Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

When you get your camera or phone out to take a fishing photo, how do you “see” what is in front of you?

It always really interests me how we all “see” what is in front of us that little bit differently, and little in my mind illustrates this better than the photos we take - and because this blog is mainly about fishing, it is of course the photos of our fishing that I am talking about here. Whilst I can’t pretend that I find a great deal that catches my eye in a lot of the photos of fishing that I see all over the internet, I would also say that aside from the technicalities of what makes a “correct” photograph, none of us are “wrong” as such - because we all “see” what is it front of us a little differently, and with fishing there can be so much……….

Three of us were out bass fishing early one morning last year, and it’s a session that has stuck in my head ever since - but sadly not for the amazing fishing we had, because from memory I think we blanked on the bass front! Nope, it was how we all saw things that morning that got to me. As per above, it was one of those mornings when the world looked pretty damn incredible, and yes, damn right, you’re feeling a little bit smug that you’re up and out and seeing it before most regular people have even woken up. But then that’s the awesome fishing about fishing if you ask me - seeing so much stuff that non-fishing folk ain’t generally going to see.

So you have to bear in mind here that I am carrying a camera body and at least two different lenses in my rucksack, but most of you have smart phones that I am sure allow you to do a whole bunch of stuff as regards taking photos. And no, I don’t care about selfies! Now it could rightly be argued that the obvious shot is as per above - to put the angler in amongst that perfectly glorious light on a bit of a wide angle shot. Obvious it may be, but with that kind of very early light as per above, why the hell not I would ask? I can’t not shoot when it’s like that, and I noticed that Ben was snapping away as well on his smart phone. If a morning like that doesn’t affect you on some kind of emotional level then I would suggest you should be back home asleep or playing computer games……….

But what are you seeing when you’re snapping away? Damn right it’s the wide kind of shot that jumps out the most at you, but what else do you see? I shot a bunch of wide shots but I was also seeing something interesting out of my other eye and I couldn’t ignore it. I went for a lens change while Ben was still snapping a few pix on his phone, and as awesome as the sky was still looking, I changed over to a longer telephoto lens (70-200mm 35mm equivalent) to try and nail the shot that I could “see” in my head. Now Ben’s doing absolutely nothing wrong by continuing to bathe in that glory of light, sea and angler, but it fascinated me how he questioned my changing over to a longer lens. I don’t think he saw what I saw, just as I was not seeing exactly the same as he was seeing, and this fascinates me.

Ben’s a thoroughly nice guy who knows his onions backwards when it comes to fishing, and whilst photographing fishing is a big part of my job, it doesn’t then make what I shoot any more or less worthy than what he or indeed any other angler might choose to photograph when they are out fishing - but I “saw” another kind of photo when I was snapping those wide shots, and that photo that jumped into my head is the one above. I can’t help what I might “see” and just because I “saw” that tighter style photo above (early morning light playing on the water with Mark fishing and then a splash from a wave that gave me the motion I wanted), well that’s just me seeing things a little differently to Ben. Not right or wrong or better or worse - just differently.