Digital Journal – Project 2 – Images for a Social World

Introduction :

So far this Project has enjoyed an easier beginning than Project 1. This is probably due to having completed Project 1 and I’m now feeling more comfortable with the whole developmental process.

Inspiration :

I’ll be completely honest. I haven’t really gone looking for inspiration on this project. I guess partly because I wanted to do something completely unique to my style and perhaps different from everyone else.

I do realise that to be different it’s important to know what others have already done, but I’m reasonably happy with the outcome of this project despite the lack of peer influence.

Having looked online for other similar photos since taking these images and with this particular series and theme in mind I haven’t come across anything remotely similar.

Project 2 – Theme Development

For project 2 I am continuing along the lines of my project 1 submissions, the fly fishing theme, but this time from the fishes perspective.

 In mid January 2016, I spent photographing wild brown trout in crystal clear water in the Australia Alps, near Mount Kosciusko and have decided to run a Postcard series based on Wild Trout Feeding Behaviour relevant to Dry Fly Fishing.

Like Project one I am leaning towards a Monochrome approach.

I’ll run a few comparisons of the colour versus the monochromes here in the Digital Journal. But at the moment I’m quite taken with the B and W’s.

Wild Trout Feeding Behaviour :

“Cruising the Beat” – Feeding trout often swim along a set path backwards and forwards searching for food. The Fly Fisherman with Polaroid sunglasses can often see these fish and have an opportunity to present an artificial fly to them. This type of “Spotting” fish (refer to “Spotting” in Project 1), is called Polaroiding.

Although the fish depicted looks quite small in these images it was in fact around 35-40cm long and weighed around 300-400g, about two to three times the size of the freshwater trout you can buy from the delicatessen at Woolies.

This is quite a sizeable fish. The refraction of the water makes it appear smaller at the angle of the shoot. These fish have beautiful colours and I am seriously considering running the series in Colour instead of Monotone.

 The Venue :

 Fig.1 : Sunset at Three Mile Dam, Mount Selwyn.

The Fish :

The fish depicted in this series of images are all wild Brown Trout (Salmo Trutta). These fish are a freshwater salmonid species with origins in Europe.

They are predominantly an opportunistic carnivore. Their diet consists of both aquatic and terrestrial insect forms, crustaceans, earthworms and smaller fish when available.

Brown trout when mature have a beautiful golden background with speckles of brown spots spread across their dorsal surfaces and gorgeous red spots dotted along their lateral line. They are quite stunning fish to meet in the flesh.

 Image 1 : “Cruising the Beat” – Monochrome – ORF Edit – CCA. Feeding trout often swim along a set path backwards and forwards searching for food.

 Image 1a : “Cruising the Beat” – Colour ORF Edit. Feeding trout often swim along a set path backwards and forwards searching for food.

Fig 2 : Habitat- PSE – Colour-ORF-Edit

Fig. 4 : Cornered—Colour-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

Fig. 6 : Habitat4- PSE – Colour-ORF-Edit

Fig. 8 : Habitat 2- PSE – Colour-ORF-Edit

Fig. 3 : Habitat- PSE – Colour-ORF-Edit-Clarity+24Contrast+37

Fig. 5 : Cornered- PSE – Mono-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

Fig. 7 : Habitat3 – PSE – Colour-ORF-Edit

Habitat :

This is the environment in which the photo shoot took place. The fish were trapped in pools in an intermittently flowing mountain stream. The pools were near crystal clear for most of the shoot with wind, fish activity and glare being the major barriers to obtaining clean shots.

Technique :

A circular polariser was necessary to cut down glare, which was an inpediment to fast shutter operation due to a reduction in the f-stop available. (This is a particular problem with micro-four thirds camera systems using relatively slow glass (ie. 1:4.:5.6).

Manual settings were used mostly with shutter speed set slightly slower than 1000 of a second and aperture with max opening at f-4. The result of this was a slight blurring of the images due to hand shake (these were all hand held shots) and fish motion.

