I thought it would be cool to put a few more photos up from my bassing trip over to Ireland last week - above is Cian O'Halloran with his 9lb 9oz bass that he took on a lure on that awesome first morning. Asking a guy to smile when he has just landed his best ever bass is not hard to do. If anybody wants to doubt the weight of the fish, feel free, but take it from me, what this photo does not show one bit is the extraordinary girth of his bass.
The kind of photo you see above is a very deliberate silhouette shot, whereby I focused on the two guys and then deliberately underexposed the shot to make the rock and the anglers essentially come out black, therefore retaining the fantastic colour in the early morning sky. I do not mess around with trying to change colours in Photoshop when it looks as good as this already. I really like the darkened, swirling bit of sea at the bottom of the photo as well - this all just says "bass fishing" to me. The early bird gets the worm !!
Here is Andy Bignell with one of his first ever Irish bass, and I deliberately asked him to push the fish towards me and then I focused on the eye of the bass and used a large aperture to blow the background right out of focus and therefore draw your eye right in on the fish. Has it worked ? Up to you to decide, but magazines tend to like these kinds of photos to slot into a feature, and I need to shoot stuff that sells - it is my job after all. It's all very well wanting to shoot purely "creative" stuff all the time, but the successful photographer is going to make sure he or she shoots a mixture of material that works for their particular markets, with one eye of course on any future openings........I tell you, the amount of stuff that swirls around my head from day to day is worrying. I even tend to caption a lot of my photos in my head as I am shooting them. Mad ? Obsessed ? I'll let you decide.
Conditions like these are a dream to photograph - they might not be that great for bass fishing, but the period after first light has allowed me to produce what looks very much like a black and white photograph, when in fact what I have done is used a polarising filter and the correct angle of the sun to essentially burn the background out and bring the rocks and angler in as a silhouette. Looking at a full size photo on a decent monitor, you can begin to see into the crystal clear water as well.
A fairly "standard" grip and grin photo of man plus fish, where the aim is to grab a couple of decent photos and not harm the fish. Graham nailed this nice pollack on a soft plastic lure one afternoon, and it gave him the typical pollack runaround, crash diving hard and generally doing its best to create mayhem. Graham is a very easy guy to photograph and he cradled the fish gently with the aid of these Berkley Pistol Trigger Grips that a bunch of us have started using this year, see here for details. Note the brand new Greys Platinum breathable waders that he is wearing - keep an eye on the Greys website for when these great new waders are going to be launched. It might not be the finest photograph ever taken, but it is in focus, correctly exposed, fairly tightly cropped, and the fish went back just fine. Give me big blue skies with a fine fish like the pollack and I can make them shine big time..........
I am leaving from Heathrow Terminal 5 on Thursday evening, flying down to Johannesburg, and then John Crabb from FlyCastaway is picking me up and we are heading straight for the coast. He is a seriously accomplished rock and surf fisherman, as well as being rather handy with a fly rod as well, so it is going to be a blast of a trip. Wish me luck for Terminal 5, it is the first time I have ever flown from this particular and no doubt delightful corner of Heathrow. I will post when I can from South Africa, so keep checking back here.