Henry Gilbey
Cape Cod - 1010.jpg


Henry Gilbey blog

Taking a good look around you

There has been a discussion over on my Facebook page about all things photography (see here), and it got me thinking a bit. Early Monday mornings and a walk with my dog tend to do that !! I got to thinking about the photo shoot I went on last week, for the new Anyfish Anywhere lure rods (see my recent blog post) and what happens when you are faced with all kinds of light/conditions. Either we sit there and wait for something to happen, or we run around and make sure to get as much as we can for the Sea Angler review in this case. I am always in favour of just making the situation work somehow, whatever the light or conditions........


The "safety shot" - get something in the can. I can hardly turn around to Sea Angler and ask them to pay me if I don't deliver a bunch of photos to go with their review of these new lure rods. "Sorry guys, I was waiting for some awesome light and it never came, but please send my cheque anyway." Life don't work like that !! Not in fishing anyway. The light is very flat above, but I had deliberately chosen the location because I knew I could work with any kind of light that was thrown at us. Put Julian on that rock, make sure there is a constant background behind him to balance out the exposure (taking the sky out of the equation I call it, sun behind thick cloud behind me), use a large aperture to blur the backdrop out and concentrate the eye on the subject (angler and rod), get some shots in the bank. Go forward from there......


Things are getting a bit more interesting. Not amazing, but a chance to get a little more creative. My eyes are everywhere when I am thinking about photography, always looking for changes in the light and opportunities to try and make better photos than the stuff I have just shot. I have worked a lot with Julian in the past, and he knows not to take any offence when I start shouting at him to quickly move rocks while I run/stumble/slip around to change my position and get him against a far more interesting sky. A good kind of "establishing" shot that can work for a magazine in all kinds of different ways - note that there is plenty of room to bleed the sky back and put text around the main subject matter (man and rod again, obviously, it's a man plus new lure rods shoot !!). One part of my brain is "seeing" the photos while another part is virtually captioning them as I work. And the remaining part of my brain ? Open to debate......


A whole lot better. The sky clears a load, I place Julian so that the sun is off to my right and I can get maximum polarisation on that awesome sky. It's late afternoon now and the sun is far softer than it would have been a few hours earlier. As with my bass fishing, I am wearing chest waders so that I can get in the water, crouch down a bit, and get that slight "looking up" angle to really make the subject jump a bit in the photo. And yes, I did ship a nice bit of cold wave down my back, but that's part and parcel of it. I just love working with a decent circular polarising filter to make real emphasis of such a cool looking cloud formation as you can see here. We either go home because essentially the job is in the can (I have been shooting more controlled close up shots of the rods while we have been doing all this other stuff you can see here), or else we stay and wait to see if we can get some better material. I am never going to get anywhere in my working life by trying to cut corners. Obviously we stay...........all I can do is shoot the best stuff I can, and then let my clients choose what they actually use. Sometimes I could weep at what is not used though.


I had a good hunch that it was worth hanging around. The clouds and the dropping sun were beginning to look really good. Cue a bit more "asking" Julian to move into position, and then fire away. The trick is knowing when to maximise a decent situation, and when to really search around for some kind of option that gives you workable photos. It's easy in this case above. OK, so you need to know that your camera tends to want to expose somewhat differently to how it's come out above, but then you need to know when to take over and tell your camera exactly who's the boss. Worth hanging around for. It's amazing how different the world can look in such a relatively short space of time, and also via the photographer and how they actually "see" the different photos. I "saw" what I saw on this shoot, but another person would have make it look completely different. But that's what it's all about is it not ? How we all "see" creatively.


When it all comes together just about perfectly. Anyfish Anywhere design the rods, Sea Angler do the actual review, and I try to make the whole thing look as good as possible via my photos. Most of the time I tend to work on my own, in that I shoot the photos and then write the words to go with them, but it's fun to go and do things like this, and especially when a bit of patience (not my strong point), effort and collaboration pays off. Edit the shoot down, process the RAW files out to high-res JPEGs, and then upload them to Sea Angler magazine. Next time you go fishing, try to look with different eyes..........

I have changed a load of the photos in the Bass section of my Fishing Pictures section on my website, to better reflect recent trips and shoots. Check them out here.