Wednesday, 23 August 2017 @ 16:13
Cosgrove Caster's –
I remember writing a blog on photography as one of
my very first blogs when I started Cosgrove Caster's back in 2012 but now I would
like to bring my tips on the subject right up to date.
As a few of you will
know I am a keen angling photographer and particularly on getting really good
images of your catches.
On the park, we receive
lots of images and photos from anglers with some lovely fish, but to be quite
honest the quality of some of the pictures really doesn’t do the fish or the
By following a few simple
guidelines, you can transform the picture from being a simple out of focus
snapshot into an image that could grace the pages of the Angling Times. The
tips and tricks that I am going to talk about deal not only with a camera but it
equally applies to mobile phones that now have very high-quality cameras on and
with the correct use can take some great quality pictures and even videos.
A stunning Island View winter mirror carp. The photo is self taken using the tips mentioned about below
First thing really must be the safety
and welfare of the fish. While you are getting your camera or mobile phone sorted out and who’s
taking the picture please have a decent padded unhooking mat, and make sure
the fish is wet and covered. If someone else is taking the shot
for you, make sure they have at least some idea how to use the camera or the mobile phone
camera, and in particular to make sure it is in focus and properly exposed. Modern
computer software that accompanies most cameras and mobile phones can edit,
enhance and manipulate images in all sorts of ways and can make up for a lot of
errors that the photographer makes during the taking of the shot, but one thing
they can’t do is focus an image that is out of focus to start with. To take a really
good trophy shot the first thing to do is look behind you and consider the
background. Don’t be afraid to move to avoid trees (that will seem to grow out of your
head) cars, caravans, white buckets or whatever that will definitely spoil the
final shot. I will often choose a hedge or bed of rushes (see above) that can enhance the image and not detract from 'that' fish. I suggest the photographer gets down to the anglers level. Ask them
to get close enough to completely fill the viewfinder, not only will this frame
the shot perfectly but will better expose the image as the camera's processor
will not get fooled into under exposing the image by a very bright watery background.
With the camera set on auto get them to half depress the shutter button to let
the camera focus and set the exposure, then and only then fully depress the
shutter to take the shot. With a mobile phone camera make sure you tap the
screen to focus on the image properly. If I’m using my phone camera that I use
a lot these days for snapshots I particular like using the HDR (High Dynamic
Range) feature that my iPhone has. Basically, this takes 3 images
simultaneously and then processes them differently than normal in order to
capture greater detail from brighter and darker areas of the image. For me this
creates much better contrast and I love the results. I also love the portrait
facility on the latest iPhone 7. This creates a lovely blurred known as Boca
Don’t be afraid to use
the fill-in flash (or turn on the flash manually) feature even in bright
sunshine. Having the flash on even in daylight really lights up the fish and will also
get rid of any shadows, especially those made by peaked caps that a lot of angler’s
Not a massive carp from Grebe Lake last week - but as a selfie an image like this takes a lttle setting up. Using my iPhone on a tripod on HDR setting and using a timer App at 20 seconds a nice shot is the result.
Learning to hold the fish
nicely does take practice but using an unhooking mat and holding the fish low
does ease the fear of dropping it.
If I am not sure of the
photographer skills I prefer to self-take the shot. I have developed a nice
little routine of taking trophy shot’s even if I am fishing alone. After I
un-hook the fish I either leave it in the landing net in the edge if I can or
leave it on my unhooking mat covered by a wet weigh sling. I weigh my fish
before taking the picture as they usually have calmed down by then, making it
easier to handle for the picture.
You can use a tripod, but
to save weight in my kit I often use a Gardner Tackle camera/ bankstick adaptor
that cost’s less than a fiver. It is a small brass adaptor with a camera mount
thread on one end and a bankstick thread on the other. I mount the camera on a
bankstick or tripod and I set it in the ground about 2m in front on my unhooking
mat, this ensures that the fish and I are all in the picture (I can always crop
the image later). I also fix my iphone in the same way by using a cheap mount
that I bought off Ebay for just a few pounds. I set the self-timer which with my Olympus
camera and my iPhone is 10 seconds. For me this is long enough time to get
myself set for all but my biggest fish. I half depress the shutter button to
set the exposure then fully depress to start the timer. I quickly get into
position and lift the fish into the pose.
With modern mobile phones
having both front and rear cameras ‘selfies’ have become all the rage. This does
make things easier on a phone camera but the lens quality isn’t so good so you
may find the final image not so good. I have recently bought a new SLR that has
a screen that folds around to the front, together with a remote-control shutter
release so for real top quality images I am well set up!
This shot of a 3am Swan Lake mirror carp was self-taken using my camera set on 'night mode' to capture the amazing moon in the background but the flash set to 'On' to illuminate me and the fish. Very pleased with the result.
I do have a giggle at
some anglers poses, either the arms are thrust forward to try and make it look
bigger or their hands are covering most of the fish or the angler looks like
he’s just had a heart attack. Just relax and don’t forget to smile, if the
catch is worth photographing you must be happy about catching it.
Its not all about big fish. This extreme close up was taken as it was my first 'Zig Rig' caught fish from Willow View
I took this sunset shot (again with the camera set on night mode) during an evening roach fishing session on Swan Lake
Hopefully this blog will help you take a better trophy shot and enjoy your capture for years to come and don’t forget to share it with us so we can publish it on the website or Facebook
You can also comment below, we'd love to hear from you!