Saturday, 29 September 2007

Sight fishing for Atlantic salmon

On the east coast of Canada at the moment, photographing some of the most unique fishing I have ever seen - sight fishing these crystal clear rivers for Atlantic salmon. Some incredibly beautiful rivers out here, taking far too many photos, but hard not to when it all looks so good. Some nice salmon on the fly so far, including this 20lb plus fish from La Grande Riviere on the Gaspe peninsular. Here for one more day and then Pete McLeod and I make our way across Canada on Monday, all the way from east to west and then on up into the wilds of British Columbia. What an awesome country, such friendly people and so many fish. Never seen rivers so clear, you can see every single pebble. Never heard of salmon fishing like this before, it is quite something to see.
Good to hear that England beat Tonga in the rugby, did not get the chance to see it as we were on the river fishing and photographing, but let's see what happens from here !!

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Off to Canada

Heading off to Canada tomorrow for a couple of weeks - will be photographing Atlantic salmon on the east coast first and then we head over to British Columbia to chase the autumn (fall) steelhead. Travelling with Pete McLeod of Aardvark McLeod, so it should be a great trip - check them out for fly fishing trips around the world, they are first class. I can not wait to photograph this stuff.
Sorting out camera gear for a trip like this takes careful planning - whilst it is impossible to take everything, I try to bring enough gear to give me a shot at any situation that is thrown at me, plus to have various spares in case anything goes wrong. Here is a list of what I take on a trip like this - I am going to photograph, not fish (but might manage a cast or two), but still you have to take the proper clothing to deal with some potentially cold temperatures and lots of wading (waders, wading boots, fleeces etc.).
  • 2 x Canon 1D MKII camera bodies
  • Canon 16-35 f2.8L lens
  • Canon 24-105 f4L IS lens
  • Canon 70-200 f4L IS lens
  • Canon 300 f4L IS lens
  • Canon 1.4 converter
  • Canon 15mm fisheye lens
  • Canon 105mm Macro lens
  • Canon 580EXII flash
  • 10.6 inch Fujitsu laptop
  • bus-powered external hard drive
  • various Compact Flash cards, polarising filters, chargers etc.
  • waterproof cover for camera

The best camera bag I know of for a trip like this is my tried and very trusted Lowepro DryZone 200. Really hoping to see some bears and get a few shots of them as well. To get to go on trips like these is a pure privilege.

Here's to hoping that England do themselves proud against Tonga on Friday......will try to update the blog as we travel around Canada. Bring it on as they say !!

Monday, 24 September 2007

Sea Angler - front cover shot

Just got the new issue of Sea Angler magazine and I was really pleased to see that they had put my bass photo on the front cover - good choice !! Sometimes conditions come together and allow for these kinds of shots to happen, especially when the bass fishing is going crazy and the light is perfect. All credit to master bass angler and good mate Graham Hill who catches the most insane numbers of bass in his quiet corner of south east Ireland.

You may well notice that Graham is not wearing what we might call "traditional" sea fishing clothing - more and more people are switching on to the lighter and generally more functional clothing from the fly fishing market that often better suits our needs. Lightweight breathable chest waders and a short wading jacket are just about perfect for mobile bass fishing - Graham is wearing the Greys G-series wading jacket and the Greys GRX waders and wading boots. Sounds like a fashion parade - but I know lots of sea anglers are always on the lookout for bits and pieces that might help their fishing. Nothing beats wearing lightweight, ultra-mobile breathable chest waders and a comfortable pair of wading boots - now you have no excuse for not walking that extra few miles.

On the musical front, I am really pleased to report that one of my favourite ever bands has just released a brand new album that is right back to their best - their first ever album was one of the first ever death metal records I ever bought and I still remember first listening to it. Check out the new album from Obituary, called Xecutioner's Return. I photographed these guys on a "comeback" tour in London a few years ago, click here to have a look. They are heavy as hell !!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Uganda feature

Back from Denver - what an awesome show, so interesting to be there. Just gutted not to have had enough time to head off into the nearby mountains to shoot some seriously cool fly fishing. There will be a next time.....
I have two features just out in a new US fishing magazine called Destination Fish - it is a stunning publication that thrives on creative writing and dynamic photography and I am seriously pleased to have a couple of articles in there. Track this magazine down. Really pleased to see that they have used a mix of fishing and wildlife shots of mine from Nile perch fishing in Uganda. Click here if you fancy going - it is a truly stunning place and well worth a visit. Here is a photo from my trip of a young hippo that lived very close to where we were camping - note the rather larger parents behind. This is truly wild Africa......
Back home for a few days and then off for a couple of weeks to Canada to photograph Atlantic salmon on the east coast and then the legendary steelhead of BC. I seriously can not wait to do this trip - travelling with Pete McLeod of Aardvark McLeod, a seriously fantastic fishing travel company that you need to check out. Click here for more info.

