Friday, March 16, 2012

Better fishing photos


Every angler has a camera these days, even if it's built in to a mobile phone, and there are more and more ways of sharing the fish photographs we take now we are increasingly on-line - even while fishing. Many anglers are blogging, using Facebook and posting on forums. Technology has never made it easier to take really good fish photographs yet still we are presented with out of focus, over or under exposed, poorly composed pictures of fish. Given the advanced state of even cheap cameras today there is no excuse of not being able to take good fish photos. If you have any intention of writing for magazines (paper or digital) you will have more chance of being published if you present good quality photographs to accompany your articles. even if you have no such ambitions it's nice to have professional looking photos to recall memories of great days.

With the hope of helping at least a few anglers take better pictures of the fish they catch I've decided to put some blog posts together on the subject. When they are done there'll be links in the sidebar so they can all be easily found in one place. No doubt I'll miss a few details as I write the articles, and I doubt they will be definitive or exhaustive, but there will be enough information to make a difference.

I don't proclaim to be an expert on photography, I know just enough to get me by - which is all that's needed. If I was an expert I'd probably start off by going through the physics of perfect exposure and then go on to why sensor size and pixel count affects your photos, losing all my readers before getting to the important stuff - making pictures! So I'm going to try my best to keep it as simple as I can.  I hope that by the end of the first part even the most cameraphobic point-and-shooter will have learned something to help improve their fish photos.

Even simple cameras will do a great job - in most viewing situations (computer screens or small prints) their results will be hard to tell apart from the output from a top of the range SLR. In fact this has been the case for a long time. A lot of the photos that were used in my Pike and Predators articles before the digital photography revolution were taken with a 'point and shoot' film camera that fitted in my pocket. The results were perfectly acceptable. After the digital revolution my cameras weren't much more sophisticated and 'only' had a maximum of 6.3 megapixels. Again the results in print were perfectly okay.

Auto focus and auto exposure are nigh on perfect these days. Learning to avoid being the cause of duff photos is really quite simple. More often than not it doesn't involve knowing how to operate all the features of your camera.

Possibly the biggest problem anglers have is a short time to work in. We want to get the fish back in the water as quickly as possible. A little preparation helps here. Keep the camera handy, and leave it set in the way you are going to use it. Then all you, or who ever you hand it to, will have to do is  point and shoot. Part one (below) is about how to do just that.