Taking Fish Pictures


Fish Pictures

                       Picture Policy

The copyright of any picture belongs to the owner and pictures may not be downloaded or used without the written permission
of the owner. All pictures shown on this website will credit the photographer or owner of the picture.
The pictures included in FishWise have been collected over more than 30 years.

FishWise was originally created for private use and there was never any intention of making it generally available to the public.

More recently it was decided to create a website and there are now more than 36 000 Pictures available for viewing on this site.

If any pictures are shown on this website which belong to anyone who does not want their pictures to appear on this site, please urgently
contact dennis@fishwise.cc and they will be removed immediately. There is no need to list all the pictures to be removed, as all pictures
are linked to a Photographer. By giving the Photographer’s name all pictures belonging to that photographer can easily be removed.
It would also be greatly appreciated if anyone who owns pictures shown on this website that has not given permission to FishWise to use
them, but does not object to them being used, would please contact dennis@fishwise.cc giving FishWise permission to use them.
We would like to have your contact details so that we can be in contact and can thank you.



                      Picture Format and requirements for FishWise

FishWise uses JPG or GIF format files.

The pictures should ideally be 720 pixels wide with a height of 400 pixels and generally have a file size of between 40 and 120 Kilo Bytes.

Conventionally the fish is displayed horizontally with its tail on the right hand side and head at the left.

If you send pictures to FishWise, please include the following information with the picture:

      Scientific Name of the fish

      Estimated size of fish in millimeters

      Name of the Photographer

      Place and Country where the picture was taken

      Any other information which you feel would be of interest such as depth.


The easiest way is to include the information in the name of the file, see example below:

“Pomacanthus imperator ~350mm John Smith South Africa Kwa-Zulu Natal Shark Rock St LuciaJPG”


If you are concerned about your pictures being downloaded and printed, it is wise to select a quality

level of about 6 to 8 when saving the JPG file. Play around a bit and decide on a quality level that

looks good on the screen but which is not suitable for printing.


                     Fish Pictures for Identification.

There are several picture categories:

Black and white drawings

These are often referred to as scientific illustrations. An example below is a drawing of a Scorpion Fish.

by Elaine Heemstra during a visit to the Azores.




     Color paintings

        The quality of these can be exceptional as is shown in the page of wrasses created by Elaine Heemstra of the SAIAB South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity.




 Painting of a Yellowfin Tuna by L.A. Cada who has kindly donated the use of all his pictures to mankind.




      These are pictures of fish taken on land or on a boat. Typically the freshly captured fish would be placed on a flat surface or held up vertically and then photographed.
The picture of the longtail silver biddy shown horizontally was taken by G.V. Hermosa, Jr and that of the giant brindlebass being held vertically was taken by Jack Randall                                                                                                                                               

     Tank Photos

       Typically the fish has been collected by an individual or by a collection team. It is identified and then pinned out on a board of some sort. The pinning process involves carefully pulling the various fins out to display them and pinning them in this position. Once all the fins have been pinned out, the base of the fins is then painted with formalin. This causes the muscles to go rigid. The pins are then removed and the now rigid fish is placed between 2 flat pieces of glass. This assembly is then lowered into a tank of water and a picture is taken through the side of the tank. The quality of these pictures can be surprisingly good as is shown by the top left picture taken by Dr. Richard Winterbottom. See underwater picture of the same species top right taken by the writer. 

Picture bottom left is a tank photo by Dr. Richard Winterbottom and Picture bottom right is an underwater photograph by Sally Polack. You can immediately see how much more useful the tank picture would be for someone that is trying to identify the fish on the basis of the number of spines in the dorsal fin. All tank photos are not always as good as these examples. Often the fish are left for a long time before being photographed allowing the color to disappear or to even turn black. It is also difficult to avoid getting bad reflections from the glass of the tank and a lot of experimentation is necessary before taking this type of picture.




.................................................The pictures above are tank photos .............................The pictures above are underwater photos



     Aquarium photos

        These are pictures of fish in an aquarium taken from outside. The aquarium can either be a small home aquarium or a large public aquarium. Extremely good pictures can be obtained when photographing fish in aquariums. The pictures shown below were taken by Dennis Polack of fish in a hotel aquarium in Cape Town.



  The above 4 pictures were taken in a hotel aquarium

The above picture was taking in the Two Oceans Aquarium

by Dennis Polack while diving in the aquarium in Cape Town.

      Underwater Photos

        The photographer is underwater with the camera and takes the picture underwater. This is where most pictures are obtained. With the advent of digital cameras and cheaper underwater housings, many more people are taking pictures underwater and probably millions of pictures are being taken daily. It is entirely different and very much harder to take pictures underwater than it is above the water. New techniques and special equipment is needed but the effort is worth it and it is a most rewarding and enjoyable pursuit. Below are two examples of Underwater fish pictures. The 4 pictures shown below are typical underwater pictures.



         Rhinopias eschmeyeri - Barry Skinstad                                                                            Oxymonocanthus longirostris – Sally Polack


       Nemateleotris decora – Dennis Polack                                                                                Synchiropis splendidus – Sally Polack


                    Fish Pictures wanted.

If you have pictures of fish and would like to share them with other interested divers and fish

watchers please email them to dennis@fishwise.cc. Please read the section “b” regarding the

format required for adding pictures to the FishWise website. You will be credited for the picture

so please ensure that you include your full name and contact details. If possible please also give

the scientific name of the fish as it will be extremely difficult and time consuming to identify

large numbers of fish images.



                    Fish Picture Galleries

Galleries are now available on this site.  

An example of some of the pictures is shown below



You can browse through the various Galleries and Albums or you can create and maintain your own Gallery or Galleries.

Galleries are very easy to create and maintain.

If you would like to create your own Gallery/s please request a password.

Your email address will be your Username

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