Dry Fly Fishing :

Dry Fly Fishing involves presenting an imitation insect (A Fly) that floats on the waters surface to a prospective fish. If the fish is interested there are a number of events that take place, just as if they were hunting for live (or spent) insects on the waters surface.

Image 2a : Jaws-Mono – PSE – ORF Edit – A6 Crop

Image 2b : A-Box-of-Flies—Colour-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop1

Image 2c : In-the-Bag–Original-Monotone-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

Image 3a : The-Inspection—Colour-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

Image 3b : The-Inspection- PSE – Cross Colour Mono – ORF Edit-A6 Crop

Image 3c : The-Inspection-Series-1—Mono-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop1

Image 3d : The-Inspection-Series-1-Mono-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop2

Stage 1 : Inspection

When a fish spots an insect or is fooled into thinking the Imitation fly is something edible, they come to the surface for a closer look – The “Inspection”. (Image 1).

The fish shown in these images are eating real insects off the waters surface. There are no artificial fly’s being presented to them here.

Image 3e : The-Inspection-Series-1-Colour-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop3

Image 3f : The-Inspection-Series-1-Mono-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop3

Crop Experiments :

Played around with a few different crops of this image. I really like this photo. The edit itself turned out quite well in my opinion. Will look at applying this edit to the other photos in this series. Have a DNG file saved for the Original ORF edit on every photo, so can go back and check the settings and manipulate the other ORFs where needed.

Stage 2 : The Rise

Image 4a : The “Rise” – Monochrome – ORF Edit – A6 Crop

On deciding the fly is in fact worth persuing, the fish makes a commitment to risk coming to the waters surface, where they are in further danger from attack by predatory birds such as Cormorants. On approaching the fly the fish makes a subtle, but usually visible disturbance of the waters surface. This disturbance is what Fly Fisherman commonly refer to as The “Rise”.

Image 4b : The “Rise” – Colour ORF Edit – A6 Crop

Image 4c : Fly-Fishing-Australia

Image 4d : Trout-and-Fly-2-Mount-Selwyn-N.S.W

Sometimes there is a lack of distinction between this stage and stage 3, the “Take”, given the speed and ferocity at which some fish make this ascent.


Image 4e : Dorsal-View-Series-4-Mono-ORF-Edit – A6 Crop

Image 4f : Trout-and-Fly–Original—Mono-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

Stage 3 : The Take

The “Take” (Image 3) is the moment the fish has made the commitment to take the fly in its mouth. At this point there is no going back for the fish until it reaches depth. As you will see in the images of this Journal, once the fish has taken the fly, it really can’t eject it before it descends back to the safety of somewhat deeper water.

These few moments are also do or die for the Fly Fisherman. If the Fisherman strikes to early or too late, or the fish inadvertently opens it mouth at any moment after taking the fly when the fisherman attempts to strike, the Fly can be pulled from the fishes mouth without the hook making contact and end up in the Fly Fisherman’s lap.

This is obviously good news for the fish and is an event that occurs all to regularly for the inexperienced fly fisherman much to their frustration !!!

Image 5a : The “Take” – Monochrome – ORF Edit – A6 Crop

Image 5c : The “Sip” – Monochrome – ORF Edit – A6 Crop

Image 5b : The “Take” – Colour ORF Edit – A6 Crop

Image 5d : The “Sip” – Colour ORF Edit – A6 Crop

Instead of an aggressive strike on the fly, the fish may gently sip the insect from the waters surface as is shown in Images 5c and 5d The “SIP”.

If you listen carefully sometimes an audible slurping noise can be heard when this occurs, but there is usually very little disturbance of the waters surface.

These “Takes” can be very hard to spot especially in slightly breezy conditions with some wave action or chop on the water.

The Take – Series

The images below are a frame by frame series of Takes and the moments following. On most occasions when the fish is confident in its find, it will snap its mouth hard down on the insect at the surface, turn and then swim down.

Throughout this period the fish has its mouth firmly shut. It is at this moment that if the fish has confidently taken the artificial fly that the Fly Fisherman must make his strike to set the hook firmly in the fishes mouth.

