The National Aquarium’s first ever “InstaMeet” took place this past Tuesday in honor of the one year anniversary of their Black Tip Reef Exhibit. A small group of people who use the popular social media app, Instagram, were invited to an after hours party to enjoy light refreshments, good company and the opportunity to photograph one of the aquarium’s largest and most diverse exhibits. The participants were chosen through a contest that the National Aquarium made available to their followers on social media. The contest required them to submit a contact form with their name and Instagram account. Winners were randomly selected a week prior to the event.
The Black Tip Reef exhibit is home to 779 different animals including tiny fish, large sharks and a giant 500lb sea turtle named Calypso that enjoys eating carrots. The reef isn’t actually real coral but fake coral made from the molds of real coral skeletons. Since a reef takes anywhere from one-hundred thousand to three million years to fully form, molds were made and the fish enjoy a realistic habitat. Instagrammers were allowed to freely roam the exhibit at their leisure and photograph the marine life with their iPhones, point-and-shoot cameras and even professional grade camera gear.
“Shooting in very low light with curved glass was very challenging, but I thought it was a really well thought out event. I never felt unwelcome or awkward and look forward to future events of similar nature,” said Mike Rogers, 25, from Cockeysville, Md.
This was the first time the National Aquarium has done something like this but it won’t be the last. The meet was a huge success resulting in over 250 photos posted with the tag #reefmeet on Instagram.