Thursday, January 15, 2009

You either fish or you photograph.

Every time I fish with my good friend Rick DePiava I see things that I wish I could photograph but I have a rod in my hand and not a camera. Rick always tells me "You either fish or you photograph, but you can't do both." I believe those were words taught to him by Pat Ford. For those of you that don't know Pat, and I don't personally, he is an incredible photographer who travels the world taking pictures of anything that has a fin. The last few weeks for me have been full of charters and even though I would love to be taking loads of pictures the bottom line is, it is very difficult to take creative photos with good lighting while guiding. I would have to say most of my clients are more interested in getting a quick grip and grin and getting on with the fishing, but here are a few things that can make even your grip and grin shots more interesting.

First, look the part, now I am not talking about being covered from head to toe with Columbia gear, but old rock n roll tour shirts or wife beaters do not make for a good fishing photograph. Wear something colorful (not a tie dye shirt) and comfortable. Even if you wear a white long sleeve tee have a hat with some color or colorful board shorts.
Another good way to add some color is with a Buff, if you do not know what a Buff is look it up, they are the best thing for sun protection and I now find myself wearing one everyday. My second bit of advice is learn how to hold a fish, that's right there is a proper way to hold a fish so you can see the fish and not your hands. So many redfish pictures I have seen and taken have the fishes tail covered by someones hand, totally taking away from the picture. The redfish's tail is their trademark. Try to avoid using holding devices, like a Bogagrip. Bogagrips are great and I have two of them but they have their uses and being in picture is not one of them. Another trick to keep in mind is don't always look right into the camera, look at the fish or interact with someone else on the boat this makes for a more interesting photo.
So even if you are not a professional and I know I am not, you too can make your fishing pictures more impressive with a little practice and effort. The pictures added to this post will be good examples of some do's and don'ts, and they were all taken by me even though some I am embarrassed about.
Do: This is a good grip and grin and also a good example on how to hold a redfish.

Do: A good example for showing a different way to hold a fish, permit look so cool straight at the camera. Nice yellow shirt.

Do: colorful clothes and showing the fishes tail.

Don't: Joe is wearing all white clothes and it takes away from the picture.

Don't: Joe is going to hate me for this but he will get over it. Again nice sunny day but to much white? Harsh lighting but fill flash blew the fish and his shirt out.

Don't: This snook was caught yesterday on my charter and was the inspiration for this post. Great fish but no color makes for an average grip and grin shot.
Don't: Another example of all white, the camera has a hard time exposing between the reflection of the permit and the white of his shirt and his dark face. If I used fill flash to light his face the fish would have been very blown out.
Remember, I am just a fishing guide with a camera and a computer, not an expert. I know most of you have heard all these pointers before, but just a reminder. We are all better photographers when we focus on what we are doing and it is tough while more fish are around to be caught. Have fun with it and I hoped it helps.


Anonymous said...

Nice post captain!

StuartFlyfishing said...

Thanks, RJ email me some pictures if you like.

LenH said...

Very good photography.
The fish are awesome too.
Len *spinner* Harris

StuartFlyfishing said...

Thanks Len,
It does not matter if you are out there holding a fly rod or a spinning rod, it is all about the experience!