Meet Jaws Jr. I met him at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom as part of the shark exhibit. I didn’t get many keepers from that shoot, so this is probably my favorite out of the bunch. Having never shot aquatic life before, shooting this gave me a preview on what to expect on my upcoming trip to the Monterey Aquarium.
Starting with the technical side, the entire room was extremely dark with only an ambient blue/green-colored light to give the effect of being underwater. So I took out the 50mm (my biggest aperture lens). Even wide open at f/1.8 and ISO 1600, with a shutter of 1/80, it pictures were still underexposed. Flash was out of the question because of the glass window. Slowing the shutter speed to 1/50 or less may have been an option, but I was trying to avoid subject motion blur. This is one of those times where a D3 would be perfect. Crank up that ISO to 6400 or higher and fire away at 1/200 and still be exposed correctly with no noise. Oh man, one can only dream… Anyway, post-processing can bring the exposure up a little, but only to a certain extent. Because of the high ISO, changing levels in post results in an extremely noisy image.
Depth-of-field was extremely narrow, as can be expected at f/1.8. Sharpness is acceptable, but not tack sharp. These guys move fairly quickly and with lots of random movements. I end up pre-focusing on certain spots and waiting until the subject swims into the focus area. Requires lots of patience, but it seems to work. The 50mm is perfect for these kind of shots. The distance is about right for the focal length. And most importantly, you get that wide aperture of f/1.8. Wish I had a f/1.2 Noct-Nikkor, though. Oh baby, the amount of light I can get… (dreaming again)