Henry Gilbey
Cape Cod - 1010.jpg


Henry Gilbey blog

Fly fishing does carry on in winter

There is plenty of decent fly fishing around during the depths of winter if you are happy to fish the smaller stillwaters that stay open right the way through. I shot a job for Trout Fisherman on Wednesday up at Bake Lakes in Cornwall (see here). This big complex of different lakes is a very well known coarse fishery, and especially for big numbers of very good conditioned carp, but there is also a popular fly fishing lake there as well. Russ and I turned up at exactly the right time to take advantage of some really good light early on as you can see above. Easy for me to line it up, dial in a stop underexposure to hold that moody sky and retain overall contrast, and then blast away on the motordrive as Russ nails a cast. I love those coloured fly lines that literally "jump" at you. I could do this stuff all day long............

The best of the light was early on, but the weather conditions were somewhat raw, and this made the fishing pretty tough - I work on shooting as much "establishing" material as I can when the light is good, and then be prepared to get the fish shots as and when it happens. I am not over the moon that I had to place the horizon half way down the photo as you can see above, but I was having to make sure to keep my shadow out of the frame. Hence the rather "safe" horizon placement. Bake Lakes is a great place and I can see myself spending a few hours up there on a summer's evening chasing carp on the surface with my mullet gear. Anything up on the surface floats my boat in a major way.

When Russ nailed the fish, we had essentially lost any decent light - this is the time to come in really tight and get away from the grey, overcast skies and concentrate on the detail shots like with this rainbow trout above. Again, dial in a bit of underexposure to darken the background and make the fish really stand out. Bringing the main subject to life in the frame is not always about making the overall photo big and bright - darkening the background around a subject is another way to give an already fairly standout subject a bit more impact. OK, so it's hardly an award winning shot, but it gives a magazine designer plenty of options for fitting into a feature.

I am not entirely sure about the photo above - part of me really likes the brief window of incredible light we had that allowed me to shoot this one above. I was able to retain the correct exposure on the fisherman you see in the bottom left corner, while bringing the moody sky right down to an inky grey. This was the result of dialling in minus 2 stops underexposure against the suggested meter reading from my Nikon D3. I think I like it, but I need to spend more time with it if that makes sense. It screams winter flyfishing at me, but I will be interested to see what the magazine designer makes of a shot like this......

And here's a front cover of mine from the other day - I do a fair bit of work for the German fishing magazine Blinker, and from time to time they ask me if I have any shots that I think might work for their cover. It always strikes me when photographing different kinds of fishing how the various species "like" to be held or cradled for photos. Bass obviously grab me in a big way, but I do see some photos of them that leave me really cold for want of a better word. People like me owe it to fishing to make the fish look as good as possible.