This has been one really wet year in Montana and the rain doesn’t seem to want to stop. As a result of all that moisture, a lot of the rivers are still high and dirty. What this means is it is harder to find good fishing spots, which means it’s harder to get good images. That’s when you have to be creative and look elsewhere. The ponds are a good spot for this as the Perch and Largemouth Bass can be fun to work with. The challenge is they are usually small but on the plus side there tends to be lots of them. Since a lot of the best feeding is at night using a flash for that pop of light is important.
Believe it or not I actually do very little flash work at night. Most of the time I use it during the day to remove harsh shadows and bring up the color in my subjects. Those same principles still apply at night but it might seem a little counter intuitive considering that a flash has one major purpose, pointing out light. Kind of need that to shoot at night.
The biggest challenge at night while hand holding, not doing star trails or anything else with a tripod but actually working in the field, is shutter speed. How do you get a faster shutter? Open up the lens, dial in minus exposure compensation in the camera body, or increase ISO. All three of those things will change the shutter speed. Since you’re most likely dialed in positive in the flash you need to really think about the rest of those numbers in order to shoot quickly while getting a sharp image. This Yellow Perch, a native Montana species, was photographed with the D5, 24-70 AF-S, SB-5000 with -1.0 exp comp in the body, +1.0 in the flash and ISO 1600. Just enough to get that pop of light needed to highlight another of Montana’s species.