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photography 101 for sportsmen

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
aka The Gipper

Joined: 10 June 2003
Location: Chinook Montana
Status: Offline
Points: 14749
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    Posted: 30 November 2005 at 08:10
The following was written with fishing in mind; however, there is
absolutely no reason why most of it cannot be adapted for hunting

Good photos prolong the memory of a trip, but many folks still have
trouble taking interesting pictures. Their photos are out of focus or
poorly-lit, the background is cluttered, and the fish looks stiff and
lifeless. The problems are endless.

The first step toward taking better photos is to start with a reliable
camera. Casual photographers can take good photos with one of the
many fully automatic 35mm pocket cameras ort disposable cameras,
some of which are waterproof.

These days, a decent digital camera is relatively affordable, and easy to
use. A good optical zoom is a must, as is a resolution of at least 3.1
megapixels. Don’t worry, I don’t know what a megapixel is either, but I
do know, the more the better.

The tips that follow can help you take better pictures next time you go
fishing (or hunting). By paying attention to detail and giving up a few
minutes to concentrate on your photography, you’ll bring back
photographs that are exciting and alive, even if the subject is a half-
pound sunfish.

Making Photos Look Good

An angler posing with a big fish can make a terrific or terrible shot. The
next time you take a picture of a friend with a fish, pay attention to the
following details. The result will be a better photo.

• Take a picture when the fish is still alive – best of all, moments after it
is landed. That’s when the colors are brightest, the fins flare the most and
the fish looks most vigorous. Dip the fish in water to wash off dirt, blood
or weeds.

• Choose the background carefully. Sky, water or undeveloped shoreline
looks better than a back yard, the inside of a tackle shop, the back of a
pickup or a cluttered boat.

• Push back your subject’s hat and take off sunglasses to keep shadows
from hiding the face.

• Don’t let your subject’s hands obscure the fish, especially its head.

• Get a shot with the lure in the fish’s mouth, but don’t let the lure cover
the eyes.

• Cover up a torn or stained shirt with another shirt or jacket, especially
one with a bright color.

• Photograph a single good-looking fish rather than a big stringer. Don’t
throw a pile of fish on the ground and have your subject stand behind it.

Catch The Action

Try shooting action photos. Keep the camera loaded, set for the
prevailing light and close at hand. Use a wide-angle lens to get the anger
and the fish in the frame and in focus. Set the shutter speed at 1/500
second to stop the action. With an auto-focus camera, remember to keep
whatever you want in focus in the center of the frame.

Try Natural Poses

Try poses that don’t look like poses. Do something with the fish. Have
your partner pretend to land the fish, unhook it, lift it or release it. Photos
like this have more life than the usual “meat” shot.

Play The Angles

Move higher or lower than your subject to make shots more interesting.
Get below the level of the fish and shoot upward to emphasize the fish’s
size and eliminate boat clutter from a shot. On a stream, shoot down
from a bank or bridge to get a good view of your friend as well as the

Low-Light Advantage

Shoot in the morning or evening, when the sun is low, for the warmest,
richest light. Good lights makes a photo look vivid. The same shot at
midday would have deep shadows and contrasting bright spots.

Midday glare presents another problem: the bright light can overpower all
the detail of a fish. Silvery fish such as trout and salmon are more likely
to “burn out” by reflecting too much light. If you must shoot in bright
light, turn the fish slightly until you get the best coloration and detail

Take Lots Of Photos

Don’t spare the film. Compared to gas, tackle and other expenses, film is
cheap. If you like the looks of a shot, take extras to compensate for those
that are inevitably ruined by movement or awkward expressions. To make
sure the exposure is correct, “bracket” your photos, the way professional
photographers do. For example, if you set your shutter speed at 1/250
second and your light meter says f8, try a second shot at f5.6, and a third
at f11. That way you’re sure one will have the proper expression.

Fill The Frame

Turn your camera and take some “verticals” as well as the usual
“horizontals.” By matching your format to the shape of your subject, you
can fill the frame with the fish and angler and eliminate the dead space.
The result: more interesting photos with greater impact.

Fill Flash For Flat Photos

If your subject is backlit, use “fill flash” to eliminate shadows and make
your photo “pop.”

Fill flash works best with a variable-power flash unit. With the camera in
manual mode, set your shutter speed to synchronize with the flash,
usually 1/60 second. Then, set the aperture (f-stop) according to the
camera’s light meter.

Adjust your flash unit according to the aperture setting of your camera
and the distance to the subject. Then turn down the power dial by one f-
stop. Otherwise the flash will “burn out” your subject. Shoot one or two
shots. For insurance, lower your power setting by one f-stop and shoot

You can’t use fill flash with some automatic cameras because the flash
won’t fire in bright light. Other automatics have fill flash buttons, so you
can use the flash anytime.

Wide Angles Add Interest

A short, wide-angle lens (a 24mm or 28mm) makes objects in the
foreground of your photo look bigger while shrinking objects in the
background. As a result, a wide-angle image is often more interesting
than a similar picture taken with a “normal” lens. Wide-angle (fisheye)
lenses also let you keep both foreground and background objects in
focus in the same photograph.

Cheap Lens Protection

A polarizing filter, like polarized sunglasses, cuts glare from water and
other objects. You can adjust the filter for greater or less polarization. A
filter also serves to protect the more expensive camera lens. A “skylight”
or UV-haze filter gives protection without noticeably affecting the photo.

Adjust For Bright Snow

Dazzling white backgrounds, such as new-fallen snow or big rapids,
often fool photographers. For example, a picture of an ice fisherman on a
sunny day is likely to be badly underexposed. The ice and snow will
appear light gray, and the angler’s face will be a dark shadow.

That happens because the camera’s light meter reads and adjusts for the
intense light of the background rather than the light coming off the
subject’s face. Here are two ways to remedy the problem.

If you’re using a camera that can be operated in a manual mode, move
closer to your subject and set the exposure by metering off the person’s
face. Step back and take the photo. The angler’s face will be properly
exposed. The snow will be bright and white and lack detail, but no one
will care about that.

Some automatic cameras without a fully manual mode can be set to
overexpose by up to two full stops, which will correct for snow or white
water in the background. Some fully automatic cameras can be “fooled”
by setting them to meter for a slower film. But many cameras read the
film speed electronically off the film canister and can’t be adjusted to
compensate for these conditions.

Preserve The Day

There’s more to fishing than fish, and there’s more to fishing
photography than pictures of fish. Try photographing your surroundings
and the entire fishing experience. Little things like running the boat,
changing lures or casting can make shots that are every bit as interesting
as a picture of a trophy.

Keep Film Safe

Beginning Photographers don’t realize that film can be easily damaged.
Here are a couple of tips to keep your film in good shape.

Water, heat and light all damage film. Keep unexposed and exposed film
in the plastic canisters it comes in to help protect it. On a hot day, keep
the containers in your cooler.

Radiation, such as the X-rays used in airport luggage –scanning
equipment, can damage film. The machines are billed as “film safe” and
may not damage ordinary film the first time through; but X-ray damage is
cumulative, building up with each additional exposure. If your film is
checked several times before it is developed, the pictures are likely to
have streaks or lines in them, or they may be fogged. “Fast,” light-
sensitive film (ASA above 400) is more easily damaged than other film. If
you’re traveling with light-sensitive film or expect to pass though security
checks several times, ask the agent to inspect the film by hand rather
than pass it through the X-ray machine.
TasunkaWitko - Chinook, Montana

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