bad photographers, are you one?



I know exactly what you mean! I caught my first Tiger trout yesterday, and here is the pic that my dad took (none of which turned out well). As you can see, it is clearly a Tiger trout and I now have my proof that they are where they are supposed to be. :)

Actually I wanted the pic b/c the markings were a little different than the pics of Tigers that I've seen, but was clearly not any other type of trout I've ever seen, either. It was more spotted than striped, with large light black spots on a silver background. The dorsal area was striped, like brook trout. Hmm...wish I had a good picture of it. :beathead:

Seriously, I think the key things are, from my completely amateur, untrained POV:

-Digital Camera. Big memory card/drive. Use the highest quality setting on the camera. You can always reduce the size of the picture later.

-Take as many pictures of the subject as possible in the time it takes to safely release a fish. As a matter of fact, you can shoot a bunch of pictures in the few seconds. You can delete the ones that suck.

-Get close to the subject. You almost can't get close enough. If your camera has zoom settings, experiment with them.
Digital cameras offer their own challenges. They go through batteries fast. On a fall trip, my brother caught his first steelhead; my batteries were dead. He caught his second steelhead on the same trip; my dad forgot his camera. He caught his third steelhead on the trip, a hot, beautiful buck of about 10 lbs. By that time he had driven to a store and bought a little disposable; I had also changed batteries. We got plenty o' pics. I've tried the taking pictures of my own fish as well. With steelhead, you learn how to frame them on the beach, etc. w/ a little practice. The first two shots I took included my chest pack and fingers.

Rocket Red

Vegetarian Cannibal
I pretty much suck but every now and then I get it right. Truly most the time I am too far away from the subject. You HAVE to get close enough.

My dad really sucks though. I don't know how many times he has chopped my head off from what would be cool pictures. I got beautiful summer run one afternoon and had a great setup standing in a canyon pool in shorts holding a bright summer fish in one hand just over the water. My dad took 3 shots, 2 so blurry you can't see anything and one to chop off my head. When I reviewed the pictures back on the beach I nearly pushed him in.

Another time my Dad got an 18# monster winter fish, I was going to hold it for the camera and my uncle was going to take the shot. Well he turned my digi to movie mode and shot a 3 second clip of the thing. It's hard to put that on paper. :p


Be the guide...
Some digitals I've used have such slow response that were about useless for fishing and capturing decent shots of my kids. I get plenty of shots of the back of their heads or the fish's tail as it takes off due to the slow response time... But the pics that do turn out look pretty good. Yes, battery life can be an issue too...

If the pic is going to be important - like a guys first steelie or something, I start getting ready while he's fighting the fish. Take a few shots of the battle to make sure the camera is working and experiment with angle and location to take advantage of the lighting situation and background choices...


Banned or Parked
All I know is I'm going to Baja in a couple weeks with none other than the worst photographer I know; our very own Sparse. Because of this, I'm practically guaranteed to catch a tippet class record roosterfish and have the photo turn out like crap, but hey, what can ya' do...

Chris Scoones

Staff member
If Sparse ties into one, keep your camera ready to ensure you capture the exact moment he breaks your rod.

That Rebel XT gets delivered tomorrow. I'm a bit excited. It's been a while since I've had a nice camera to ruin on the river.


Banned or Parked
He's getting my cheap 12wt and it's got that great TFO warranty, so I'm not too worried. The whole scenario is totally hypothetical though, because we're talking about Sparse. He'll get distracted casting clousers to little croaker and corvina while big roosters are swimming right by him.

By the way, you and your XT both suck...

Chris Scoones

Staff member
As I recall, he doesn't actually need to be tied into one to break it, so it's not hypothetical. Getting the photo would be "sweet, dude".

You and your 300 can toss my XT's salad, so at least you can say you've touched one.
I don't know. Every picture I've ever had taken made the fish look much much smaller than it actually was.

It is true that if you want good pictures, it helps to have someone along who's actually taking pictures, instead of fishing with a camera nearby (and I imagine it wouldn't hurt if it was O'Keefe). It's hard to get a really good hero shot if you're concerned about keeping the fish alive; what with worrying about someone holding the fish at the right angle, not too much hat shadow, wiping the stupid look off their face, etc, it can take a while to get it right, more time than most of us want to take. Close-ups of just the fish are easier and quicker; of course, then everybody has to take your word that it's yours.
With regard to what it takes to get good shots - I was talking to an outdoor show host this week, he was doing a story on catch and release, and off the record, said, "geez, I wonder how many fish we've killed on our show in order to get it to look right on camera. I figured if they swam away and didn't float to the top, they lived."


I like photos that look like this:

or hero shots like this, because you can see water's still rolling off the fish:

Not that there aren't also ways to get awesome pics of fish - with you in them - where the fish is still in the water:

digitals are awesome. when taking a picture of a fish keep them in the water until the pic is ready to be taken. the pellet brains on t.v. hold the fish up and begin jawing which lure and the talent it took it took to subdue the beast and how good of a cast it was and blah, blah. the rule is when the fish comes out of the water hold your breath and when you are out of breath put the fish back in the water.period. no exceptions! mike w
wbodger said:
Yeah, digital is the way to go, but you gotta be careful with water, more electronics etc. On the other hand, Pentax has a new water proof digital camera that sounds awesome. Most of my pics go afoul because after I'm out on the water I realize my camera is at home...

That's the Pentax Optio WP, a 5 megapixel ultra-compact that's totally water proof (submersible to 5' for 30 minutes at a time). I've had one for a month now and am quite pleased. Picture quality is good - similar to the other Pentax ultra-compacts (such as the Optio S5i), but not as good as, say, the Nikon Coolpix series. It's compactness and total water impermeability more than make up for the minor shortcoming in overall pic quality though, IMO. Lots of features (at least for an ultra-compact) and battery life is quite good (especially considering the battery is about the size of a Compact Fash card!); typically about 120-150 shots on a charge and spares are easy to carry. Uses SD media (non-proprietary and relativey cheap). Can get about 140 shots in medium compression mode on a 256Mb SD card. About $350 (Amazon, Ritz, etc.)

Here's an example (not necessarily exemplary) of a fish caught by a friend recently at Lone Lake: