Fish Selfies 101

Because I often fish by myself, I have had a few lessons in taking a pic of myself with my catch. And trust me, you always catch the best fish when you are on your own. Here are a few things I have learned over the years.

don't forget to look at the camera
don’t forget to look at the camera

Use the right tripod. This depends on the size of the camera you are using, but I find that the gorilla pod works perfect for my purposed. Because its small, you can attach it to your camera before you head out, saving you time when you are about to take the pic.

To avoid this, set up your composition carefully when positioning your caera and tripod
To avoid this, set up your composition carefully when positioning your camera and tripod

When landing the fish, make sure you find shallow water more or less as deep as the fish is thick. You can leave the fish on its side with water covering the gills while you set up your camera. In most instances the fish will be immobilized but can still breathe ok. Placing a damp cloth over the eyes will calm it down even further. Set up the shot while the fish is still lying in the water like this.

make sure the fish's gills are always covered
make sure the fish’s gills are always covered

Use a camera with a custom timer. I set mine to one minute and 5 photos, meaning it will give me 60 seconds to get ready and then shoot 5 photos a few seconds apart, allowing me different positions. I leave the fish underwater until I hear the timer warning me that its about to start shooting. Allowing oneself enough time to get into position is very important.

allow yourself enough time to get into position
allow yourself enough time to get into position

Before pressing the button, tilt the camera and make sure your camera focus is set on your fish. If you don’t do this, it will focus on infinity and your fish will most likely be out of focus.

Angler in focus, fish out of focus. Always focus on fish.
Angler in focus, fish out of focus.

I use a Canon G1X. It is compact, but fully manual. A big plus is the display screen that swings out and faces forward. Once into position and I am ready to pic up the fish, I can see the composition on the display screen and make sure everything I want is in the shot.

bad composition due to not being able to look at screen
bad composition due to not being able to look at screen
Looking at display screen = good composition
Looking at display screen = good composition

As a rule I never do more than two or three sets, meaning the fish is never out the water for more than 10 seconds or so and allows for a successful release.

leave the fish underwater untill the camera starts shooting
leave the fish underwater untill the camera starts shooting

4 thoughts on “Fish Selfies 101”

  1. Ray says:

    Great topic! Much needed. And spot on advice on the last pic, get the fish back in water until you’re ready, keep it submerged until you have it all set up.
    That said, I think you’re best image is the ones you seem to feel is a bad compositions or error. The image of the fish with the surf, fly line draped over the shoulder of the fish, perfectly in focus, white foam, fly reel submerged is brilliant! “Perfect compositions” are tired. We see them all the time. Give your viewers something unique, new, different, random and real. One other bit of advice, learn to take quick selfies without a tripod or timer. Keep the shutter release down, let it snap ten twelve quick shots. One of them is bound to be in focus. Great to see you guys back.
    R

    1. petercoetzee says:

      Awesome Conrad! The Nikon has an awesome trick up its sleeve…. Interval timer shooting. It will take a pic every few seconds but the genius is it continually re-adjusts focus according to where you are. The other cool thing is the lcd flips around so you can see where you are. Ray I tend to agree with you, the more chaotic the better! I’ve got a great one of a bumphead parrot shitting all over me, wrapped in fly line, backpack and cap floating away, broken net. Talk about capturing the moment!

  2. conradbotes says:

    Hi Pete. Yes, my camera’s lcd swivels 180 degrees as well, so you can look at whats happening while you are busy taking the pic. Unfortunately mine does not auto focus between shots. Or maybe it does, just dont know how to use it.

  3. conradbotes says:

    Ray, i agree that perfect is boring. I guess my strive for “perfection” is a hangover from contributing to a fly fishing magazine with a strict set of rules regarding photographic submitions. “Poor” composition, grainy low light pics and out of focus fish will never make the grade.

    Makes me think of Dave Skok’s photography. He manages to take photos that are unconventional in approach (often self portraits) and really captures the essence of Striped Bass fishing. He certainly does not comply to any of the rules.

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