Monday, 17 September 2007

In Denver, Colorado

I am out at the Fly Fishing Retailer show in Denver, Colorado - what an awesome event. It is a huge fly fishing trade show/gathering of the industry, and I am here with Hardy Greys to learn as much as I can. Really interesting to meet so many people from the international fly fishing world - this show is a tackle tarts' paradise !! Some of the gear just looks so incredible. Had a long chat with a thoroughly nice guy called Val Atkinson, one of the most highly respected fly fishing photographers working in the world today - so cool how fishing is such an international language. Val takes photos to die for and he has a great new book out called Friends on the Water. Some fishing books simply call out to be drooled over again and again, and this is one of them.
The new Hardy Demon range of fly rods and reels look really good. This Demon range is the new Hardy "entry" level kit and all credit due - they have done a great job and people are raving about them. No doubt I will get to photograph this kit in action sometime soon.
Could not believe it - walking back to the hotel after the show yesterday and I saw that Megadeth were playing a gig here in Denver. There was a huge queue of die hard metal fans snaking around the block, but it was sold out. If only I had known !! How cool would that have been - fishing talk all day and then a good old fashioned thrash metal gig in the evening.
I am getting the chance to talk to lots of people in the fly fishing industry and it is fun to be able to show them a bit of the fishing photography that I do around the world. I am blown away by the feedback which is really good news, and one of the shots that people are really picking up on is the one below. I shot it last year on the stunning River Lyn in North Devon. People are also freaking about my ultra-remote Seychelles material that I have shot with the South African guys from FlyCastaway.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

The Field - bass article

I received a copy of The Field magazine in the post with a nice bass article of mine in there. I really like the intro DPS photograph they have used that I shot of my mate Graham Hill fishing in the surf in south east Ireland - make no mistake, the best bass fishing I have ever seen is in this awesome part of the world. It has been really noticeable over the last couple of years that fishing for bass is undergoing a kind of revival - not saying that it ever went away, but like mullet fishing, more and more sea anglers are "stumbling" on the pleasures of fishing with lighter, more balanced tackle.
I put myself in this position as well - give me a light rod, a pair of chest waders, a deserted coastline and many miles to walk and I'm never happier. Don't get me wrong, skull-dragging fish out of serious rough ground with heavy beachcasters is a great way to fish, but change is a good thing. Adapt or die as they say.
Bass are a great fish to be around and over the last few years I have been lucky enough to photograph some outstanding fishing, plus we have filmed it, and I have even managed to catch a few nice fish myself. Click here for a bunch of bass fishing photographs. Most of the bassing I have done has been over in Ireland, a country I have simply fallen in love with - so much fishing and so comparatively few people doing it seriously. I really believe that a large proportion of the shore fishing over there is still waiting to be I wish for more time !!
On a different note altogether, I am very worried about England's Rugby World Cup campaign with the South Africa game coming up Friday evening - perfect timing for me as I fly to Denver the next day. I am passionate about rugby and I am just gutted that England aren't getting it together properly. Just how good were we in 2003 when we won the World Cup ?

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

FlyLife cover

This is my photograph on the cover of Flylife magazine - really pleased with it and I reckon their choice of photo is fantastic. But then I would say that !! Taking photographs on shallow tropical flats is one of the most rewarding ways to work I know of, but it all depends on big blue skies and high sun angles to really fire it up (plus of course the fishing needs to be hot as well). Sometimes even in these stunning places the clouds roll in though, and then you really have to think on your feet to get the shots - no real chance of shooting nice and wide with a 16-35mm f2.8L lens and a polarising filter when it is overcast. Bear in mind also that you are in the water virtually all the time, carrying camera gear and water on your back for long periods. Changing lenses is not easy, in fact sometimes it is impossible.
But what fun would it be if there wasn't the odd challenge to overcome ? This bonefish was part of an epic session on the ultra-remote atoll of Providence, many hundreds of miles from the Seychelles, and caught by Gerhard Laubscher of FlyCastaway. Hungry bones everywhere, tailing fish right in front of us, but really bad light - on with the 70-200mm f4L IS lens and time to come in tight and look for different angles that do not involve too much shooting against the (grey) sky. I was really pleased to come away with a shot like this and I am pleased that such an awesome magazine chose it as their current cover.
And then when the light gets good on the flats and that sun rises high in the sky and illuminates the sand, well, I can't think of many better areas of the world to fish and photograph. It is a privilege to work in these kinds of places and most of the time I have to pinch myself to check that I can really call it work.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Gear shots

