Every fish that comes aboard my skiff or comes to hand doesn’t get its mugshot taken, but when it happens, the subject most likely swims away muttering unspeakable things about the paparazzi.
I’m a catch and release angler at heart, so photos are the hallmark of my experience. My number one maxim: The most memorable fish is the one you release.
I really focus on the fish when capturing images to document my time on the water. Sure, I include human subjects at times, but for the most part the focus is on the prize.
I’ve been taking pictures for decades. I used to burn lots of images on film back when 35 mm was king. I sent rolls upon rolls away to a mail order processor in hopes of seeing an image that was worthy of a matte and frame.
Digital changed that. What it didn’t change was the basics of photography.
My father has thousands upon thousands of 35 mm slides from travels across the world, his understanding of photography was from experience as well as formal training and I was lucky enough to have him as a coach and mentor.
His guidance built my photographic foundation and shaped how I view the world and subjects through a lens.
The Gallery above is just a random selection from a photo dump from my iPhone. It demonstrates a couple of the principles that I believe could be helpful in improving your photography skills.
Composition is King
When you frame an image, pull the subject in closer. The idea of everything in view is often the enemy of a great image. Just like having a clear focus, the composition of the entire image is better tight. Have a subject and commit to it. Put the subject in view, not just in the center, but make it dominate the frame.
More is Better
Don’t get hung up on the composition so much so that you miss the shot, you can fine tune it later with a small amount of editing. Pull in the image and start firing. I hammer down the shutter and get a handful of images. Its within the affray where I find the gems. Action begets success.
Sort it Out
Take a few moments when you get off the water to do a cursory, quick edit to discard the horrible and unusable, but be careful not to be quick to discard. Soft or slightly out of focus can often be fixed with editing and a detail within an otherwise uninteresting image may be mined out with cropping. After the initial weeding, walk away. When you come back to the images later, you’ll likely see them with a more creative eye.
Get To Know Your Camera
I shoot a lot with the camera on my phone simply because its there and easily accessible. I have a whole stable of Nikons ranging from DSLR to a basic AA battery powered point and shoot model I take on expeditions where charging batteries will be difficult. Each camera gives differing results and I know like reflex how the shot needs to look on the LCD screen to be ideal for usefulness. I only got to that point by experience with each camera. Experience came at the expense of a lot of crappy images. Now that I know them well, its become very easy and quick to compose images and capture them. A bump to get depth of field and I’m ready to roll.
Lastly, but most importantly, keep our friend’s health in mind when setting up shots. In the water, breathing, until the moment you’re ready to pull the trigger and capture your best fish.