NC Aquarium at Pine Knolls Shores
Caption: A young child on a school field trip stares through the glass as an otter glances back at the child as it swims close to the glass.--Photo by: Aaron Cress--
November 13th, 2010 - Article by Aaron Cress

Photography can be difficult in an aquarium setting. The lighting is dim, the subjects tend to move fast, and attempting autofocus through panes of glass can be quite problematic. In addition to this-- if it is a weekday-- busloads of school children will likely be visiting on a field trip. The kids may be distracting, but their presence makes for some excellent photo opportunities.

The otters were a big hit at the aquarium on November 13th. Attempts to shoot in mixed lighting over large crowds of kids did not work well, but then an opportunity presented itself and it became possible to find a good spot that allowed pre-focus on an area where the otters were likely to swim past. After several attempts, the perfect shot was achieved: an otter and a single child met on each side of the glass—their curiosity and wonder revealed through their reflections on the glass. The ocean exhibit was also impressive in its size, number of viewing locations, and skylights, which provided excellent lighting for photography. This trip was cut short by a fire alarm, which also happens to be the best way to empty a building of school kids.