Published Jul 12. 2011 - 12 years ago
Updated or edited Jun 27. 2019

Close to the surface

Shooting pictures close to the surface can give an exciting perspective that will enhance the feeling of being near the water... literally! This is yet another chapter in our long series about taking better fishing pictures.

Surprising perspective
The surf - Even small waves look impressing when the camera is close enough
Waterscape - A lighthouse in the distance set in perspective by the sea weed right under the camera
Like making love in a canoe...
Martin Joergensen

The go low rule also applies when you are shooting in the water - wading or sailing. Going close to the surface can give an exciting perspective that will enhance the feeling of being near the water... literally!

You can get

a perspective, which offers a better view of the angler by moving the camera away from eye or shoulder level and down towards the water. One thing is the exciting and different angles you can obtain, but in other cases your subject might be close to the surface: fly rod and reel and angler's hands while stripping in line or a fish being landed, held up for presentation or released.
In such situations the subject is low down, and a camera angle from above and down won't give nearly as good pictures as a camera held low.

When shooting landscapes

or waterscapes over water or from a position standing in the water, you might also consider using a very low angle. Getting waves, rocks or emerging water plants into the frame can offer great foregrounds, which enhances the perspective of most images. Finding foreground subjects in such pictures can be hard, but since the water is always there, it's worth considering using that as an element in the picture.

Lowering your camera

towards the water can be a harrowing experience, not least when fishing in rough streams, wind swept lakes or in the ocean, where the surface is everything but calm. Unless your camera is waterproof, you will have to be very careful to keep the camera out of the wet element and avoid splashes. On other types of water like calm lakes and smooth streams, you might not have to be quite as careful.

You can do

different things to ease the photography and lower the risks of dipping the camera. Focus and adjust the camera before lowering it. On some cameras this can be done independently of pressing the exposure button, and you can use that method. On cameras where these settings are coupled to the exposure button, you can half-press the button while having the camera safely above the water, keep it pressed while lowering the camera and pressing the button fully to expose once the camera is in position.

Foreground in focus - Sometimes the foreground becomes the main subject, and the angler the background
Low perspective - Sometimes the low perspective can give some different compositions, like this ferry under the rod
Below the breakers - In this situation the camera is below the breaking waves and is removed as the wave breaks - and the picture has been taken
Kasper Muhlbach - Martin Joergensen
Being there - A closeup of a release
Woot! - Shots like this are definitely safest to shoot with a waterproof camera
How low can you go?
Kasper Muhlbach - Ken Bonde Larsen
Gear - Ready for the catalog
Low gear - This was shot with the camera in the surface - a waterproof camera, of course!
Low gear
Henning Eskol - Kasper Muhlbach
No risk zone - Lowering the camera close to the bank is usually safe unless the waves or current is very rough
Where things happen - The action is often close to the surface when fish are landed and released
The only option - This situation only gives a good image when shot very close to the surface. Shot from above it would be much more boring
Limbo lower now! - This picture would have been even better if the camera had been lower and closer
Fish pix
Martin Joergensen

Composing the picture

can of course be a challenge, because you can't look in the viewfinder or see the LCD-screen on the back of the camera. Some cameras have a flip-out screen, which allows you to see it from above and compose while the camera is lowered, but most cameras don't have this option.

In that case

you will have to guesstimate the composition. Using a wideangle setting on the lens can make it easier to get everything in the frame, and the wide angle also gives a greater perspective in the final image.

A small tip

is to hold the camera with your thumbs on top, and the rest of the fingers underneath. This is a much more convenient hand position and makes it easier to keep the camera level. At the same time you have your fingers under the camera, and can feel the water if you get too close. Extend a finger and you have a nice distance measure, which will alarm you if you get too close to the water, and you can use a thumb to press the exposure button.

Low and close
Martin Joergensen

If you have

a free view to the horizon, the opposite bank or some other background, you want this to be seen in the picture. Make sure that you tip the camera a bit upwards when shooting from the low position. You want background and sky in the top of the picture rather than uniform water surface in the lower part.
Using a waterproof camera makes it a lot less risky, and also offers the option of half dipping the camera and getting really low and maybe even partially under the water. This can give some stunning images where you see both the fish below and the angler above the water in one and the same picture.

The stream, the current - By holding the camera right over the surface in this fast part of the stream, the speed of the water is clearly visible
The distance - The distance to the lighthouse is enhanced by the closeness of the water in the front
Simple environmental portrait - It's not big art, but tells a story about healthy water and good fishing conditions
Martin Joergensen
A swan - A simple picture of a common subject becomes much more interesting with a low perspective.
Ambiance - A picture that tells a story about a beautiful evening on the lake
Portrait of a lake - The reeds and water lilies near the bank of a lake
Released into the waves - The newly released fish literally escapes into a wave in front of the camera
Martin Joergensen - Hans Jacob Schou


That's what makes th...

That's what makes the different : a story and some pictures
an interesting story with pics
the mother of all articles including well shoot material!

Martin I propose: go ahead with such nice how to do chapters !

best Heiko


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