The Casting Shot

There are a couple of staple shots in the realm of fishing that most photographers get accustomed to taking, the fin and grin, the release, the take, the underwater, and so on. One of the shots that I love taking but is hard to get in the habit of taking is the casting shot. There are a couple of ways to go about it; you can stand behind the subject or in front of the subject to get a more head-on view of the line, you can go from above depending on the terrain and equipment you have to use, or of course, you can go from the side. Personally, I think it all depends on the light, the foreground, and the background. These elements really dictate what stance to take on the photo. The Kootenai River is a gorgeous mixture of colors but the mountains in the springtime aren’t necessarily all that interesting, so going from the side made sense here. Plus, with my two friends both fishing, I wanted to see them both in the photo. There are many ways to capture this element of the sport and it’s important that no matter which way you do, that you at least try.

The Kootenai Falls

Well, I finally got all my photos finished from the trip, which considering the trip was a month ago, shows just how many I had to get through. I really did enjoy finishing these images though. The Kootenai River really is an amazing place and the topography of the land in that area of the state is just breathtaking. The river is controlled by Libby Dam, 17 miles upstream from the town of Libby, and regulates how much flows out from Lake Kookanusa. The Kootenai River is the third largest tributary to the Columbia River.

In the springtime, the flows are much lower than during the high runoff months of May and June, thus the river looks like this with more visible banks and pools. During the runoff months, the river swells and becomes very deep, very wide, and can be dangerous to navigate for outdoor recreation. While I was there last month on a fishing trip, we had to stop just once at the Kootenai falls, which is a natural barrier for fishing spawning, to do the whole tourist thing and see the sights. The Falls are accessible by a 1.6 mile easily manageable hike to the swinging bridge or the upper falls. Both spots are worth the trip. In the fall, the fish tend to pool up beneath the falls, and great schools of salmon, trout, and sturgeon can be seen. These were taken with the Nikon D5 and 18-35 f3.5/4.5.

The Kootenai River, a New Adventure

My apologies for not posting much lately but I’ve rather busy since I got back from the latest Montana adventure, this one taking me all the way up north to Libby and the magnificent Kootenai River. It was one heck of a trip that I’m still processing images from and as you can see it’s unlike any river I’ve posted about before. The fishing was great and the photography was great so there will be more to come.

79 Years Later

Today is the 79th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid. 16 B-25 bombers took off from the carrier USS Hornet on this day to bomb Japan in the first strike after Pearl Harbor. While the mission had minimal strategic value, the moral effect of the mission was everlasting.

April 18th is a big day in aviation. It represents the resolve that we as a nation were willing to carry out in a time when it was needed the most. The eighty men that made the trek to Japan did something that had never been done before and thanks to hard-working volunteers it will never be forgotten.

A Little Sunday Drive

Spring is around the corner and these sixty degrees March days are really starting to get addictive but if you’ve lived in the Rocky Mountains for any period of time then you know not to get hooked on them. The weather can change awfully fast going into April and become very unpredictable so it’s important to get and enjoy while you can. I think that advice is good for anyone. After a long week of work, it’s good to get out for a drive with the camera and enjoy the scenery.

Drive By Photography

I’m certainly not the first to try drive-by photography but when you’re not actually driving and just looking out the window, it’s kind of a fun thing to play around with. With the Z50 it was a no-brainer rolling down the window and freezing the other passengers. Fresh snow disappears real fast in the lower elevations, so after a storm rolls through it’s a good time for a road trip.

A Trip to Big Spring

There are a lot of interesting geothermal spots within the Yellowstone caldera and each one is usually worth the visit. I went a visited one that I had neither heard of before nor been to, a place called Big Spring. Located just minutes outside of Island Park, ID, the four-mile driving loop goes along Henry’s Fork of the Snake River and Big Springs. The Springs itself is a natural spring that is the primary source for Henry’s Fork which travels down several miles to Henry’s Lake and the Island Park Reservoir. Because it is attached to a geothermal vent it always stays above 52 degrees year-round. This not only makes it a very beautiful spot to visit in the wintertime but also a great fish spawning habitat that is closed to fishing.

Built-in 1929, the Jason Sacks cabin is among one the attractions at the Spring. Along with the cabin are the water turbine and shed. Of course, if that’s not enough, the area is filled with large rainbow trout which tourists often feed under the bridge. Since there is no fishing the trout tend to get quite large. Fun little trips like these were what kept me in Montana.

