Sea snail underside

Glowing Shell II: Aperture View

We returned to our large sea snail shell for this One Picture a Day. Our One Picture a Day project uses the equipment featured in our Best Cheap Nikon Kit page.  We create at least one new photograph to post about each day. They can all be viewed in the Gallery. We photographed this shell from another angle a few weeks ago. The shell is lit by an intense LED flashlight held to the underside of the shell.

As before, we used the same LED flashlight. We again used gaffer’s tape to secure the flashlight to the shell. We again photographed in a dark room; the LED flashlight is the only source of light here. We used a 60mm Micro-Nikkor f/2.8 AF, which has excellent optics plus close-focus ability. For more about what we like about this 60mm, see our full review.

The previous session was all hand-held, both subject and camera. Today we improved the process slightly. We placed the camera on a tripod, a stroke of genius I must say. The subject we propped up on a tabletop, of all places. A little more gaffer’s tape completed the set-up. This allowed us to keep depth of field by shooting at a higher aperture, while also able to lower the ISO significantly low to reduce grain. The final image is ISO 400, f/11 at 1/8 of a second; in our handheld shoot a while ago, we had to shoot at ISO 5000 to keep the shutter speed 1/60 sec at f/11. The result is a smoother photograph. However, we were shooting a different angle before, so it’s not completely comparable. The only post-processing beyond the normal was that I brushed out a little bit of the flashlight housing that appeared at the bottom if the image.

I do not know the species of the snail. It is relatively large, about two inches in diameter. I can’t say I know where it comes from; I think I inherited it in a box of curiosities from someone’s vacation, picked up at an estate auction.

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