I don't fish. I really never warmed up to the whole idea of fishing although I can see the appeal of getting out of town, standing thigh deep in cool water and taking a break from the real world. But just like golf there are activities I know I'll never have an inclination to take up.
My photographer friend, Paul, loves fly-fishing and has gone on adventures in far off places like Patagonia armed with just a (nice) point and shoot camera and his fishing gear. He's gone for weeks and always seems to come back with a smile on his face and stories to tell. Oddly, the stories are hardly ever about fishing and much more often about great meals he had in places like Argentina, where he stopped along the way.
Like photography fly-fishing seems replete with opportunities to impoverish oneself. There is costume (waders, vests, special shirts, and trendy hats) and there is gear. Rods, reels, flies and special lines. But a lot of the cost is that you need a nice river in which fish and those are hard to find right next to hot and dusty Texas towns.
If I were to take up the hobby I'd want to practice it somewhere delightful. Like in a nearly frozen stream in Iceland or someplace picturesque like Scotland.
So, how did I get on the topic of fly fishing? Well, we do a bunch of imaging for a cool group of Oral Surgeons here in Austin. Each time they add a new associate they "introduce" him to the community with a run of print ads in community newspapers and general interest magazines. Each doctor is presented doing something they love. One of the ads featured a competitive water skier, another surrounded by his carpentry projects, and still another on a nice road bike.
The practice's latest addition, Dr. Szalay, is an avid fly-fisher. Since he grew up around Austin he knows all the local (within 50 miles?) places to go out for a day and cast a line. When I was hired to take his photo he knew just the right place. We met there just before labor day, parked near a crowded park and walked for a while to get to this secluded spot. It was a hot day and the sun was blazing but every once in a while we were blessed with a little cluster of high, puffy clouds marching their way through a clear blue sky.
I positioned the doctor for just the right composition and we talked about how we both wanted the image to look. Almost on command a small herd of fluffy clouds performed their duty as soft diffusers, floating their way between the sun and my subject, and we shot 25 or 30 frames of him casting out his line. Looking through the photos it was the 10th image that contained everything the art director had asked for.
We walked back to our cars and chatted mostly about how much Austin has changed since I moved here and since his childhood. We also talked about fishing. I'm still not a convert. It's a messy hobby.
The art director and the marketing director were happy with the shots and we did the post production on the selected raw file on the same day. They had a deadline to hit on the next day.
The trip down to our location took an hour. The trip back was a bit longer. I drove back the long way so I could luxuriate in the rolling hills out to the west. Anything to stay off the north/south highway from hell we call I-35. The actual photography took just ten minutes or so.
It was one of those jobs that just rolls through the camera almost un-propelled by conscious thought. I used a Lumix S1R and the S-Pro 70-200mm but honestly, I could have used just about any camera with a reasonably long lens. The S1R does a great job holding on to the highlights, and since the files are so large and detailed I had no fears about the effects of a big crop.
Sometimes things just fall into place. Either that or practicing this kind of work thousands and thousands of times actually pays off.
Nice afternoon. Good subject. Great client.
That's my fishing story. Now I have to start editing my latest "music video."