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Re: ADA Contest

It doesn't take much to photograph your aquarium if you use 50 ASA film.
I got a friend a professional photographer who had never used an aquarium as
a subject to photograph my aquarium for the ADA contest but he used 100 ASA
film and ended up needing more light.
My tank is 3' x 2' x 2' and he couldn't get the depth of field required for
so deep a tank using 100 ASA film and a f stop of 22 and a half ( what ever
that means).
It was pretty late in the night to get 50 ASA film so we managed with 100
ASA and a few more lights.
You'll be surprised at the clarity that you can manage with a decent 35mm
One very important fact though, clean your glass and change water  in the
morning of the shoot. Visualise and rearrange or reposition like a "small
adjustment to that rock", or "move that driftwood with the java fern to the
right by an inch", and  whatever you think needs to be done well before you
photograph -  at least a 2-3 hours before hand, otherwise the mulm thrown up
takes forever to settle and you'll be surprised at how well it shows on your
slide. If you have a black background, change it to one of lighter colour, a
plain white sheet works well, and back light it with an incandescent bulb -
100 watts should do - where you suspect there will be really dark areas.
Keep a few bulbs of varying wattages, 40, 60, 100 and 200 W, which can
easily be changed and a few bulb fittings and wiring, so you can interchange
the bulbs and add more bulbs and see for yourself. The spouse will have to
be roped in and have to be patiently endured because no two can want exactly
the same.
Normal aquarium glass has a slight green tinge and when diffused yellowish
light from an incandescent bulb passing through a white sheet of paper falls
on this glass it gives the glass a nice bluish hue. Ooops have I said too
much !!!. No, I didn't know all this until I followed my friends advice and
saw the results.
Photograph your tank at night. Remove all equipment, switch off all room
lights, wear dark clothes, cover all white upholstery and objects, in case
you see their reflection on the glass. Keep the filter running, but keep the
suction pipe and return spray bar well hidden, or else mulm. Because
whatever you do, you are going to put your hand into the tank to adjust that
ONE LEAF. Don't be surprised at what can come loose in the water from that
Before I forget keep 2 hairdryers handy !!!

Hope this helps. I entered the contest for fun and I really enjoyed the
build up.
Forget the prize money and have fun. It's just another facet to the hobby.

Madan Subramanian
Bangalore, India.