Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Photographically Speaking: A flashing on The River Black

I sat down to write a trip review about the Black River, but I am sure most of you folks have seen plenty of photographs of rivers, and the fish that inhabit such waters, and have read enough stories of people blundering in and around them. So I decided to make this post about the documentation itself.

As a photographer, I spent a lot of time thinking about the way things are seen. Photography is about the capture of light and the way it plays with the surface of a subject.

Natural light, in my opinion is the best for capturing the soul of just about anything. Food, lit from above and behind by indirect sunlight looks much more appetizing than lit by say, a studio strobe. Take a person and set them beside a shaded window in the warm afternoon glow and you have brilliance ready to shoot.

Flash photography is great due to the ability of the photographer to move the light source and adjust its strength to get the perfect combination of highlights and shadows, and when combined with natural light it can be very powerful.

This cow skull, which Aaron named "Elmer" was sitting in our camp site when we arrived at the river, and I knew sooner or later it would end up in a photo. It was just the when and where I had to figure out.

When I go on fishing trips, there is always a little battle in my head with how much camera to bring. Do I want to leave my "trip Nikon" at home and just throw a point and shoot in my pocket? Or will I be kicking my own ass when some once-in-a-lifetime photo comes along and I don't have my gear to capture it to the best of my ability?

On this trip I brought a Nikon D70, with a SB800 flash and a remote cable. The cable allows me to hold the flash off to a side and get more contrast and shadows which I feel always lends itself to more interesting looking images.

One thing I like to do a lot, is hold the camera down by the ground and shoot up. While it is usually not the most flattering way to photograph people, I find it more interesting to look at than your usual straight-on images. A photograph of something from an angle that people don't see it from in everyday life is a great way to add some snazzieness.

Is it a pain in the ass to cart around a camera like this out in the field? Sure, but sometimes the results are worth it.

Aaron floating a bugger. Lit by the flash while the camera was held just above the water.

Popping the flash with a slow shutter speed at dust gives the water and rocks in the foreground more dimension while still allowing that "flowing" look.

If after all this, you are sitting there thinking, "yea okay, that's neat and all... but how was the fishing?" We caught quite a few little smallmouth on beadhead buggers and reservator leaches. All hanging out where you would expect them, in slow holding water under cover. You have to get a ways up or down the river away from the camping adn people to find the bigguns, and apparently we didn't walk far enough. But overall the trip was a blast.

I plan to do some technique and gear articles about field photography in the future, so if this interested you, stay tuned.

-Alex who wants to help you take better photos.

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's a matter of space.

I don't really care that the kitchen sink is bolted down, I have a socket wrench. "Will it fit" is the question.

When wandering vehicularly in the outdoors, I have been known to bring a lot of stuff. Some would say too much, but I don't care because I will most likely be way more comfortable then those light-packed pansies.

Here is where it gets tricky: While I may have a nice big roomy longbed truck, Aaron (who drives about half of our trips) has a jeep. I barely fit in that god damn jeep let alone my horde of stuff.

Now, I am a good packer, and all those years in study hall playing tetris couldn't have hurt. If there is a way, I can find it. But as I sit here looking at my pile of crap for our Black River trip, I'm starting to have doubts.

Cooler, sleeping bags, tarp, cot, cot pad, rod tubes, tent, vest, gea rbag, clothes bag, camp chair, lantern, waders, boots, fuel. This pile is my trip standard. The number of nights really only regulates the size of the cooler.

Missing from this photo is my camping bin (which I already know wont fit), it holds an extra pair of boots, a towel, propane stove, shovel, machete, plates, forks, knives, hotdog cooker, matches, etc. Thank christ I don't need to bring my float tube.

As I type this, Aaron is on his way over and I can already hear him sighing when he sees what I have in store for his cargo space.

What about you? Do you fill a Uhaul for the weekend, or will you turn your nose up to me as you walk by with your tevas and frame pack?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A preview of things to come.

If a tree falls in the forest, and everyone around is drunk, does anyone even notice?

The Great Southwestern Wrinkleneck Invitational came to an end this past weekend, and I have begun compiling my drunken scribbles and comparing them to the photographic evidence to piece together what happened. So keep an eye out for that post, I promise it will be worth the read.

Also, Aaron and I are going to the Black River on Friday to grapple with smallmouth, taunt black bears, and kick ass. So keep another eye out for that.

