pacman inkee

hep of the (3 months ago)

hep of the now, originally uploaded by hep.

hello all! i have added some new people so i will again introduce myself. i am hep, i am 31 and i live in san francisco with my three kids (11, 13, 15), my boyfriend yuriy, our menagerie of animals, and my two roomates. i work as a photographer for a variety of clients and studios in the bay, and in my free time i also take a large quantity of images of animals and children, which i then subject you all to here as well. for more details, and an explanation of my extremely unorthodox living situation (i live with my two exes, the fathers of the children, which are the aforementioned roomates. this is really much less drama than it reads as.) please go here to my intro tag and start from the bottom with this entry for all the sordid details.

today is all about fishing and relaxing. i was hoping to get back to the boardwalk this weekend, but, and i know there are many people who wont believe me about this, i have been so busy with work that outside of the party last night i have not taken one hobby photograph all week. terrible! so instead this weekend i think i will flex that new 300mm telezoom and try and get some pictures of the hawks riding the thermals above our mtn. it's mother's day, i do what i want! how are all of your mother's day weekends going so far?

even tho my children are older i end up with that happening anyway. "MOM PENGUINS ITS EATING A FISH!!!" like i have no eyes of my own hehe! also now that my children are bigger than me they hang on me more? look forward to that!

first: get a really fast lens. the wider it can open the better. i use a 50mm f1.4 and i leave it on f1.4 pretty much always. this way you can shoot really fast and not have to worry about motion blur/not enough light. and you don't need a flash since you are able to shoot at 200shutter speed, though i often have to bump my iso up to about 400-800 as well. however, the slight amount of noise grain at 800 is worth it to be able to stay shooting at 200. if you look at this shot under the large size, you can see that there is quite a bit of noise grain, because it was *extremely* dark and i believe i was shooting it on iso1600 or 3200. but the noise is worth it to be able to shoot in what was basically almost darkness.

another reason this lens choice is good is that since 50mm is basically a 70mm on the smaller cropped sensor dslrs, this means it is just telephoto enough to get me really good compositional space if i am close to the glass.

second: invest in a decent circular polarizer. this will cut your glare and reflection issues in half. you will still have to deal with some glare/reflections, but you will have way more control over what light is interfering the actual subject you want to shoot.

third: be prepared to take at least 5 shots for every subject. it helps to have time (many hours) and patience to be able to sit there and keep trying for a good crisp shot. often you have to let the fish swim around and around waiting for a specific angle. all in all i think i shot about 300-400photos total in there and we were there for well over 3hr. but i also occasionally do targetted aquarium trips where i go in with or two one things to shoot that i want and it takes about an hr.

i like aquariums and zoos because, like i said in that other post, it lets you really practice stuff you need to be able to use all the time in work shooting. you work with children, and im sure you have had to run after a kid before trying to compose and lose the shot because some random thing wasn't set correctly. this kind of shooting lets you get those kinds of errors worked out and lets certain things become totally automatic (flipping thru my iso settings on autopilot as i move into different lights) so that when i am work shooting i don't also have to be focused on learning some new behavior. less stress all around!
thanks for all the great tips ! i"m going to print this and stick it in my camera bag for next aquarium or zoo trip. it's way easier to practice on animals than live child clients. :) heh