We brought sketch books, but I quickly realized the fish were moving around too much to do anything other than rapid gesture drawings, so I opted for photos instead.
I did want to try painting from a photo later at home, and was taken by the classic orange and white koi as a good subject.
Though this golden koi also caught my eye -- incredibly beautiful.
I stuck with "classic" koi, as it had more color variety to work with. I decided to try doing it in pastels -- I bought some months ago as part of my "year of art", to explore new media. After doodling with them for a bit and getting frustrated by the fact I had no idea how to handle them, I put them away.
I dug them out again, and found a sheet of blue pastel paper lying around, and tackled the koi with a mix of soft pastel (the oranges, yellow, and white) and hard pastel pencils (darker spots and lines). I tried a few different ways of blending, and had to go over the main body a couple of times. Overall, it turned out pretty well -- but I'm not sure pastel is something I'd use a lot.
One thing I learned (a little too late): wear old clothes. There is now orange chalk dust all over a nice blue shirt I bought two weeks ago, which is not quite so nice now!