If you've ever walked down the boardwalk at Coney Island, you know what a circus this attraction can be. Unsurprisingly, my visit to the nearby New York Aquarium was just as chaotic. The aquarium was hit hard by hurricane Sandy in 2012 and a lot of the facility is currently sectioned off for repairs. I kept this in mind as I wandered through the dated carpeted hallways past the indoor tanks.
Photography in aquariums can be tricky. Make sure to wear all black to reduce glare. Bring your SLR with a standard 50 or 35mm lens. Experiment with using a low ISO to prevent grainy images and high shutter speed to make moving fish appear still. Be patient and wait for the right shot.
While most patrons went to attend the seal show I hung back indoors to photograph some of the exhibits with less people around. The staff began closing down the front area by a large tank a half hour before closing time and, thankfully, they let me walk behind the ropes in order to take a few shots.
I couldn't help but feel disappointed with my visit to the New York Aquarium. I'm glad I visited as part of the #NYisWILD competition, however, the stress of dealing with the crowds and the regular animal performances made me second guess the intention of the facility. In this day, aquariums should be a tool for education, conservation, and research...especially one that is run by a conservation-based organization. I'm optimistic that with the expansion and renovations, the New York Aquarium will become a flagship facility for marine ecosystem education for the tri-state area in the years to come.