As anyone who follows my blog will have noticed by now, I tend to fish a lot and I like taking the Nikon Z50 mirrorless with me when I do. Both of these images were taken with the Z50 due to the ease and convenience of getting the camera out of the bag and able to shoot quickly. That’s important with aquatic species especially in winter when it’s colder. Thankfully yesterday was nice and warm so I wasn’t as worried.
Winter is a really cool time to fish for Rainbow Trout as they are moving upstream towards the clear water of mountain streams to spawn in the Spring. They will continue to make this journey until they reach the stream where they were born. It’s a unique characteristic of Rainbow Trout as not all trout do this. Another unique trait of Rainbows is the changing colors of the males throughout the spawning cycle, granted the top image is of a female. They will go from the more typical “Chrome” to “Rainbow” look to the eventual dark phase and then back to the rainbow look after spawn has been completed. The variation and duration of the colors vary from individual to individual which makes winter fishing a lot of fun.
The Missouri River has become one of my favorite places in Montana to travel to. Over the years I have spent many outings along the river enjoying the breathtaking scenery as the river cuts through the mountains creating some amazing gorges. I often stop to go fishing along the river but every now and then I stop just to take a photo. This one was with the Nikon Z50. It’s become my handy go-to mirrorless camera lately for these simple outings.
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.
Yep, that’s a frozen Dam. I was always under the belief that dams don’t freeze in the winter time because they are always turning out enough water to keep it warm enough from freezing. This is true in the case of Ennis Dam. Well, Holter Dam apparently wasn’t turning out that much water and it froze. That’s okay because it made for one really cool backdrop. Dam’s are a unique feature in photographs I find because it’s having to mesh the human-made world with the natural world and that doesn’t always work. Dan acted as my model for this shoot and even though he was backlit the bright backdrop made it so that he popped. No one thinks about fly fishing in the winter time but it is one of the best times to be fishing and the photography seems so unusual that it makes it interesting.
Ever since I got this new reel and rod setup, I have been taking photos of it. The Sage Pulse, 9′ 6wt and Ross Evolution LTX Reel are just an amazing combo! Beyond the feel and application purposes combined they are just gorgeous in any photo. Naturally this past weekend while there was a little break in the cloud cover, I had to grab a couple of quick clicks.
Winter is one of my favorite times to be using the flyrod because the fishing can be amazing. Rainbow Trout spawn in the spring and as they move up the river they become more aggressive. Males can grow large Kype’s on their lower jaw but this one takes the cake. I haven’t seen such a kype in such a small fish before but those little details certainly make for interesting individuals to work with.
As I have stated many times before, I love this time of the year! The cold dark dreary days of winter can start to eat away at your spirit if you don’t find ways to overcome it. For me that’s taking pictures, fishing and skiing; generally in that order. Each of these areas yield different rewards some due overlap.
One thing I have been pushing more and more in my fishing photography is the use of props and not just doing the smiling portrait with a fish. Sure it’s nice to have that moment but it’s also kind of cool to show the gear you used to catch that beast. This is one of my latest ones that a good friend was happy to hold as I made a few clicks. Really simple with the D5, 24-70 AF-S and SB-5000. You gotta use flash in order to bring out that color. Positioning can be tough and requires a little playing around until you find something that works for you.
I Love this time of the Year! Winter in the Rockies is a very interesting time and the best part is, every winter is different. This year has been quite dramatic compared to last years massive snow dump. Currently we don’t have the same snow levels but we have some cold temps. Everything is being affected by this. The fishing is still pretty good though.
Personally this is my favorite time for working with freshwater trout species because the Rainbows are in spawning color and the Browns are coming out of the Fall spawn so they are turning a really dark brown. How do you bring out these colors? A little pop of flash and some under exposure. Keep in mind that the subject doesn’t have to be a huge specimen. The little guys can have great color to. The trick is really watching the highlights and light spillage because those white spots from the flash are eye sores.
Nature does some pretty amazing things when we just stop and look to see whats going on. I always bring my camera with me when I go out fishing because I never know what will pop up. This particular evening nature brought out one of the best things for landscape photography, a spotlight. Spotlights and vignettes are great resources for landscapes because they focus the viewers eyes on what you want them to see and they ignore the rest. While often I use ACR to enhance such light, sometimes in nature it’s just there and you don’t have to do anything more then just point and click.
As a photographer we have a responsibility to the subjects we work with to make sure that the subjects are not harmed while making the photos. There are many rules in photography that we think are important and while some are always held true some can be fudged as we become better masters of our craft. This is the one that we can’t break. No photograph is worth the well fare of the subject.
Over the last few years I have branched out into the realm of fishing photography and in this field, speed is key. Aquatic species are very fragile when they are taken out of their home because they don’t have lungs. They can’t breath the same air as we do. Fighting a fish, handling a fish and holding the fish out of the water all can reduce the life span of the subject. This is why if you’re planning on taking that all important keep sake photo that you get the subject in fast, you don’t handle it much and you keep it in the water as much as possible. This is how you do a safe release, which is key.