 

The Sizzling Spitfire

March fifth was another important anniversary as it marked the 85th Anniversary of the first flight of the Supermarine Spitfire. The Spitfire is not only an iconic aircraft from WWII but it is also one of the most revered fighters to have come out of WWII. Enthusiasts and historians alike have a passion for the Spitfires. From the first conception to the epic battles over Great Britain in 1940, to Africa, the Mediterranean, the Pacific, Southeast Asia, and of course the epic dogfights over occupied Europe. The history of the multiple variants of the Spitfire goes on and on and lives on today with numerous examples being flown around the world. Needless to say that this is merely going to be an INTRO post as there is no possible way for me to write about the whole legacy of this plane.

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The Spitfire was designed by R.J. Mitchell and his team at Supermarine Aviation Works, a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong, to meet Air Ministry requirement F7/30. Mitchell designed the Supermarine Type 224, an open cockpit monoplane with fixed landing gear and a 600hp engine. It was a disappointment so the team “cleaned” up the design and created the Gloster Gladiator Biplane which was accepted into service. Mitchell then designed Type 300, an improvement on the Gladiator, but wasn’t enough of an improvement and was turned down. Mitchell went back and redesigned the Type 300 with a single thinner wing, breathing apparatus, closed cockpit, and a more powerful Rolls-Royce PV-XII V-12 engine, later named the “Merlin” engine. In December of 1934, Mitchell got the backing by Vickers-Armstrong to go ahead with the improved Type 300 and in December of 1934, the Air Ministry provided the capital and contract to produce the improved F7/30. On January 3rd, 1935 Air Ministry approved the contract and designated it F10/35.

In April of 1935, the armament was changed from two .303 Vickers Machine guns to four .303 Browning machine guns. Captain Joseph “Mutt” Summers took the controls of the prototype (K5054) for the first time on March 5th, 1936 for its maiden eight-minute flight. He was later quoted as saying, “Don’t touch a thing.” The flight of the Spitfire came four months after the first flight of the Hawker Hurricane. Over the next several months the K5054 was flown by several squadron leaders adding in their two cents on various performance issues and possible ways of improvement. Multiple propellers were used to increase maximum speed up to 348mph. While later models would go faster than this. Changes were made to the rudder, a new engine, and an undercarriage position indicator. The Spitfire gradually became more and more refined. On June 3rd, 1936, the Air Ministry placed an order for 310 Spitfires before a formal report was issued by the A&AEE.

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Many features made the Spitfire a unique aircraft, one of the most distinctive was the elliptical wing design. In 1934 the design staff had to solve the need for a thin wing as well as one that was strong enough to house the undercarriage as well as the armament and ammunition. The elliptical design was the most efficient aerodynamic plan for an untwisted wing. Needless to say that I am not an expert on the aerodynamics of drag on the wings so in this case, I would recommend looking up the engineering and flight characteristic of how an elliptical wing is better than a straight edge or swept wing design. As the Spitfire evolved to handle multiple roles so were the refinements of flight characteristics. The history of the Spitfire is partly due to the history of the multiple engines, wing, armament, airframe, cockpit, and other characteristic changes. There are in fact too many to write out everyone here.

 

Winter Spawn

I started flyfishing in the winter many years ago because one of my friends thought it was a good idea. It was really cold, the eyes on our rods would freeze, if you got wet it could lead to frostbite and we didn’t always catch something. Despite all that, it turns out he was right. Winter fishing has become one of the things I look forward to the most out of the year because the trout that we do catch has some of the most vibrant colors I’ve ever seen. Rainbow Trout move out of lakes and up the river to their spawning grounds and during that time the males mainly turn the most vibrant colors. Females can also get good colors but nothing like the males. Just one of these beauties makes the whole day worthwhile.

The Bridgers Got Some Light

Well, I did say some, unfortunately, I was too slow to get to a good spot in time before the light was completely gone. I have always liked going out to shoot in between storms because that’s usually when the most dramatic skies appear. The other was no different. I got the camera as quickly as I could, drove out to a local spot, and photographed what was left of the light. the results, a nice evening, and a couple of quick clicks.

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