Get Low, Get Wide

I keep trying to find new and fun ways to show the same thing and frankly, it gets to be kind of hard. There are a number of names for this kind of shot, the fin, and grin, the trophy shot, the specimen, etc. It’s an important photo because at the end of the day when you’re out on the water you’re trying to catch a fish and thus want to showcase it later on. What’s important to remember is how to highlight what makes each specimen unique. This one was a big baddie so I wanted more attitude and to achieve that I got low, used the pop-up screen on the Z50, and went wide with the 18-35. It’s a very simple technique to make a subject look bigger with more attitude.

In Between Storms

It doesn’t always take much to make a photograph happen but you have to at least be out with the camera. I always carry something with me, whether it’s the bigger D5 or smaller Z50, on every adventure. This time it was the Z50 because it’s light and small enough to fit in my small sling bag. I wasn’t expecting there to be much to offer this past weekend but with all the storms rolling through the chance that something would open up was there. An afternoon on the Yellowstone River made this possible. That is such an amazing river, with it’s wide, fast current and sweeping banks that seem to just keep going. with the right light, it can make for a gorgeous afternoon.

Paradise Valley Lives Up To It’s Name

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

How to Work with a Net

This is one obstacle that I’ve had mixed feelings over for some time when it comes to fishing photography. What do you do with the dang net? For the longest time I hated having a net in my photos. I always felt it was a prison for the subject. A way to take the focus off of a wild species and make it more human impacted. Over time I’ve slowly begun to find ways to incorporate it that look okay to me. The two big pluses for leaving it in the image are one it gives you more time to work with the subject, especially in case you drop the fish and two it’s safer for the subject. Working with aquatic species can be tough because you have to be careful of how long you keep them out of the water. The one little trick I have found in post production when it comes to net usage is really darken the edges so it’s not to distracting.

Image Captured with Nikon D5, 24-70 AF-S, SB-5000 Flash, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Which Image is More Important?

I’ve come across this a lot over the years especially when it comes to aviation. Which image is more important? There are many ways to make an image happen. Different angles, lights, backgrounds, foregrounds, etc. There is no one solution but many questions. This question refers to people and capturing the moment that means the most to them while also making the images that can be used for multiple purposes.

I’m going to use by buddy Dan as an example because this was a happy day for him. I don’t really need to say why. In the editorial world the above image is considered the trophy shot or the “fin and grin” shot. It’s very common and while it means a lot to the person in the image, it doesn’t communicate that much outside of Dan being happy.

A close up puts more emphasis on the fish which is important to capture. The fish is just as important to the story as the fisherman is. With aviation the pilot often gets overlooked and it’s just the plane that gets photographed. The plane has the history, it’s really sleek and cool looking, it goes fast, it gets all the glory. The pilot doesn’t. The reverse of this is with biologists. Often times it’s the subject being studied and not the people that are doing all the work that are getting photographed. The point is to really look at all sides of the equation and see what is being photographed and what’s being forgotten.

Images Captured with Nikon D750, AF-S 24-70, SB-5000, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Silhouettes in Fall Color

Fall color is so much fun to work with! You can use the power of those changing leaves to create some truly breathtaking images or you can just have fun and experiment. The one thing I’ve noticed when it comes to fall color is it easy to be seduced by the color and instinctively you take a picture regardless if it’s worth it or not. This is something you really have to work at to avoid this time of year because wherever there is fall color the first instinct is photo opp but that’s not true. You still have to think through your compositions and really watch the light.

Now I’ve spent the last few years working with fisherman as an outlet to experiment with and right now it’s great because it’s something to try with the fall color. For instance Mikey here tells the story of fishing in the fall even with the absence of direct light. Trees are often dark and everything else behind those forests are bright so having that reversal is kind of interesting. If you are out this Fall working the color really focus on pushing yourself to create more then just the look at the pretty leaves shot.

Images captured with Nikon D750, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Plastic and Water Don’t Mix

This is something I’ve only seen in photos but finally saw firsthand this past weekend. I don’t often talk about pollution or conservation on my blog beyond the importance of telling the stories with our cameras but I kind of had too on this one. This 12″ Brown Trout was caught by my buddy and we were both shocked to see this plastic water/sports drink bottle ring stuck behind the gill plate of the fish. It had slowly taken chunks out of the fish as you can see in the photos. What this comes down to is being responsible. It doesn’t have to be something big, as this photo shows, these little things are important. No matter what the subject or where the area you have to take care of both because there may come a day when these places and these creatures will be gone. Believe it or not but seeing this sort of thing really isn’t enjoyable. It’s just sad. So if you see trash while out with your cameras, pick it up, you never know how much good it could do.

Fall Color Popped!

The Fall color has begun to pop which is awesome! Over the past week things have really started to change in the landscape world. October is a great month to be out as the trees are turning and mammals are getting those great big bushy winter coats. Without a doubt it’s still one of my favorite times to be in the Rockies.

When it comes to working fall color is there a wrong way to work the scene? It’s hard to answer that since there are so many ways to work with landscapes. The big part of fall landscapes is color. Using color correctly isn’t just about the bright yellows and oranges but also the surrounding colors that go with it. That color contrast between orange and green is important to remember when composing. I went wide and tight with these two shots both taken with the D750 and 24-70 AF-S. Real simple clicks while out walking. As you can see the color hadn’t quite gotten to full strength on this section of the Yellowstone River but pretty soon it will. Can’t wait to go back there.

Dust is the Answer!

Most of the time when you say the word dust to a photographer they get that angry annoyed look on their face having had to deal with dust at some point in the past either on their sensor or covering the body. Most of the time it is our nemesis as it represents the natural elements that we can’t control as a photographer and we like being able to control those things. Well dust can actually play a very important role photographically when it comes to the concept of light.


Light is the essence of our photos and it is constantly changing. What a lot of people don’t know is that dust particles can actually increase the effect light can have in a landscape image because the light is actually refracting off of those particles. It can create a layer that almost looks like steam or fog because of all the little particles. For instance when I got out to the fishing whole last Saturday I saw this one spot through the canyon where the light was coming through and a car had just passed by. I grabbed the D4 and 24-70 AF-S and made a few quick shots. The dust from the dirt road that the car kicked up was enough to create this effect of intense light. Those little particles that we hate so much on our camera gear can be so beneficial when used correctly.

The Eye’s Never Stop Working

Spring weather in Montana is always fun. You never know if you are going to need a rain jacket, a T shirt or a heavy snow jacket. It seems like the weather changes that much from sunny, to snowing. Well this past week we were spoiled with four days of partly cloudy 60-65 degree weather, culminating in some rain toward the end of the week. My friends, like myself, were dying to get out and have some fun. We headed over to the Yellowstone this past weekend to try our hand on the water. Although the both out fished me, I still got the images.


To me there is nothing more symbolic of the freedom of the west than a barn on a nice strip of land. What better place then right next to a river. Although this one isn’t too old, it still has some great character to it.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 24-70 AF-S f/2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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