I am working on a portfolio of jellyfish from a recent trip to an aquarium. I have always been fascinated with theses creatures and I was very happy when realizing they were on exhibit. Jellyfish are very difficult to photograph, and even more difficult to print. Lucky for me, the jellyfish exhibit was not very popular. I had little problems with crowds and I was able to spend as much time with them as I needed. Part of the problem is dealing with reflections on the glass. Some angles were just impossible to shoot from without reflections. The tank was lit from above and towards the front, so the light intensity was variable both from top to bottom as well as from front to back. This variable light actually helped to isolate forward jellyfish from ones in the rear. Still, the light meant that exposure had to be frequently adjusted. Also, there was a current running through the tank keeping the jellyfish in constant motion. Trying to get interesting compositions meant taking many photos and being quick with the shutter. Often, the jellyfish would move too far to the edge or too far apart from one another before I could successfully make an exposure. There were also many out of focus shots due to their movement. It was great fun! I enjoyed it very much!
Now, printing them becomes a challenge because I wanted the background to be black, and to feel like it was falling back into the picture. Glossy surface paper had reflections in the black that made it feel as though it were on the surface. I finally tried matte paper and that gave the effect I was after. I have only finished printing two of them so far, and I hope to have a portfolio of about 9 or so jellyfish once I am finished. I cannot wait to visit another aquarium with jellies! These beauties are so much fun!