Better fishing pictures: Nature

Published Mar 24th 2010

Don't forget that fishing is many other things than anglers, fish and casting. The animals we see, the landscapes, the flowers and all the little details that help make a day by the water a great day - even without catching fish!



When we go fishing and bring a camera, it's most often to take fishing pictures. We will usually try to capture the essence of the fishing by putting fish, anglers or at least fishing water in the pictures. Sometimes we may sink to the depths of shooting insects - but mostly the ones our quarry eats.

But don't forget that fishing is many other things than anglers, fish and casting. The animals we see, the landscapes, the flowers and all the little details that help make a day by the water a great day - even without catching fish!

This article aims to inspire you to shoot pictures of nature and the environment around your fishing spots and on the way to and from.
Such pictures will supply you with great illustrations and might even be more fun to look at for people who aren't as much into fishing as the rest of us. Pictures of beautiful nature can be a great supplement to that nerdy selection of fishing pictures, which we fly fishermen like, but which can also be somewhat a drag to the non-fishing audience.
And we do meet a lot of nature when we fish. Thanks to just getting out there we tend to see early morning landscapes and sunsets over beautiful hills, deer gathering near the woods, hares, pheasants, otters, beavers and even bears, eagles, moose and many other creatures, which many people can go through a lifetime without seeing.

I usually use our local small whale - the porpoise - as an example. I usually see them monthly and I fish a few locations where it's rare not to see them. Most people I talk to are envious and have never these lovely little marine mammals.
Unfortunately they are not easy to take pictures of. You see the fins when the animals surface to breathe, but only rarely see the rest of the animal, except on bright days in very clear water. And you mostly see them on a fair distance, so shooting good porpoise images require luck, skill and some good equipment.

I usually divide pictures of nature into three categories: landscapes (and waterscapes, which I will return to in their own article), detail shots and creatures.

Landscapes and views

Landscapes are of course the larger vistas and impressions of the area where you fish.
Such pictures can give people an impression of the places we spend our fishing time.
Whether you fish lakes, streams of the ocean, there is almost always nice views to photograph. Common rules regarding landscape photography apply when shooting such pictures. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that you have a good foreground in the picture. The background is usually always there. That's what we see when we admire views, but having something near the camera will enhance the impression of perspective and give some depth to the picture. And you can always use anglers to create perspective - both in the foreground and in the scene itself.
Landscapes lend themselves very well to wideangle lenses. Most compacts have lenses, which are not quite wide enough. In 35mm (old fashioned film) terms you want a lens in the 20-24mm range. 35Mm will do, but the wider the lens the more you get the perspective you want. Normal and telephoto lenses can do landscapes, but it takes a little more thought and work to capture.

More landscapes

Details can be anything, which is caught closer: rocks, plants, small parts of any landscape. Don't think of details as just really small things, but more like parts of the whole.
I like to shoot plants, flowers, rocks, and all kinds of odd and interesting things I meet when fishing. Plants account for the majority of these pictures. We have a whole category called botany in our image archive, and it contains a lot of great pictures.
Details have produced some great imagery over the years, some of plain rocks, lots of twigs, moss, lichens, grass patches and numerous other things that might not catch the eye when seen as a part of a large landscape or scene, but very beautiful when seen isolated and studied up close.

Little things

Details can be shot with almost any camera and lens. The most bland P&S-camera can capture details in... eh, great detail. No need for expensive gear here.

The creatures are all the animals we meet, which are not the fish we catch - or try to catch at least. The fish will have their own chapter in this series.
Here I'm talking everything from the smallest insects to something like deer, elk, moose or even bear or wolves.
Since we anglers like to be out in dawn and dusk, we tend to move around in nature at the same time as the wildlife, and our chances of bumping into something interesting are a fair amount better than the average person just walking an afternoon trip in nature.

I usually don't recommend gearing up for the whole big wildlife safari with regards to photo equipment. Toting a large 500mm for bird photography might land you some nice bird images, but it will most likely keep you from landing any fish.
Personally my bird shots are few, while larger wildlife as well as smaller critters often find their way in front of my lens. But it's fun to try to get nice wildlife pictures when you bump into some rarely seen animal on a misty morning.


A series
These are all the articles in our series about better fly fishing photography. Read this series and you will learn a lot ebout getting better pictures while fishing. General outdoors pohotographers may also pick up a thing or two...
Better fly-fishing pictures

User comments
From: Alex Kirchner · alex-kirchner·at·  Link
Submitted March 29th 2010

This is what it's all about......beautyful planet !!!

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