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.
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.
Not all of the otters looked so happy. This chap was content to sit on a rock baring his teeth at everyone.
But they still looked cute when they were all hanging around together.
Although this guy was still keen to show off his teeth, which could very easily remove one of your fingers.
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.
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.
We were soon back to the air-breathers when we caught sight of this beautiful lizard thing.
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.
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.
As we worked our way round to the tunnel itself, we passed some more semi-aquatic animals.
We then passed through the tunnel, which was great to pass through, less good to photograph thanks to the light and the curved glass.
I tried taking a few shots of the turtles from underwater as they looked so beautiful.
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.
The turtles swimming around were quite content to swim around, poking their heads up above water and splashing at people from time to time.
They occasionally came by to say hello through the glass.
I do like the way the water shimmers above them when they’re near the surface.
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.