Compact Capers (words and images by Dale Baxter)

I am extremely excited to be able to contribute to I think it’s a valuable website to get up to date ideas and information on gear, tactics, techniques and set-ups. Not only do they get their hands on all the latest goodies before they are released but they also get insight from some of the best anglers in the country.

Late last year I purchased my 1st Hobie kayak, an ex GF Pro Angler and was excited by the idea of being able to be in control of where I wanted to fish in both social and tournament scenarios. Socially it has given me access to previously inaccessible water by foot and in tournaments no more standing at the back of the boat.

I have always loved taking plenty of photo’s when I go fishing and I usually use my Nikon DLSR. What I have found over the time is that I am getting more into situations where taking it with me was no longer an option, that’s if I didn’t want to wreck it. I have used dry bags in the past but found myself using it less and less because it wasn’t convenient and took too much time to get out and shoot.

This lead to me buying a compact camera and I thought why not go down the waterproof path to make sure dropping it or getting waves over the kayak wasn’t an issue. This also gave me the new opportunity of taking underwater release shots and gives me another option when creating a trip report.

The problem with using compact camera’s though is the limited settings and some times slow exposure especially in auto mode. I found myself always adjusting these to get a better exposure or a different style of photo. Sometimes though it worked in my favor creating a shot that I didn’t quite expect but rather liked the result of, as it was different.

So I have tried to make the most out of my compact camera’s, I usually have 3 of them when I fish.

  1. Olympus Utough 6010- This I use for a majority of my photo’s whilst on the yak, and is great for getting some release shots.
  2. GoPro Hero 2 I generally use this for video but occasionally it come in handy for a more fisheye effect of shot
  3. iPhone 4 – I use my iPhone fairly often when I want to post a picture to facebook whilst I am still on the water.

With all of these or any type of compact camera, there are a couple of keys things I think about when taking a photo, these are basic, take little time and will give you much better result if you enjoy taking pictures.

  1. Settings don’t be afraid to use a manual mode on your camera and play around with the settings so you can get a better photo. Adjusting things like shutter speeds, aperture settings and exposure compensation will make your compact more like a DSLR.
  2. Fill Flash, you can always make a compact use a fill flash, this really helps when you are shooting into the sun, it will fill the foreground of the picture and give you a more balanced exposure.
  3. Macro mode, use this to a couple of effects, obviously the macro one for very close up shots and it can help you get a depth of field which will keep the fish in focus but the person out.
  4. Self-Timer, use to get a better picture of you holding the fish rather than on the deck creating a point of difference.
  5. Probably the most important with any photography is around framing! Make sure you think about how the picture will look, don’t just point and shoot, set up the shot, if you have a sponsor make sure their logo is in the back ground. Take things on diagonals for looking a little different. Don’t shoot a horizon ½ and ½ think of a picture in 1/3’s.

I have been very happy with the results I get from my compact and find it hard to justify brining along my DSLR. The compact is always with me whenever I go fishing, you just never know what you will see when you are out, great sunrise or sunset, a horse of fish capture your mates PB.

Don’t be afraid to explore what your compact camera can do, that’s the joy of digital photo’s you can just delete the ones that are no good. It’s not like you are wasting film but taking plenty of shots will certainly improve the way you capture things.

So next time your out on the water, don’t forget to explore the boundaries of your compact camera, and create some images people love.

Happy snapping………….

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