Image 6a : Strike-1a—Monochrome-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

Image 6d : Strike-1a—Colour-ORF-Edit-Vib0Sat0-A6-Crop

Image 6b : Strike-1b—Mono-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

Image 6e : Strike-1b—Colour-ORF-Edit-Vib0Sat0-A6-Crop

Image 6c : Strike-1c—Mono-ORF-Edit-A6-Cropjpg

Image 6f : Strike-1c—Colour-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

As you can see in the series of images above, the fish has made little disturbance of the waters surface. This is in stark contrast to the series below where the takes have been much more aggressive.

Image 7a : Crunch—Mono-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

Image 7b : Crunch2—Mono-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

Image 7c : Crunch3—Mono-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

The images below including “A Ferocious Attack”  show very confident strikes, with water bubbling at the surface as the fish savages the floating object.

Image 8a : Dorsal-View-Series-3–Mono-ORF-Edit

Image 8c : Grasshopper-Strike–Mono-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

Image 8c : Ferocious-Attack—Mono-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

This type of behaviour is relatively common when Mudeye (Larval Dragonfly) and Grasshopper patterned flies are used.

Image 8d : Grasshopper-Strike-2–Mono-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

Inspection – Rise – Take – Retreat Series

The following images represent frame by frame the Take process – from Inspection through to Descent.

Image 8e

Image 8i

Image 8m

Image 8f

Image 8j

Image 8n

Image 8g

Image 8k

Image 8o

Image 8h

Image 8l

 Image 9a : Dorsal-View-Series-2–Mono-ORF-Edit – A6 Crop

 Image 9b : Descent—Mono-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop

Stage 4 : Descent

After “Taking” the fly, the fish usually retreats to deeper water where it can devour it’s meal in relative peace.

This “Retreat to Safety” in the initial moments after the “Take” make for some of the most exciting images when photographing fish.

 Image 9c : Dorsal-View-Series–Mono-ORF-Edit

 Image 9d : Trout-and-Fly–Original—Mono-ORF-Edit2-Cross-Colour-A6-Crop

 Image 9e : The-Dive—Monotone—Original-ORF-Edit-A6-Crop2-WTS

 Image 9f : The-Dive—Monotone—Original-ORF-Edit—A6-Crop2

The patterns left at the waters surface and the optical distortions that occur through the rippling effect of the water can be quite stunning as shown in Images 9e and 9f, The “Dive”.

 Image 10a : The “Refusal” – Monochrome ORF Edit – A6 Crop

 Image 10b : The “Refusal” – Colour ORF Edit – A6 Crop

 Image 10c : The “Swirl” – Mono ORF Edit

 Image 10d : The “Swirl” – Colour ORF Edit A6 Crop

The “Refusal”

There is another common event that occurs with fish that have had some adverse experience with artificial fly’s. That is they have either been hooked, and have got away or they have been caught by the fisherman and then released (Catch and Release Fisheries are prone to this event).

These fish are what are termed “Fly Shy” and are usually very difficult to catch.

Instead of the fish making the comittment to take the fly in it’s mouth, it decides to check for anomalies (probably the fishing line) by swimming, or swirling around the fly, without ever making contact with it.

Another approach is to nudge the fly with the tip of their snout, possibly gauging the physical nature of the surface floating object.

In all these cases the fish appears to the fishermen to have taken the fly and usually a strike ensures to no avail.

Technically this behaviour is termed a The “Refusal” or a false strike.

The “Refusal” shown in Images 10a and 10b, has occurred well before the fish even reached the fly. In this case it has rejected a real insect floating on the waters surface.


The Refusal Series :

The Series of 8 monochrome images below is the full sequence of the this refusal process shown frame by frame as it happened in front of the camera.

 Image 11a

 Image 11e

 Image 11b

 Image 11f

 Image 11c

 Image 11g

 Image 11d

 Image 11h

Colour Curve Experiments – Photoshop Elements 12

 Image 12a : “Cruising the Beat” – Original Mono ORF Edit A6 Crop

 Image 12b : “Cruising the Beat” – Original Mono ORF Edit A6 Crop – Colour Curve Adjustment – Photoshop Elements 12

 Image 12c: New PSE ORF Edit – Without JPEG Colour  Curve Correction in Photoshop Elements 12.

