Big things swimming by.

I love seeing the big sting rays at the aquarium. It’s funny how they have faces underneath. I think that first one was smiling at me.

It’s fun to watch the kids go crazy over the sharks. You get to see them close up.

A turtle cruising by.

There’s something hypnotic about watching the fish swim by.

More fun from my September visit to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa.

Other stuff at the Florida Aquarium

It’s not often you can get close up to a ruddy duck or a wood duck. They are very different than the common mallards or muscovy ducks that most people see in their neighborhoods.

Turtles and alligators. The funny thing in the bottom picture is that the alligator has his foot on the other alligator’s head.

Scenes from the top deck of the Aquarium, looking down the channel and around the city. I know it looks like it was too pretty a day to be inside but it was so hot and humid that it was nice to spend the morning in air conditioning.

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Just keep swimming

Because I’m a member of the Tampa zoo, I get in free to the Florida Aquarium in September. Which works out perfect because by the time September comes around I’m tired of being outside in the heat and want to do something indoors. I get there right when it opens before the crowds cover the glass. I was using Auto mode on my camera with no flash since the flash would just put a big spotlight in the picture. And most of the exhibits don’t allow flash anyway. It’s too hard to bring a tripod in with even the smallest crowd. A lot of these were taken with my phone as well.

 

Seahorses are everyone’s favorite but it’s really hard to see them. They keep it dark in the room and no flash allowed. These were taken with my phone.

Always fun to see jellyfish floating upside down.

I call these boob jellyfish.

This little guy was so cute. He was very animated.

I took a ton of pictures since it was nice and cool inside so more to come. The Aquarium is fun until it’s crowded. When I left before noon it was wall to wall people and you had to wait to get close to the glass. I would suggest going during the week when school is in if you can to keep from bumping into kids.

 

Beautiful faces up close

It’s rare to get this close to roseate spoonbills. I see them occasionally in the ponds and ditches around work but they are usually far away. There are several that live in the aviary at the Florida Aquarium and they seem to be comfortable around the crowds. You can’t get close enough to touch them but closer than out in the wild. All are permanently injured with a wing or an eye missing and live here now. They develop more color in their faces as they get older during breeding season. These were all taken with my 200mm lens and cropped.

There are a few other birds there as well such as this ibis trying to eat something that doesn’t look like food.

Views from outside the aquarium.

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Indoor faces in the middle of August

It was too hot to be outside in the middle of August so I headed indoors to the Florida Aquarium. It was nice to walk around and take pictures in air conditioning. I cheated and took all of these in Auto program mode (with no flash) since the Aquarium was going to be way to crowded to be using a tripod. Even 10 minutes after the doors opened, kids were running into me. It was still a fun morning and I walked around for about 2 hours.

You can barely make out my reflection in the above. Even without using flash, there’s a slight light that shines for a second while focusing. Trying to use regular flash against this thick glass is crazy. You’re only going to get a big white light across your pictures. You also have to watch for shadows and reflections on the glass which is apparent in the above. I was able to keep other people’s reflections out of most of the pictures.

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Finding Nemo

Or “Blurry fish behind really thick glass.”  I took these all in “Auto with no flash” mode since I didn’t have a tripod and I didn’t want to use flash.  If you use flash you will just get a big bright white blob on in the picture from the reflection of the flash. So the easiest “cheat” way to do it is Auto with no flash.  The hardest shots to get are of the fish in the round exhibits since the round thick glass makes it much harder to get a clear shot. It was a fun morning to walk around in the Florida Aquarium in Tampa.  Too hot to be outside.

The big ones under water

You can get really close to the big swimmers under water at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. Turtles, sharks and sting rays swim right up to the glass. The sting rays look like they have happy faces when they swim up.

You can swim in the exhibit with the sharks. Not sure if that pole he’s holding would calm my fears. I’m sure they keep them well fed though.