The Florida Aquarium in Tampa

Intro / Description

I first noticed the Florida Aquarium in downtown Tampa, Florida in April of 2012.  We left from there on a cruise and the aquarium is right across from the terminal where we boarded.  We didn’t have time to visit then, but I finally went back to see it last week.

Flying Starfish
Flying Starfish (not really – it was climbing on the aquarium glass); 27mm, f/2.8 @ 1/40s, ISO 3200

The Florida Aquarium has more than 20,000 plant and animal species on display and you’ll find many of the typical photo ops there.  Major exhibits are “Journey to Madagascar”, “Wetlands Trail”, “Penguin Point”, “Bays and Beaches”, “Coral Reef”, and “Ocean Commotion”.  The Coral Reef tank is big (~500,000 gallons), and has plenty of larger fish living there (sharks, rays and turtles, etc.).  You’ll also find land animals such as birds, snakes, lizards and lemurs in the different exhibits.

Info for Photographers

Photo hints:

As with any similar indoor attraction, the light is dim.  You’ll need a camera with good high ISO capabilities, and the larger your lens aperture, the better.  Image stabilization will help a little, but maybe not as much as you’d think, because your subjects will often be moving.  You might also want to  bring a polarizer to cut down on reflections in the glass although that’ll make the scenes even darker.  I didn’t use a polarizer – I just tried to keep my camera lens as close to the glass as I could to block reflections.  I’ve added exposure info to the captions in these photos so you can see what my settings were.

Toadfish
Toadfish; 38mm, f/3.2 @ 1/17s, ISO 1600

Tripod/Monopod: I carried a small one with me, but didn’t use it.  Subject motion and other people in the venue made a tripod less useful.

Lenses:  My 27 – 85mm equivalent lens covered most of the opportunities.  I shot wide open (f/2.8 – f/4), with image stabilization turned on, and ISO sensitivities between 800 – 3200.

Best time to visit:  We got there just after it opened (~9:30) on a weekday.  The crowds were pretty light.  This is a good place to visit in the summer, since it’s air-conditioned!

Other:
The aquarium offers many kid oriented activities.  And they’ll also take you on a Wild Dolphin Cruise on Tampa Bay where you can see these animals and others in a non-captive environment.  Certified SCUBA divers can Dive With the Sharks in the aquarium, and behind the scene tours are also offered.

Chameleon
Chameleon; 54mm, f/3.6 @ 1/45s, ISO 1000

Summary

The Florida Aquarium is a good family outing and offers many photo opportunities too.

My Gallery /  Flickr photo set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/sets/72157647126904160
Website: http://www.flaquarium.org
Address / Phone: The Florida Aquarium
701 Channelside Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: 813-273-4000
Central Florida Photo Ops Rating: Worth a visit!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

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