than Kodak's Kodachrome, but tend to
give the same artificial "vividness" boost.
Beside the cost of film and processing going to zero, one other nice thing
about digital is that QImage, PhotoShop or similar programs can let you make
the contrast, brightness, hue and saturation be anything you want, so you can
get the equivalent of *any* film or processing in your "digital darkroom" with
minimal effort. My QImage even has a custom-designed filter option that makes
my professionally-subdued Sony 770 shots as vivid as any other digital camera,
with just a single key click. Slick stuff, IMO.
Wright Huntley -- 650 856-4245 -- 879 Clara Dr. Palo Alto CA 94303
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