 Australian Alps – Wild Trout Series – Type Edits and Submission Selection

 Image Set 13 : These images have had some additional editing to their Type setting. In most cases the Black text has been replaced with an off White / Grey type.

Copyright Issues :

Having looked into copyright issues in the past concerning ownership of images when photographing in places such as National Parks and Privately run Zoo’s, such as the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra (which features in my website portfolios), I found this process isn’t as straight forward as it is made out to be through some online information sites.

I also realised early on in the development of the Platypus Paparazzi Photography website that copyright can also be a very difficult process to enforce.

I found this article by Sarah Ann Loreth from the Course Contents pages very useful.

I certainly hadn’t heard of Google Reverse Image searches and can see the value in this service to commercial photographers. Another privately run reverse image search engine Tin Eye looks useful as well, but I believe there may be a cost associated with this service.

 Australian Alps – Wild Trout Series – Final Submission

Project 2 – Images for a Social World – Photographic Submission – Australian Alps – Wild Trout Series

The theme of this project is to represent the feeding behaviour of wild brown trout relevant to the art of Dry Fly Fishing. This series of monochrome images depicts wild brown trout (Salmo trutta) in various feeding scenarios well known to experienced fly fishermen, but which may be unfamiliar to novice and in-experienced fly fishers.

My hope is that this series might prove a valuable teaching aid for fly fishing instructors, fisheries biologists, and be of general interest to anyone who loves fishing or is just fascinated with our amazing aquatic fauna (despite the fact trout are an introduced species).

The images have been chosen based on how closely they represent important aspects of general trout feeding behaviour relevant to fly casting, on the clarity and composition of the original stock images and how well they fit within an A6 Postcard format.

Many of the images taken throughout the shoot were subpar due to poor lighting conditions, angle of the sun (given the available shooting positions on the steep bank of the river), glare, too high ISO, inadequate shutter speed, etc.

The current image selection is a very good representation of the theme and easily shows the stages of trout rising and taking insects from the surface without any real need for additional narrative.

The photos have been processed in monochrome as the colour images in my opinion weren’t bright enough. They were also a little lacklustre in contrast and dynamic range. The monochromes with their enhanced contrast have preserved the dynamic feel of the series confluent with the real life scenarios that played out in front of the lens.

Having completed project 1 I was far more aware of confomity with the Rule of Thirds and have maintained crops of these images as closely as possible within this compositional framework. Many of the images also have reasonable diagonal processing and utilise space to lead the viewer towards the fishes trajectory. The dynamic contrast of the water and swirls at the waters surface also look amazing in this monochrome format more so than the colour and adds to the excitement within some of these images.

I felt most of the images are reasonably well balanced horizontally and vertically, with shadows and highlights complimenting each other without either dominating the scene. Perhaps the image with the least contrast and dynamic range is “Rising Awareness”. Unfortunately this is such an important image to this series (as the ripple ring that the fish creates at this point in this image is very typical of the “rise” that is commonly referred to in fly fishing circles) that it was impossible to leave it out.

Overall I feel the images are reasonably well composed with enough contrast and dynamic range to be included in the final 10 for submission for this assessment of Project 2 – Images for a Social World – even if fish don’t appeal to everyone !!!

These images or similar images (older edits) have been uploaded to the following Social Media Platforms :

Facebook : Platypus Paparazzi Photography – Public Profle :

Instagram : Platypus Paparazzi Photography – Public Profle :

Pinterest : Platypus Paparazzi Photography – Public Profle :

Platypus Paparazzi Photography Wordresss Public Website :

I have looked into Tumblr and Blogger but felt these site were inappropriate for this content. 500 Pixels looks interesting from a commercial perspective, but given my experience with stock photography sites of this nature in the past (eg. SMUGMUG, I STOCK PHOTO, SHUTTERSTOCK) I’m not really convinced they are worth the effort unless you’re a seriously professional or very skilled photographer.

Thanks very much for viewing !!!

Bernie Della-Rodolfa
Platypus Paparazzi Photography