Fishing in New York
A digital gallery from the past decade
By Bob Petti
I am not a professional photographer, nor do I consider myself an accomplished amateur. These days, when it comes to fishing especially, I'm just a guy who carries a camera.
It wasn't always that way. For awhile I was really into taking pictures, mostly because of my Dad.
My Dad had a little area in the back of the house that he could close off and setup darkroom equipment so he could process his own negatives, slides, and prints. I spent quite a bit of time with him learning how to focus the enlarger, how to dodge and burn, how to use different papers to create interesting effects in the final print. With his help, I was able to take photography through the entire process - the results were very rewarding. I never progressed beyond B&W processing, but Dad could do color prints and slides as well.
For a long time, I took my Olympus with me when I went fishing. I had a nice 35-70mm zoom lens with a polarizing filter and I was all set - camera slung around my shoulder and rod in my hand - let's fish! At some point I got an OM-2n, which put me on equal footing with my Dad (until he got his OM-4), but a canoe accident ruined both the camera and the lens. That was a killer. After that I was more careful about where I took the camera, and starting using a little compact for fishing.
Then came digital. About ten years ago for me, in fact. My first was a one megapixel (yeah - one - 1.0) Fuji, remember those? The problem I had with it as a fishing camera is that it was difficult to use one-handed. Since then I've had a Nikon Coolpix 880 (great camera - annoying lens cover and super annoying proprietary batteries), a Minolta G500 (much better - and with video! - but again with the batteries), and currently a Canon 1100ip. They are all simple "point and shoot" cameras with limited manual capabilities. Although complicated instruments - they are to my old OM-1n as a Ferrari is to a Model-T - they are designed for ease of use.
Five years ago I finally jumped into the world of digital SLRs. The main reason was not the quality of the image (or so I thought), but because I was tired of dealing with shutter lag. With the early digital P&S cameras, you'd press the shutter release button but the image was not capture for a good while. It was driving me crazy trying to take pictures of kids - both mine and some little ones in my family at holiday time. I don't know how many pictures I took of the back of kids heads because between the time I depressed the shutter release and the time the image was captured, they turned away. Argh!
The digital SLR was wonderful - it was like the old days. You snap the shutter - you hear the click - and the picture has been captures. It feels mechanical - almost like my old OM-1n.
For fishing, however, I stick with my point and shoot cameras. I would not easily be able to replace my DSLR if I dunked it in a river, so for fishing my cameras tend to be cheap and - before the prices came down so much - used. This why I'm not afraid to use them - in any weather or any fishing situation. And with digital images being essentially free - let the snapping begin! I have a neck strap connected to my fishing camera so that I can use it one handed without worrying about it dropping into the water. I keep the camera in the chest pocket of my fishing shirt so it's not banging around but yet always readily accessible. It has worked out well so far. An important aspect of fishing pictures, especially when you are alone, is to remove the fuss. If the camera is readily available and easy to operate one handed, I am far more prone to use it. As can be seen here, even simple point and shoot cameras can yield decent results.
Within day trip range of my house is a remarkable variety of fishing opportunities, from brook trout in tiny headwater streams, to striped bass in the mighty Hudson River
Almost all of my fishing takes place in the state of New York. Within day trip range of my house is a remarkable variety of fishing opportunities, from brook trout in tiny headwater streams, to striped bass in the mighty Hudson River (something I've yet to do - anyone got a boat?). While I consider myself to be a trout fisherman, I also enjoy warmwater fishing, especially stream fishing for smallmouth bass and lake fishing for largemouth. Ah heck - when it comes right down to it - I'm willing to fish for just about anything that swims. Not too long ago I was catching catfish with bait when the local reservoir was down several feet. That was a first for me - another species checked off my list.
The cool thing about modern point and shoot digital cameras is their macro capabilities. This is one area where they have a decided advantage over SLR cameras. Many of the new models can focus within 1cm of the subject - amazing!
An angler can fish year around in New York, and I'm not only talking about ice fishing in the winter. Several trout streams have No-Kill sections that are open all year long, and most of the Lake Ontario tributaries are open all winter for those willing to put up with the snow and ice to chase steelhead. I've caught trout in every month but February, including a pair of brown trout taken on New Years Day in 2005 when we were having a stretch of unusually warm weather.