It's all about opportunity
Up until a couple of years ago I never made an effort to take photos while fishing. It was just such a bother when the bite was on. Wet hands, blood on the deck and sensitive camera equipment seemed like a sure recipe for disaster. Then I had the good fortune to spend quite a bit of fishing time with a couple of different friends who are excellent photographers. The result of their work is eye stopping. It was Gary Graham and Jack Nilsen's encouragement and good advice that inspired me to give it a go.
It is interesting how both have completely different styles. Graham is very calculated, precise and is alway analyzing the situation. He sets up most of his shots making the skipper move the boat until the light is right, getting the anglers set and also adjusting the settings on his camera to capture the moment best. Nilsen is the exact opposite. He draws his camera like a six shooter and blasts away. Light, blood, guts, smiles who cares? He is not going to bother the skipper or the anglers. His camera settings are always on auto. The incredible thing is at the end of the day they both walk away with some really good stuff.
My eyes glazed over when I started shopping for my first SLR digital camera. There is so many choices and some of the equipment is so expensive I would have to hock one of my boats first. Coming around from sticker shock with the advice of my buddies I settled on a moderately priced Nikon D5000. I spent some time studying the manual and fidgeting with buttons getting familiar with my new equipment and I was ready to go.
My first few days fishing and trying to shoot photos was an education. The camera never seemed to be in the right place or on the right settings. I would be in the bridge when a marlin or dorado we hooked would leap by and give great opportunity but my camera was in the salon. I'd move the camera to the bridge and find myself in the cockpit without it. The first couple of months I got some good shots but missed way too many outstanding opportunities.
Over the last couple of years I have learned a great deal. One thing I had to come to terms with was that skippering the boat or working the deck many of the best opportunities for great images will be missed because they come and go in the blink of an eye. Now I have 2 cameras. One stays in the bridge with a long telephoto lens (55-300). The other has a close up wide angle lens(18-200) and stays in the salon.
With all we have going on while fishing I have adopted Accurate Jack's style. Most of the time we just can't take the time to get set up so I just keep my cameras on auto, having them on rapid fire. Point and blast away has worked for me. During edit most of my photos end up on the office floor but what the heck, with digital photography it doesn't cost any more to keep grabbing frames.
Many people have asked about my cameras, lenses and settings. It is all moderately priced, as camera equipment goes. Both cameras are set on rapid fire and on auto sports mode with a fast shutter speed to stop the action. Once in a while shooting anglers with their prize catch close up I will switch to the auto portrait setting which slows shutter speed and gives greater depth of field.
Reviewing what the camera has captured day after day with my crew has been huge. We have figured out what works and are all on the same page. Just like when a marlin shows in our pattern everyone knows what to do. Now working together we can get a scene set up in seconds with the light right, the mess cleaned up and our angler in position without gaffs, rods or other obstacles in the way of shooting a great image. In moments we capture what we want, lines are back in the water and we are after em.
As it goes I still miss many more opportunities for that great moment than are captured. The fish never listen when I say "do that again!" Nope, the moment has been lost and it is a matter of waiting for another. The shear amount of opportunities that are presented spending so many days on the water is the key.
Wishing all my friends and family the best holiday season ever.