Normally after a good release, the fish swims away and these shots are missed but every now and then the individual stays put right where it was released and you can take a couple of shots. I always thought that these shots are kind of artsy-fartsy shots but when it comes to wildlife in their elements technically that’s what this is. The one thing I found to be helpful is using manual focus because trying to autofocus on the fish under the water often gets lost on the water itself.
I got this rod and reel last year and I can’t wait to put it to use again this winter season! Don’t get me wrong I’ve spent some time with it this past year but winter fishing is something special. The Rainbow Trout are getting ready to spawn in a few months and the Brown Trout still have their dark fall spawning colors. Add to all that the great winter landscape that goes with the rivers and you can have some amazing photo opps that comes with the fishing.
Well it isn’t a fall brown but it certainly was one beautiful Rainbow. He hammered the white streamer during the afternoon bite and was kind enough to pose for a couple of shots. The one key I’ve found to this arena is to use flash. There are so many people who hate using flash but at the end of the day it is a great tool to know how to use. Flash is what made that color pop and without it would have been bland.
Images captured with Nikon D5, 24-70 f/2.8 on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
Fall is officially here and in Montana, it already feels like Winter. Yes, the big storm that hit Montana did hit Bozeman but unlike Great Falls the Gallatin Valley didn’t receive nearly the same amount of snow. The mountains are coated with that beautiful white stuff which means that the water temps are going to drop and the fish are going to change color as they get ready for the Fall spawn. Brown Trout are especially sought after during this time period but it is important to use proper etiquette when holding the fish as they need the warmth of the water. Taking a fish out of the water for too long while getting a photo can be detrimental to the longevity of the fish.
Image captured with Nikon D5, 24-70 AF-S f/2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
Paradise Valley has always been a favorite place of mine to spend time in. The photography options are quite bountiful from critters to landscapes, even airplanes. For the first time this past weekend I got to spend some time on the Yellowstone River and the landscapes were just as amazing. My friend Al was helping by being the subject as we were fishing down the river. The high banks and the low casts made for some great photos in the early morning light.
Images Captured with Nikon D5, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
One of the most beautiful trout species in Montana is the Yellowstone Cutthroat. Cutthroat trout throughout the state was in decline for years but thankfully due to the help of a lot of people, both the Westslope and Yellowstone came back from the brink. Today they can be caught in numerous rivers and lakes but are still highly sought after. Photographically they are a must for the files but like all aquatic species have to be handled with great care and very little time. During the height of summer, this is especially true.
Image captured with Nikon D750, 18-35 f3.5-4.5, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
One thing I learned a long time ago when working with aquatic species is to get low and shoot wide. Getting low helps to make the subject look bigger and as well as making it easier to hold the subject closer to the water, thus helping to reduce the amount of time the fish is out of the water. Remember the goal is to get the shots quick for a fast release. The wide angle helps to exaggerate proportions while also dramatically changing the focal plane when shooting wide open. The results can be really fun.
Images Captured with Nikon D750, 18-35 f3.5-4.5, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
We’ve been chasing them for years but the Cutthroat Trout doesn’t give up its secrets that easily. There are enough known spots these days to catch Yellowstone Cutthroats but finding big ones is still rare so I was pretty stoked to catch this 14″ female. Needles to say I had to get a photo with the D5, 24-70 AF-S and SB5000. Something I learned long ago was that it’s always best to find a shallow spot with a nice background. This grassy bank made for an interesting backdrop to go along with the net as a prop.
I’ve really been enjoying fishing photography lately because it allows me to explore the relationship between subjects more thoroughly. You have this contrast between wanting to take a good photo of the person so that they have that memory and then you have the “really cool” fish photo of just that fish. If you were to ask the fisherman, they would say just photograph the fish, it’s more important. Both are key elements of the story, but the story isn’t complete without the other. Combine this with the urgency to take the photo fast for safety purposes and it makes for some interesting photography.
Images Captured with Nikon D750, 24-70 AF-S, SB-5000 on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
Spring in Montana is never the same from one year to another and this spring is shaping up to be another one for the books. After the record cold temps in February and March, the ice packs and snowstorms haven’t melted away yet. As a result of this many rivers still, have shelf ice on them. Fishing them can be dangerous as a wrong step can lead to you plummeting down into the unknown but photographically they can be quite rewarding. It comes down to the contrast of having that cold element with a sport that is typically thought of as being warm. Not mention that having a three-foot-tall ice chunk by you is just impressive.
Image Captured with Nikon D5, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film