Friday, April 15, 2011

Telephoto Fishing - The Trilogy

Speculation has been running wild among as many as 7 Fly to Water readers as to whether or not the wildly successful Telephoto Fishing series would bloat into a gratuitous trilogy.

By taking decisive action, I hope to avoid the possibility of this extreme tension spilling over into the weekend.


Fly fishing photography, especially when it comes to the fish themselves, often involves unpredictable action sequences. Separating yourself from the fray and shooting at longer focal lengths makes it easier to concentrate on one aspect of the scene unfolding dynamically before your eyes.

Wide angle lenses have the capability to include so much in the frame, that a clear focal point and strong composition often become the casualties of hurried decision making.

Longer focal lengths limit field of view, and can therefore be an aid to simple, strong compositions. There were plenty of additional elements involved in the scene below: Angler, shoreline, fly rod, horizon, sky, clouds...each could have been included with a different lens choice. Going telephoto allowed me to easily exclude them all. I wanted to capture the final moment of the fight, with no distractions. Fish, net, water - the only 3 objects in the frame.


Picking one aspect of the proceedings to focus on is great practice for capturing action with wider lenses. Even though you can see more at wide angles, achieving a compelling image is still about anchoring the photo in an element that draws attention. Mentally narrowing your focus is a skill that can be developed by physically limiting field of view through telephoto optics.

The point of this little 3-part diddy is that the end is really about the beginning. Rather than picking the day's kit based on portability and convenience - choose instead to decide what you hope to accomplish. When simplicity of composition is the goal - complicate your packing arrangements and lug the long lens.


  1. Thanks for dropping in Troutdawg & Sanders. Hopefully there were a few useful tidbits here and there.