Saturday, 6 June 2009

LONDON PICTURES AT LAST - part one, THE AQUARIUM

Although first of all, I would like to offer an explanation for my being a crap blogger recently. It is threefold:
  1. I am not a very good guitarist, and must become a much better guitarist in the next couple of months unless I want to spoil a good friend's wedding. Much time and effort is currently devoted to making this happen.
  2. I am working on a sooper sekrit sekrit bird related project, the results of which will likely be shared with the rest of mankind for the benefit thereof if I ever get the damn thing working.
  3. The twitter feed has absorbed much in the way of the pointless short postings which make up the vast bulk of my output.
So with that out of the way, see below for the magic:

A couple of weeks ago, I managed to happily combine the first off-site trials of my new camera/lens with a cool wildlife related day out with the missus. The London Aquarium near Waterloo and London Zoo in regents park. It was good fun - I'd never been to the former, and it's been years since I'd visited the latter. As far as photos are concerned the Aquarium was, for obvious reasons, a bit dark for photography, but I managed to get some good ones.

First stop was the Ray pool where we'd arrived just in time to see them fed. Rays are extremely cool, possibly because they are closely related to sharks. Both have a cartilaginous skeletal structure as opposed to the more traditional material of bone, and the skin of both feels rather a lot like sandpaper. Disappointingly, touching the rays is no longer allowed (it used to be, and I remember doing this as a child at the equally exciting Southend Sea Life Centre), but in these days of health and safety and following the completely unrelated death-by-stingray of Steve Irwin, I imagine the letters of complaint from uninformed parents were too much to bear.

Low light conditions were extreme, the fish constantly moving and flash photography not allowed - this a flavour of the best level of photo I was able to get:


Which I'm not unhappy with - the length of shutter speed I was using really demanded a tripod so if anything I'm impressed with the level of image stabilisation. The pattering on the back is clear, and reading the instruction manual properly before the visit would probably have allowed me to ramp up the iso values a bit. My fault.

The other animal we particularly wanted to see here was the Seahorse. I don't know anyone who isn't somehow fascinated by seahorses - they're the most unlikely looking creatures. Photos were a bit more successful here as the tanks were well lit, and seahorses are by nature fairly sedentary creatures:


Awwwww

Am I the only one who sees this?

Plenty of other usual suspects were present - the obligatory sharks, some terrapins, more tropical fish than I could shake a stick at. The missus took a particular liking to anything yellow - particularly the Yellow Tang.

Giving an excellent view of the small spines just in front of the tail fin

Being male and unable to help myself, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to photograph the fast moving sharks in low light conditions.


All in all I was impressed with the set-up and the collection at the aquarium. It's expensive - don't get me wrong - even buying in advance over the net, and I wouldn't go again unless there was a very special offer on ticket prices, but it was well worth doing once.

To finish off, here are some other pictures that came out particularly well:

Garden Eel. Very odd. Though not quite as odd as the upside-down jellyfish that I forgot to photograph.

Terrapin, and my first taste of the kind of crisp image this camera can achieve when it's not shooting through thick glass in low light.

Sorry, can't remember the name of this one. Royal something I think.

Rainbow something for this one.

1 comment:

  1. I think that you aren't allowed to pet rays anymore because the chemicals on your skin harms them. I don't think it's Steve Irwin's fault :)
    Good photos so far, get on with the zoo now!
    Intruiged about this bird project btw..

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