Whiskey Creek Fly Fishing

Thoughts on fly fishing and fly tying

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Fly Fishing Camera

June 13th, 2008 · No Comments

This is the first of a series of posts about fly fishing photography. This one is about equipment, specifically my thoughts on selecting a camera.

I take a camera with me to record events: hero shots, photographic evidence of those trophies, or to record landmarks to remember a hole or access point. Trout live in beautiful places; I bring my camera to capture some of that beauty to share with friends and family. These photos make great gifts; an 8×10 print and an appropriate frame – and you have an unique gift.

Since my primary focus (pun intended) is fishing, I’ve optimized my camera choice for fishing.

I have used SLRs and “prosumer” larger cameras, but these have gotten in the way and displaced other equipment (a water bottle or fly box). For cameras that are not waterproof, I would store in a zip lock bag. This was a safety measure, but added time and complexity to taking a picture.

I’ve settled on digital point and shoot cameras that are waterproof. A waterproof camera is protected if I accidentally drop it and waterproof cameras give the ability to take more interesting shots like this cutthroat.

Point and shoot cameras are small, only displacing a small fly box. My fly vest even has a pocket dedicated for a point and shoot camera. The digital point and shoot cameras now have similar resolution as a 35mm camera, and 3x or better optical zoom.

  • 6 megapixels or greater provides roughly the same resolution as 35mm film. You can make prints easily up to 8×10 or 11×14. Greater resolutions in digital cameras pays off even if you don’t plan to print this large. More pixels in the original gives you more options for cropping.
  • The focal lengths vary by digital camera model, but think of a 3x optical zoom as roughly equivalent to a 35 to 105 mm lens on a 35mm film SLR. Slight wide angle to moderate telephoto. I ignore digital zoom figures, as I turn this feature off. Instead of digital zoom, I prefer to crop the image with my editing software.

I know of two point and shoot digital water and shockproof cameras on the market: The Pentax Optio series and the Olympus Slylus SW series.

I use an Olympus Stylus 770 SW, it was state of the art a a couple of years ago. It’s a great camera to bring while fishing. Its waterproof to 10 meters, shockproof to 5 feet, and compact (size of a small fly box). The camera is 7.1 mega-pixels, and has a 3x optical zoom. The only drawback is the lack of an optical viewer (you have to use the screen to compose your picture). The battery life is also compromised as the battery is tiny, but that compromise is worth the other features in my opinion.

Henry's Fork MooseThis picture is bittersweet. I went out one evening by my self on Henry’s Fork, at the ranch, just below millionaire’s pool. There were caddis flies dancing on the surface, and perfect temperature – it was heaven except no fish were rising.

Suddenly, I was startled by a huge splash just 30 yards behind me. It was this moose. I followed her a bit upstream until she framed herself in this gap of trees. I didn’t catch any fish that evening, but did catch a memory that I can share with friends.

If I didn’t have my camera, that nearly perfect evening would have faded.

Come back soon, I have some fly fishing photography tips for hero shots, composition pointers, and a whole host of links to give you some inspiration on making your unique shots.

Tags: Fly Fishing · photography

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