Chewin’ The Fat
Enhancing your catch is as easy as going wide.
Same fish, same angler. On the left is a standard 50mm DSLR shot, on the right, a GoPro5 Black set on wide. Hmmmm?
Perspective is something we should never lose in life. Looking at something and forming an opinion on what we see and evaluate is vital to a healthy and happy existence. In photography terms, perspective of the lens, is critical in the way a photo is represented. The way things look through the numerous super-wide to telephoto lenses can distort the reality of the subject and, in turn, our own developed perspective and value of the photograph – and its subject.
With fishing photos, where the main subject is often your prize catch, there has been a trend to use super wide-angle cameras (like GoPros) to capture the event. They do an ok job for social media and allow you to recover the image from your phone to show your mates, but they do have an exaggeration factor built-in. Settings on the action cameras vary from narrow, linear (normal) wide and super-wide and can grossly enhance the perceived size of your fish – and fingers for that matter.
For the discerning angler there is no real deception. The fingers are massive and look like an amputated lower leg, and there isn’t a straight plane in the field of view. Rods on the deck of the boat are curved and the bow in the horizon would send Flat Earthers into a tailspin. It is the incredible angle of the lens and the significant depth of field that make the photos sharp in both foreground and background. The lack of blur through the depth of the photo only adds to the deception and far less astute anglers will start throwing comments like Donkey, Unicorn and put a saddle on it, when their perspective has been fooled. There are a lot of fish that are exceptional and are worthy of comment but, in many cases, they simply, are not.
Hidden hands, fingers and outstretched arm are not a trick of the camera but a deliberate attempt by the angler to minimise the aberration of the lens and the distraction of distorted appendages. This often requires fingers in gills and finger nails caught up under scales or pinkies in anal cavities which isn’t best handling practice of fish, but it does make a great photo.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a good wide angle shot because it showcases the fish, adds depth and background and provides working room on a boat or in a confined space. That said, I also like to read additional information about the fish like length (tip or fork) so I, or other followers, can draw a mental conclusion or size association with a tape or our own experience with that species.
Wide and super wide-angle lenses do have their place; I shoot an 11mm lens on a DSLR for underwater shots because it reduces the distance from subject to camera and eliminates having to shoot through a window of water that may be less than clear. So, they are a very handy tool in a photographic kit for getting the job done and making the most of any given situation, but they can also exaggerate the truth…
Dave “Seamo” Seaman
Regular Contributor — Seamo’s Angle
Over the last 40 years David has had commissioned and freelance articles and photos published in all of Australia’s leading fishing publications. A leading underwater fishing photographer, David was the first to introduce regular underwater photos into his articles in an effort to immerse the reader into the world below the surface.
The producer of the widely acclaimed, Wild River Bass series of DVDs, David enjoys creative challenges and strives to enhance all elements of his media productions. A fishing tragic by nature, there is always fishing on his mind or to do list.