Some fishing tackle just looks so appealing - anybody who is into fishing I am sure can not resist buying more gear than they actually need. We are all the same !! Fly fishing reels especially are such good looking bits of engineering and I really like taking shots like this. Tumbling river water gurgling over the Greys G-Tec reel , a tight framing and a deliberately skewed horizon I think has produced a really interesting but simple shot that brings the eye in. I went for a very shallow depth of field on my 70-200 lens and got down really low in the river to bring the shot to eye level (nearly got a wader-full of cold water as well). Such a reflective surface on the reel meant that I had to wait until the bright sunshine was off the river when shooting last week with Nick Hart on the River Exe. Sunshine is great, but direct sun on a reel like this tends to produce burn-out.
Off to the Fly Fishing Retailer show next weekend in Denver, Colorado. Should be really interesting to see this event and talk to a bunch of people in the industry, the US fly market is fascinating to somebody like me. I have done a bit of fishing and photography in the US, but there is so much more that I want to do over there.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Rise of the Footsoldier - now showing in VUE cinemas

The Rise of the Footsoldier premiere in London on Wednesday night was fantastic - I might be a tiny bit biased because my brothers made the film, but I was totally blown away when I saw it. To me it is a British Goodfellas and I do not say that lightly - Rise of the Footsoldier is an epic and they deserve every success that might come their way. A hell of an achievement, so go and see it !! Out today in Vue cinemas for starters.
Shot an awesome feature this week with Nick Hart on his local River Exe, fly fishing for wild browns. Tough fishing for a while, but Nick worked them out and caught some stunning fish in seriously pretty surroundings. Always a huge buzz to photograph fly fishing on good looking rivers and this was no exception - this photo I hope conveys a little of how pretty the Exe is. Perfect light meant I could use a bunch of lenses and work on showing this stuff off properly - changed continuously between my 16-35, 70-200 and 100 Macro to get a full range of shots. But perhaps the most useful thing for fishing photography is a pair of breathable chest waders and my Hardy EWS ones are doing great. Good waders for fishing as well !!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Rise of the Footsoldier

Very excited to be heading for London tomorrow to go to the premiere of my two younger brothers' latest feature film, Rise of the Footsoldier. Click here to see the trailer. Should be an awesome event, my middle brother Julian was BAFTA nominated for his previous feature film, Rollin' with the Nines, and both of them are steadily making their way in the (very difficult) film business. They have co-written both scripts and also co-edited both the films. I am staggered by what they are doing.................can not wait to see the completed film for the first time tomorrow night in Leicester Square. Then I believe it opens nationwide this Friday, 7th September. Go see it and support the British film industry.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Cool cover

Thanks to Martin for inviting me along to some south Cornish wrasse fishing on Saturday - had such fun and got some cool photos of a really pretty and quiet part of Cornwall, plus some nice fish as well. Well done guys. Martin asked me to come along through the World Sea Fishing forums. These fish are always a pleasure to be around, whether catching or photographing them. The kind of shore fishing that anybody can enjoy.
Just got the latest issue of the outstanding Australia/NZ fly fishing magazine FlyLife through the post and I was really pleased to see that the front cover is a photo of mine, of a bonefish from the Seychelles. There is also a really colourful and good looking feature of mine in there from the Seychelles, with photos of bones, milkfish, triggers and parrotfish. I had the front cover of this quarterly magazine a while ago as well, click here to see. To get material placed in such good looking publications like these is a real buzz. I will post the cover shot in due course.
Only one group of guys in the world successfully run extreme fly fishing trips to the ultra-remote atolls, many hundreds of miles off the Seychelles, and that is FlyCastaway. A hardcore, dedicated bunch of fly fishing guides from South Africa, they are the nicest and most professional people you could ever hope to meet. And frighteningly talented fly fishermen as well. Photographing with this lot is a serious thrill for somebody like me. I have photographed with them a couple of times in the remote Seychelles, plus in Zambia for the tiger fish, and in South Africa for the yellowfish of the Vaal river. Plenty more to do in the future with them, including a trip back to Cosmoledo atoll in the Seychelles this December. FlyCastaway are right at the cutting edge of modern, worldwide fly fishing.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Wild Dartmoor

Awesome day yesterday up on Fernworthy reservoir, just outside Chagford. What a truly wild place, right up on Dartmoor and simply stunning - I was photographing Nick Hart fly fishing for these magical wild browns. A scudding grey sky and cold wind gave the place a really moody feel, but Nick caught plenty of fish and we came away with a really strong set of photos for Trout Fisherman magazine.
There was no real way to shoot wide due to the grey skies, so I shot mainly with my 70-200 lens and kept fairly tight. Nick caught some really nice browns by heading off the beaten track amongst this bracken and fishing tight in to the bank where fish were rising all over the place. The whole place reminded me so much of the types of little Scottish lochs I first started fishing on, but Nick is a somewhat better fly fisherman than I ever was or am !!
Change of scene later today - off to photograph some wrasse fishing down in South Cornwall, should be a blast. My first ever sea fish I caught was a (small) wrasse, and ever since I have loved catching, photographing and just seeing these plucky fish. Fishing from the rocks is always something special.