June 18, 2010

Photo by Barry and Cathy Beck

If you read, well, just about any fishing magazine you’ve probably seen photographs by Barry and Cathy Beck. In addition to being great fisherman and wonderful hosts they’ve also chalked up dozens if not hundreds of cover shots over the years working from behind the lens in just about every place imaginable. Needless to say  when they offer up photo advice, I try to pay close attention. Luckily, they’ve started doing exactly that on their brand new blog.

The latest post is on a system they’ve devised for getting well-composed fishing shots (in contrast, say, to the ones I take where Marc usually has his eyes closed or the fish has just managed to wriggle out of his hands). Here’s the gist:

…If the fish is in good shape one of us will compose the photo while the other is holding the fish safely underwater either gently cradling it or using a net. The person in charge of the fish can be getting it into the correct position for the photograph before lifting it when the photographer gives the word. If the head of the fish is gently cradled in one hand while gripping just ahead of the tail with the other hand, you’ll see plenty of the fish in the photograph and have a comfortable hold on it. For big or especially slippery fish a fishing glove or even a sun glove will help grip the tail. Make sure the glove is wet to protect the fish.

Our first photo will be a test shot of the angler holding the fish in the water. Then we’ll check the photo for proper composition, lighting, etc. We may need to do this a couple times. When everything looks good, we’ll let the angler know we’re ready and on a count of three, the fish is lifted out of the water, the angler smiles, and the photographer fires three quick shots and the fish goes back underwater. We may repeat this process a couple times but with each “lift” the fish is only out of the water for about 5 seconds.

Seems like a good (and humane) idea to me. Now that that part is settled all you have to worry about is actually catching that trophy fish in the first place…


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