That's all for now. I just didn't want anyone to feel neglected.

-Alex

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Big One, Your Big One, The Big One.

When I was a child my mother was always trying to get me to eat my vegetables. I spent many a stubborn evening at the table with crossed arms and a locked jaw against the never ending healthy onslaught. My mom, being the crafty women she is would use a combination of trickery and guerilla tactics in the kitchen such as blending carrots into mashed potatoes and stuffing chicken with broccoli. She even went so far as to hide peas in noodles when making macaroni and cheese. I would like to think that I could always tell, but I have a feeling now that I ate way more vetetus than previously suspected.

This fellow pictured on the left David Kinney, and in a way, he is a lot like my dear old mom.

A print journalist turned novelist, Kinney abandoned the broadsheets and took a trip to the sandy beaches of Martha’s Vineyard to document the fishing, drama, and colorful personalities involved in the annual striped bass tournament.

In an email to me, Kinney called his work an “unusual sort of fishing book.” I cannot validate this statement due to the fact that I am unqualified to tell you what a “usual” sort of fishing book may be, but I can tell you it was most defiantly an entertaining read.

Summed up, Kinney's book The Big One, is very much like a legume-concealing Velveeta smothered noodle.

No, I have not lost my mind…. Just bear with me for a moment.

The Big One, is a deliciously entertaining tale full of big bass, questionable behavior and general fishing shenanigans, but also hidden within its pages is a very healthy serving of Vineyard history.

I am not usually big on reading history, but like vegetables are good for your body, history is good for your mind. Without history, great stories are meaningless and you can never truly know place or its people without knowing their past. And David, being the Pulitzer Prize winning writer that he is, knows this.

Though I may liken the Vineyards yesteryears to green beans, the literary feast of Yukon Gold potatoes and baked ham with spicy Dijon contained within The Big One wouldn’t be complete without it.

And I tell you, after reading it I am still hungry and my minds mouth is left watering for more.

-Alex who thinks this may be the strangest book review ever.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Girls, Fly Fishing, Swim Suit Models

At the point right now I am in the question of "Is my boss gay?" Well Truth Be told no, he has seven little items of proof that he had made it with a woman. Yes I mean his kids.

Today at around 11:45 am I got a call on my office phone, and on the other end was a guy from the "Gotta Go Fly Fishing" calendar. As the demons in my pants quickly sprang to life I rushed out the door to the gate for the entrance of the club. The Fella wanted to use our club for photo shoots of the GIRLS IN WADERS AND FLY RODS! May I tell you that these girls look amazing. My boss without a second thought turned him down. The demons now lay to rest again, and the anger towards my job increased. I am not going to post any photos of the girls due to copyright laws but I will send out their link so you can all see why I am pissed right now:

http://www.gottagoflyfishing.com/

So in the end result, No my boss is not gay, he just sucks for taking his job seriously over his chef! Just Kidding Ed.

I now will never be any part of the "Girls Gone Fly Fishing"

If I didn't have a girl friend I would have shot my boss for fucking up my chance to meet the fly fishing girl Emily, aka Miss August, (you all need to click the link to see what I am talking about)

And some girls on other websites should be in this Calendar, check out Rouge Angels you will agree, plus they really do know how to fish.

I am pissed.
 -Kyle

Monday, May 4, 2009

Let me see your sad face.

So you have probably seen the recent article on fish feeling pain, found by Cutthroat Stalker. And if you are cool, will have read Mr. Gracie's and Hoss's opinions on the subject.

Ok, let us say that fish feel pain, and react to it similar to the way we do, (minus the stupid facial expressions and constant whining). Something hurts them, they get scared. It makes sense, I get it. But unfortunately it won't help their situation. You know why? Because they're not cute.

If my mother's cats suddenly became slimy, scale covered, floppy tubes of meat with fins, she would scream and boot them out the front door to the coyotes before you could say "not very humanitarian behavior."

PETA wants to know why you would hook a fish, and not your dog. Well, your German Shepherd can sit, rollover, fetch, beg, and is way more fun to hang out with than a trout.

No one wants to cuddle with a fish, and society has taught me that means it is okay to temporarily inflict physical and possibly mental pain for my own pleasure.

If this news is a shock to you, and you feel bad about making fish uncomfortable, then sell your gear and go do something else. There will be more room for the rest of us.

-Alex who has been hooked in the lip, and understands that it hurts.