FLYFISHING PHOTOGRAPHY: 2 A DYNAMIC APPROACH
“Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like” – David Alan Harvey
Much like telling a story, ‘evoking an emotion’ is the holy grail of photography. In order to achieve this you need to strike a balance between technical ability and creative license.
To get the most out of your gear (so that you can work that marriage between art and theory) here Gareth Reid shares a few of his personal hacks to ensure you don’t miss any opportunities; as well as an easy four point-post editing plan and; a dynamic approach for creating unique imagery…
- Setting a wide aperture (small f-stop number) to create a shallow depth-of-field and focusing on a specific location such as an eye or an interesting marking on a fish will draw the viewer into your desired point of interest. This also aids in removing any distracting backgrounds.
- Adjusting your shutter speed can either capture or remove motion from your image. For example a fast shutter speed will remove ‘camera bounce’ and a slow shutter speed can capture movement of a speeding boat or allow for some epic nightscapes.
- Catching fish and capturing images are usually best done in the low light periods of the day, as the sun rises and sets. Adjusting your ISO (upward) and Aperture will improve your cameras ability to harness the available ambient light
Whether shooting wildlife while on safari or hosting fishing trips abroad I avoid fiddling with my camera settings as much as possible while in the field and rather focus on what’s happening around me. Below are a couple hacks for avoiding this:
- Aperture priority mode – This function allows you to manually select your aperture while your camera will automatically select the appropriate shutter speed. Ideal for quickly selecting your depth-of-field before lifting a fish out of the water or snapping a couple different depth options without too much fiddling.
- Shutter priority mode – Priority on shutter speed when shooting action shots. A moving boat, a bird flying past, a hooked fish going aerial. All involve a small window of opportunity and the need to adjust shutter depending on speed and light
- Restricting your ISO limit to avoid degradation of image quality and then selecting ‘ISO auto’ will allow your camera to select the best setting within your preselected range avoiding ‘noise’ and time spent making adjustments.
A simple and easy process to follow that results in natural looking images and avoids:
- High contrasting shadows from your subject wearing a cap
- Blown out highlights from a blazing sun
- Low-light challenges
- Poor dynamic ranges.
Lightroom is a great piece of software with an easy-to-use interface, however most editing software apps whether on your pc of cellphone will have the below functionality you can adjust.
- Highlights – Decrease the light in the highlights. (minus value)
- Shadows – Increase the light in your shadows (plus value)
- White Balance – Ensure your white balance is exposed correctly in your histogram
- Straighten your horizon – done in the cropping function
A dynamic view and capturing the experience
As mentioned before we want to be telling a story, giving context to your images and creating interest and intrigue. Thinking of how you want to portray the scene and then reverse engineering the process will give you a more methodical approach and a better sense of purpose.
You’re running in a boat down a remote river and want to show speed and reference
- Slow shutter speed to give motion
- Low ISO value and narrow aperture to compensate for additional light absorption
A jumping fish, kicking up water and creating chaos and fear
- Fast shutter speed for sharp image capturing an exact frame
- Multiple focal points for hitting a moving target
- ISO set on auto for light adjustment
Elephants crossing the Chobe River in the high sun
- Bigger depth of field to show environment
- Focal point positioned on the lead elephant to give direction
- Low ISO value for best image quality
- Decrease light in the “highlights” and increase light in your “shadows” in post editing software
In the depths of the Amazon, a flock of macaws fly over or a Cayman on the bank
- Shutter priority so you don’t miss your narrow window of opportunity
- ISO on auto mode to allow your camera to select the appropriate speed
- Set multiple focal point so you can hit a moving target
The sun is setting, your mate is bombing out casts towards the horizon
- Increase ISO and widen aperture to allow for the most amount of light
- Steady your hand to avoid camera bounce
Its New Moon, you’re in the middle of a desert landscape and the stars are incredible
- Get a tripod for stability
- Go full manual mode for creativity
- Widen your aperture and increase your ISO value to allow for maximum ambient light
- Manually open and close your shutter (bulb) and experiment. * This can become a worm hole. You’ve been warned…
Like flyfishing, photography is about capturing the experience, not just the results….