I don't usually put blog posts up on a Sunday unless I am away somewhere on a fishing/photo job with access to the internet, but I am off to Ireland early tomorrow morning and I wanted to tell you about the most wonderful fishing book that I have been buried in recently book before I head off. I knew that Matt Hayes was into his photography, but you'll have to forgive my slight ignorance for not knowing how seriously he had gone and got the bug - his brand new book "Fisheye - A guide to angling photography" is one seriously impressive publication.
I will say that it's a pretty bold move to come out with a book that purports to be a guide to taking fishing photographs, and especially if you didn't have the knowledge or material to back such a title up. But holy cow does Matt have what it takes here !! Honestly, the guy is a hugely talented photographer who obviously has a serious amount of technical knowledge to back up what is a very easy to see passion for making fishing look as good as possible. Whatever it takes to make fishing look awesome I can assure you that Matt has it in spades. I don't read or look at nearly as many fishing books as I most probably should or indeed would like to, but this one is flat out a stunner, and I give huge credit to Matt and his publishers for creating such a beautiful, helpful and inspirational fishing book.
If you have heard of Matt Hayes then I would presume it's because of his TV work in fishing, but judging by this book and all that it gets across so well it seems that for a fair while now he has harboured this passion for photography. If you read this book and don't start taking better photographs of your fishing then I would question whether you read it at all, because Matt very successfully gets across an almost scary amount of easy to understand information - but all that aside, what floats my boat the most is that this book is full of some truly stunning photography. It's inspirational.
You are probably expecting that I should be picking holes in the book somewhere because I am a fishing photographer as well, but it's not my style. I have always believed that fishing is plenty big enough. Anybody who produces work like this and helps to make the sport of fishing look more impressive deserves nothing but praise if you ask me. Sure, there are some photos in the book that I like more than others, but photography is meant to elicit feelings and emotions. Now that I have seen a lot of Matt's work in this sumptuous book I can see how our "styles" differ hugely, but again that is nothing but a good thing. It would be pretty boring if fishing photographers like us made it all look the same. Examples of the way we obviously do things differently ? I can see that Matt uses a tripod far more than me to create some gorgeous "studies" or "reflections on fishing", whereas I am perhaps a more "in your face" fishing photographer, and Matt makes use of fill-flash far more than me. Matt is obviously ok with photos of him and fish appearing, whereas I tend to shy away from being photographed myself. I understand completely that a book by Matt Hayes needs some photos of Matt himself to help sell it, and perhaps this is where I let myself down in business terms because I tend to stay behind my stills cameras and hand my fish over to friends for me to photograph (if I catch any that is !!). Now do you see why I want to simply celebrate a fishing book like this ? I love it. I love seeing how talented people make fishing look and "Fisheye - A Guide to Angling Photography" deserves to really get out there and make people sit up and take note. "Isn't he the bloke off the telly ?" Well he might well be, but Matt Hayes is one seriously accomplished photographer. This is one stunning book. There are a lot of photographs in there that I have spent a lot of time looking at, but for all the stunning light and strong compositions, it's actually one of the "simplest" looking photos that jumped at me the most the first time I looked at the book. The photo of a pike angler emerging from the mist on Lough Ramor in Ireland on pages 102/103 for some reason just really, really does it for me. It's breath-taking, and I don't say that lightly. You can get hold of the book all over the place - look here for starters. Check out the even more sumptuous limited edition version with a different cover here.
I have neglected to talk about music on this blog for a long time now, and that's primarily because I've been putting those kinds of gems up on my Facebook page. What gives me perhaps the biggest kick in my passion for music is literally stumbling upon obscure extreme metal bands that turn out to be serious gems. I don't know what it is about the Ukraine, but as a country it seems to specialise in producing some awesome but somewhat obscure black metal especially. I remember coming across Drudkh a few years ago for example. Staggering. The other day I came across this Ukrainian black metal band called Sauroctonos and their new album "Our Cold Days Are Still Here When the Lights Go Out". I have not stopped listening to it since - it's that awesome. Check out a track here, and you can freely download three high quality tracks here. Must be something in the water over there...............