Friday, February 28, 2014

Set up for photographing the finished fly (Part 6 of 6)

Part 6 of a 6 part series

My friend Eric emailed me last week to let me know he was getting set for a fly fishing trip to Alaska and wanted to photograph his flies.  I thought I'd link him  to the tutorials I'd written here, but then realized I had stopped at part 5 of 6.

So... I have just finished Part 6 of 6.

[To read the first five parts of this series, click on "fly tying photography" in the list of keywords in the left side margin... or, you can use this link:

Below, as an alternative to photographing a finished fly in the vise, I show two other techniques for holding the fly in place.  I like the E-Z Hackle Pliers (about $3 at Cabelas) because the fly can be held just a few inches above a flat surface making it easier to bounce light up and under the fly.

So, here is what I did to prepare the fly

1) Place a big piece of white poster board on my desk
2) Place the fly in the E-Z pliers and stand it up
3) Find something to use as a background.  Here I have used a green folder.
4) Angle two desk lamps so that they aim toward the fly but are also aimed down to bounce light off the white poster board
5) Find a book thick enough on which to place the camera (or use a desk top tripod)

Here's how I to set up the camera assuming you have no manual controls for F-stop or shutter speed.

1) Set custom white balance.  You usually need a white piece of paper to aim the camera at.  The white poster board does the trick!
2) Set the camera to macro
3) Turn off the flash
4) Set the 10 second timer
5) Place the camera on the book
6) Half press the shutter to focus the camera
7) Press the shutter fully to activate the timer

Here's another idea.  I put the fly into a small Leatherman pocket tool.  It stands up nicely.  But in this case I did not use a book to support the camera, nor did I use a tripod.  Instead I braced my forearms against the front of the desk.  If you try this, don't forget to use the self-timer.  I used the 2 second timer.  This prevents the shake that comes from pressing the shutter button.

Use two hands. I'm holding with one hand here, because my right
hand is taking the picture using a second camera.
Note my forearm is resting on the edge of the desk.


Matt Brindle said...

Hello, Peter. I stumbled on your page while doing a search for some of Fred Bridge's patterns. I was a friend of Fred; he mentored me for the past 10 years. Fred's brother in law, Russ, actually taught me to tie flies when I was in Junior High in Derry, PA. Thank you for keeping a few of his patterns here.

Peter F. said...

You're welcome, Matt. Fred and I were good friends on the Internet, and I had a chance to fish with him on his local stream (can't remember now what the name was, but it's a famous one) one fall as I drove from MA to OH to drop off my daughter in College at the time... perhaps 12 years ago. He absolutely outfished me, using that IPW (infamous pink worm) and a big bobber....