Music to My Ears

Posted on August 3, 2014

“You take a right just outside the gate. Go about a mile and then turn left onto a dirt road. That will take you Little Hyatt Lake. It’s a small lake but it’s full” These words were pure music as the Park Ranger spoke them. There was actually no decision involved on my part, I put the truck in drive and followed his directions and end up at Little Hyatt Lake – the prettiest little lake in the middle of no where.

I was able to back my Jeep right up to the water’s edge and found a shady spot under a large Oak tree. It was pure heaven and I had the whole lake to myself. There were only a few hikers passing through on the Pacific Crest Trail but otherwise not a another person on the lake. I had the forethought to bring along my food box and cooler so I was ready for a wonderful day at the lake.

After paddling the kayak around the lake for the first hour, I ate lunch and started reading about how to cast a fly rod. A fly fishing pole is very different than any fishing pole I’ve ever used. Because of the tapered design of the fishing line; the rod can be casted without anything attached to the end. The first half hour was an excersize in frustration as I was trying to control the line. The last thing I needed was a hook in the eye so I casted with a bare line. But after I got the hang of it I was able to accurately cast to targeted areas with ease. I still need to add some distance to my cast but that should come with practice.

I took this photo with the camera in my left hand and the fly rod in the right. It was impossible to see through the viewfinder so I just had to aim the camera and take a lot of photos. I would like to title this image “My First Cast” but in reality, this was about my hundredth cast. My intention was to capture a cast from beginning to end in a single still photo. The Reel came out amazing! It almost looks like a manufactures product photo – hint, share please!I

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Learning to Fly

Posted on August 2, 2014

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I have a confession to make, I’m a 53 year old American male and I’ve never caught a fish. This may seem trivial to some but it can have an effect on a man’s self esteem. So I’ve decided to overcome these feelings of inadequacy by learning the sport of fishing. Not just any type of fishing; I’m going after one of the hardest ways to catch fish, Mountain Stream Fly Fishing.

In the coming months I will not only be learning the skills of an angler but I’ll be planning a 2,000 mile fishing road trip to the North Cascade National Park. This will be a slow tour of mountain streams through the states of California, Oregon and Washington. I’ll be stopping along the way to practice my new found art form and maybe make a few friends along the way. I will photography and document the entire experience and hopefully fulfill my life long dream of catching my first fish.

But this will be more than just another road-trip report. This will be a coming of age story, or middle age for me, as I begin my new life as an independent, creative person. This will be an account of my learning the most beautiful art form in outdoor sports, fly fishing. I’ll learn its fascinating history and discover what the allure is that makes men, and women, wade into the icy waters of mountain streams in pursuit of a limbless cold-blooded vertebrate. It will be an adventure, a learning experience, and an awaking. “Learning to Fly” will become a modern classic of outdoor sports literature.

But even the best laid plans are not enough to overcome the drought that’s occurring in the Western United States. It has reached epic proportions. As I made my way through Northern California, there was a plume of smoke cresting a ridge to the west of highway that filled the air with heavy, white smoke. The lack of rain and extream heat have raised the wildfire danger in the area to “Extream”. As I crossed into Oregon, the smoke slowly cleared and my thoughts turned back to my fishing adventure. That was until I reached my first designation, Hyatt Lake. What was once a large lake filled with future memories of catching my first fish is now reduced to a muddy pond.

My First Cover Photo!

Posted on July 24, 2014

AA Traveler Cover

 

I shot this in the Puget Sound in the summer of 2012. It was the hardest shoot I have ever done. I was looking to shoot something different, something more than just your usual Stand Up Paddleboard Image. In my research for this photo shoot, I discovered the absence of  low angle photos for this sport. I came up with the idea to shoot from the water’s surface and in order to get these type of shots, I needed to be in the water.. I donned a full wet suit, put my camera in a waterproof bag, and got in the the cold water of the Puget Sound.

Puget Sound water temps are cold even in the middle of the Summer. Even though the air temps in Seattle that day were in the 90s the water-temps were still a chilly 55 degrees. I had to wear a full SCUBA wet suit to stay warm. I also wore my paddling life vest to keep me just above the waterline and help me be more stable.

Having a camera in a waterproof bag makes it almost impossible to make any quick adjustments. My underwater camera bag is made to go down to 100 feet so it’s very well sealed. It has finger pockets to adjust the controls but you have to fumble around in search of the buttons. I settled on having to preset the camera to the best settings for the light conditions and not try to make any adjustments while in the water. As a setting I went with a fast shutter speed to account for the massive amounts of camera movements from the waves. This speed adjustment, in turn, made it possible to freeze the splash in this photo. Yes, it was a happy accident but it was the result of my anticipated camera settings.

I saw this capture just after it was taken on the back of my camera and although it was only a two second review, I knew it was something special. We tried to recreate more splash shots for options in editing the shoot but this one just stood out as “The Shot”. There’s something in capturing that accidental moment that just can’t be reproduced. You just have to be ready to capture it when it occurs.

This is one of my top selling images with the Microstock Agencies. It has been downloaded hundreds of times and used on everything from websites to print materials. I discovered this cover piece from AA Traveler while researching my image usage thru Google’s Reverse Image Search. AA traveller is the official publication of the Automobile Association of South Africa.

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