Bournemouth Aquarium

No sooner do I complete the series of posts resulting from one holiday, I start on publishing photos from another. I want to make clear this is less a result of the frequency of my holidays and more a damning critique on the speed I edit images from them (I still have a large pile of shots from my 2012 summer holiday that I’ve been working through, as a matter of fact).

As much as I love aquariums, they can be a pain in the arse to take pictures at. The glass they use is primarily to keep the water (and in some cases, the sharks) on one side and the children banging on the glass on the other. The optical quality is rarely of a high concern, and when it is they used curved glass to maximise the view of the whole tank, at the expense of true-to-life image quality. It’s all well and good using an L series lens to capture scenes of wildlife, but kind of pointless when the glass is dulling the sharpness of the photo and introducing such extreme and unusual chromatic aberration that Lightroom isn’t prepared to deal with it.

But I digress somewhat, because the first creatures we saw when we visited the aquarium in Bournemouth weren’t underwater at all, and the very first wasn’t even entirely behind glass.

1/80sec, f/4, ISO 250, 105mm
1/80sec, f/4, ISO 250, 105mm

This lizard (which might be an iguana but I’m not entirely sure) was sitting by the entrance, as a slightly bizarre welcome to an attraction that has very little to do with land-based creatures, generally.

The next pen we came to was full of animals that at least like to swim a lot, even if they’re technically mammals. But they loved to play with rocks on the other side of a piece of clean, non-distorting glass.

1/25sec, f/4, ISO 4000, 73mm
1/25sec, f/4, ISO 4000, 73mm

Not all of the otters looked so happy. This chap was content to sit on a rock baring his teeth at everyone.

1/160sec, f/4, ISO 4000, 75mm
1/160sec, f/4, ISO 4000, 75mm

But they still looked cute when they were all hanging around together.

1/200sec, f/4, ISO 4000, 67mm
1/200sec, f/4, ISO 4000, 67mm
1/160sec, f/4, ISO 4000, 105mm
1/160sec, f/4, ISO 4000, 105mm

Although this guy was still keen to show off his teeth, which could very easily remove one of your fingers.

1/320sec, f/4, ISO 4000, 84mm
1/320sec, f/4, ISO 4000, 84mm

We finally came to some tanks that had water in them. Even better, this first tank also had clean, non-curved glass. One of the more interesting creatures in there was this thing, called a pig-nose turtle for reasons I can’t even begin to fathom.

1/50sec, f/4, ISO 6400, 47mm
1/50sec, f/4, ISO 6400, 47mm

The shots of this little guy actually came out pretty well. There was a comparatively decent amount of light in the tank (obviously still needing an ISO of 6400) and the aforementioned glass meant I could actually see what was going on.

1/50sec, f/4, ISO 6400, 28mm
1/50sec, f/4, ISO 6400, 28mm
1/125sec, f/4, ISO 6400, 40mm
1/125sec, f/4, ISO 6400, 40mm
1/100sec, f/4, ISO 6400, 35mm
1/100sec, f/4, ISO 6400, 35mm

We were soon back to the air-breathers when we caught sight of this beautiful lizard thing.

1/320sec, f/4, ISO 6400, 105mm
1/320sec, f/4, ISO 6400, 105mm

A staple of any aquarium is the underwater tunnel. Most aquariums (certainly every one I’ve been to) also let you see the tank through which the tunnel passes from other angles. As they often employ the Ikea method of shuffling you around in a particular direction sometimes you pass through the tunnel and then see the rest of the tank, and sometimes vice versa. At this particular aquarium you get a view from the top of the tank, above the water level, before you loop round and through it.

In this large tank, something else that is similar to other aquariums, the main animals were big turtles and sharks. I guess they’re just species that get on well.

1/200sec, f/4, ISO 800, 40mm
1/200sec, f/4, ISO 800, 40mm
1/250sec, f/4, ISO 800, 58mm
1/250sec, f/4, ISO 800, 58mm

I found it quite soothing just watching the turtles swim about. They’re quite content to just float about, doing relays, generally living a the sort of pace that gives them such longevity. They sometimes played games too, like this time one decided to pretend to be a shark.

1/320sec, f/4, ISO 800, 70mm
1/320sec, f/4, ISO 800, 70mm

As we worked our way round to the tunnel itself, we passed some more semi-aquatic animals.

1/800sec, f/4, ISO 4000, 67mm
1/800sec, f/4, ISO 4000, 67mm

We then passed through the tunnel, which was great to pass through, less good to photograph thanks to the light and the curved glass.

1/1600sec, f/4, ISO 4000, 24mm
1/1600sec, f/4, ISO 4000, 24mm

I tried taking a few shots of the turtles from underwater as they looked so beautiful.

1/250sec, f/4, ISO 250, 24mm
1/250sec, f/4, ISO 250, 24mm
1/250sec, f/4, ISO 320, 24mm
1/250sec, f/4, ISO 320, 24mm

I guess I should buy a waterproof camera. And learn to swim. And overcome my fear of depths. And… oh forget it.

The final room had a large, shallow tank with more turtles, a stingray, and other assorted fish. There was also some nautical decorations around, presumably to help the wildlife feel at home.

1/20sec, f/4, ISO 2000, 50mm
1/20sec, f/4, ISO 2000, 50mm

The turtles swimming around were quite content to swim around, poking their heads up above water and splashing at people from time to time.

1/160sec, f/4, ISO 2000, 105mm
1/160sec, f/4, ISO 2000, 105mm

They occasionally came by to say hello through the glass.

1/80sec, f/4, ISO 2000, 24mm
1/80sec, f/4, ISO 2000, 24mm

I do like the way the water shimmers above them when they’re near the surface.

1/160sec, f/4, ISO 2000, 24mm
1/160sec, f/4, ISO 2000, 24mm

Unfortunately the aquarium hasn’t yet received its shipment of penguins, which I think are due to arrive in the near future. So that was the end of the photographs of our trip round the aquarium at Bournemouth (I didn’t shoot a lot of the , and the end of this first post of the images I took whilst spending a week in Dorset, my spiritual home. I’m not sure yet how the shots will break down but there’s definitely a couple more posts in the pipeline.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: