Tag Archives: aquarium


In the UK, the puffin is a well recognized bird.  The small body and large bill are easily identified and the coloring is pretty bright.  I am struggling to think whether I have ever seen one in the wild as they live in some pretty remote places.  I might have but I don’t recall it.  The aquarium in Newport OR had a bunch of them though.  While the coloring was a lot more subdued, there was no doubt that they were puffins given their shape.

Whether birds really have personality or not, you can imagine it with puffins.  They seem to be very fussy in the way they move which is probably just a function of being quite a small bird.  As they paddled around the pool and flapped their wings, we got a good look at their mannerisms.  The enclosure was pretty compact so you were very close to them which allowed some good opportunities to get some shots.  Seeing them out in the wild would be cooler but I don’t tend to hang around on cliff faces too often.

My Friends the Eels

Nancy thinks I am nuts (probably for many reasons) but one of them is because I find eels fascinating.  Most aquariums seem to have some eels on display and I love to look at them.  Very often they are pretty reticent about coming out, preferring to stay in their crevices keeping an eye out for something tasty.  However, at the aquarium in Newport, the eels were a lot more active.

They were either swimming about (including clattering in to each other) or they were in a hole but coming out of it regularly to see what was going on.  I have never seen them so active.  Needless to say, I got a bunch of pictures as well as trying some video of them.  Not often that they are so mobile.

Sea Otter Tenant

Our visit to the aquarium in Monterey was mainly indoors but we did step out onto the deck area to see what was out there in the rain. I didn’t have a camera with me other than my phone but I did borrow Nancy’s P900 because a Sea Otter had moved in to the pool to take it easy. Someone told us that she was pregnant and liked the shelter the pool afforded. She certainly seemed to be relaxing comfortably while we were there. Maybe Tyson can update us on how she has been doing.

Some Fishy Video

As you might have noticed, there is a bit of theme developing with some of the stuff I post.  Photos are the main focus of what I do but I am also dabbling more with the video side of things.  There are some things that video can show that stills do not represent as well.  Since the 1D MkIV arrived in my hands with the ability to shoot HD video, I have been surprised how many times I have taken some video along with the stills.

Anyway, all of that is a roundabout way of saying that I have got some video from the Shedd Aquarium here in Chicago that goes along with the previous posts on the swimmy things.  It is shot through glass (of course) in the public areas so I know that the reflections are sometimes there but even so,  I hope you like it.

More Fish

After the jellyfish and the Belugas, it was time to walk around the rest of the aquarium.  They have a number of exhibits that we always like to check out including the large tank in the main hall in which they carry out feedings with a diver talking to the assembled people.  I got snap happy taking shots of the various creatures as they whizzed about in their tanks.

Again, shooting through thick tank walls and cranking up the ISO does not always make for the greatest images but you get a feel for what they have.  Not a huge amount to say so i hope you enjoy some of these shots.


Beluga Whales

Since we were at the aquarium and had paid the entrance fee, we weren’t only going to look at the jellyfish.  We aren’t members of the Shedd so coming and going like we do at the zoo or the arboretum is not a practical solution.  Therefore, we had a list of things we also wanted to take a look at while we were there.  One of these was the Beluga Whales.

We both have a soft spot for the Belugas.  For Nancy’s birthday a few years ago, I bought her a Beluga Encounter where so got to stand in the tank with the whales while the trainers instructed them on how to work with them to do various activities.  She had a great time!  Anyway, they are a sweet looking creature and, since they are the only whale with a flexible neck, they have a way of appearing to be more human, even if it is only in your mind.

For some reason, they were very active while we were there.  They came to the surface a lot including some mini-breaches, splashing around and squirting water from their mouths.  I hadn’t seen them this active before.  More often, they will be swimming around below the surface a lot.  We hadn’t intended to spend so much time with them but in the end we were there for ages.  The show with the dolphins got going further round the facility.  This made shooting both better and worse.

When the blinds are open on the windows, the whales can often be backlit.  However, there is still light.  They lower blinds for the shows.  The light becomes a lot softer at this point.  Of course, there is also a lot less of it.  More cranking up of the ISO!

Jelly Time

If you want an example of how long it can take me to get around to something, how about the jellyfish exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium.  This has been going on for ages – I think we talked about taking my Mum there in August and it had been around for a while – but we have finally got around to seeing it.  Actually, we thought January would be a really good time to go since it wasn’t peak season.

In the summer, the line to get into the Shedd can stretch quite a way and on a sunny and hot day, it can be a touch uncomfortable.  A January day seemed like it was far more likely to be quiet.  What we hadn’t counted on was that they were running a promotion for Illinois residents.  They had the basic admission price waived and any more expensive tickets had the same amount discounted.  This appealed to a lot of people judging by the line.

At least we got the discount too so we stuck it out and made our way in to the building.  Since the jellyfish were the main reason for being there, we did that first.  It was a neat exhibit.  They had some really informative stuff about jellyfish, how they live and what they do – not a complex life you understand, just eat, reproduce and die – but some interesting stuff all the same.  They had a variety of different species floating around in their tanks.

I had gone equipped with a remote flash to think about shooting them but the Shedd is a flash free environment.  Instead, I was glad to have the MkIV since I was able to crank up the ISO quite a lot.  At the really high ISOs the noise does become apparent but at least you get the shot and if you aren’t pixel peeping, it is not too big a problem.  Besides, you are shooting through thick tank walls so how good can the images really be?