Reel Time: Cameras – catch and release digitally

Reel Time: Cameras – catch and release digitally
When taking fish pictures, remember to fill the frame with important details and show the whole fish. - Rusty Chinnis | Sun

The world of digital photography and videography continues to evolve, and anglers have never had more options to explore. Whether you’re capturing a picture or a video clip to remind you of your catch, to share with friends and family or to post on social media, digital cameras allow us to capture images of our catches, making a catch and release all that much more rewarding.

Photography has never been easier and anglers can enjoy this amazing technology no matter what their level of expertise. Most digital cameras and most smartphones also come with software or apps that let you enhance the image, crop the size and share the final product in a number of ways. You can send the images via e-mail or as a text straight from a phone, download them, edit, and print them out to frame and display.

Even though taking a picture may be easy, there are a few basic rules that will help you capture a better image:

  • Before ever leaving the dock, be sure you have fresh batteries, a charged phone, memory cards with enough space to record your images, a clean lens and a cleaning cloth.
  • There is almost always a certain amount of chaos associated with a catching a memorable fish, so get an idea in advance of where you’ll compose your image.
  • Check the background through the viewfinder carefully for distracting and cluttered backgrounds. Make sure you don’t have any unwanted objects, like a rod appearing to stick out of someone’s head.
  • Look to capture photographs that aren’t posed, and remember that the sooner you get your picture the more vibrant the colors of a fish will be. First and foremost, fill the frame with the subject, eliminating anything that doesn’t add to the composition.
  • Since you’re filming on the water, check that the horizon is straight. Most cameras and many phones have the option of putting a grid on the screen.
  • Preset your exposure and check it as lighting conditions change.
  • For most shots, I set my camera to aperture (F8) priority.
  • When trying to catch a jumping fish make sure you stop the action with an ISO of at least 1,000th of a second. Many digital cameras can capture up to 10 frames a second, so set the camera for a rapid burst.
  • Many photographs taken on the water are exposed in bright light. A camera’s light meter averages light over the scene, so an angler’s face, especially if shaded by a cap, will often be dark and lack detail. Make sure you expose your shots with fill flash.
  • Take a number of shots from different angles and get the angler excited and talking to you. One of the really great advantages of digital is that you can take lots of pictures and edit them on the go to make sure you have the shot you want.
  • When possible, use a polarizing filter during the daylight hours. It helps cut the glare on the water and saturate colors.
  • If you have photo editing software, like Lightroom or Photoshop, you can lighten the shadows in post-production. This can sometimes eliminate the need for fill flash, if the contrast isn’t too great, and prevents a flash from creating unwanted reflections on fish. Since lighting is almost always challenging, shoot and then review important shots. If you have a more advanced camera, you can bracket important shots in difficult lighting situations. Expose at least three images: one slightly (one-stop) underexposed, one slightly (one-stop) overexposed and one at the setting suggested by the light meter.

There are a lot of excellent digital cameras on the market today. The new generation of Smart Phones can take amazing images, but they have their limitations (lack of a polarizing filter).

If you’re really interested in photography, I would suggest getting a camera that meets your needs. Most come with a trial version of an image editing software like Adobe Elements. There are many cameras on the market from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.

Taking the time to capture the moments of life pays dividends that you can continue to relive by sharing them through your images.

For more information on the right camera for you, check with a professional at your local camera shop like Johnson Photo Imaging or go to www.bhphoto.com. Software demos (Check out Lightroom CC 2019) can be downloaded online.

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