how to photograph a fish
Thanks to social media we’ve seen this countless times: a very peculiar hero shot where the angler poses with a fish in their grip and their rod balanced perfectly behind their neck, across their shoulders. Wondering what this pose is called, I began my quest on the internet because that’s where all answers can be found. Or so I thought—after searching deep and wide for information I came up empty-handed (not unlike when I go fishing). Since neither Google nor Bing yielded any results I was forced to draw my own conclusions which, by virtue of this blog entry, will now be part of the internet for eternity (or at least until I cease paying my hosting fees). I hope that the next person looking for the same answers will find my work indispensable.
The following scenarios analyze the unlikely, slightly less unlikely and very likely scenarios that go into the production of the perfect rod behind the neck shot:
NIM-Rod Shot. With the Nailed it Myself rod shot the Angler does it all. To start, they’re fishing alone when they hook and land a trophy fish. While the fish rests cooperatively in the net the Angler dashes to their waiting camera gear. Having thought well ahead, their camera is already mounted on a tripod. The Angler merely moves the tripod into position, selects the self-timer mode and dashes back to the waiting fish. The clock is ticking as the Angler expertly places their rod behind their neck where it balances perfectly while they then bend down and reach into the net and quickly grab the not-thrashing, non-slippery and generally not-unwilling piscatorial participant with both hands. The Angler puts on a confident grin a split second before the camera’s shutter closes. Clearly such a heroic act of multitasking as this is unbelievable. There must be a more likely means to the end result…
BIG-Rod Shot. In the Buddy Is God rod shot the Angler lands a fish of a lifetime. Purely by coincidence their Buddy just happens to be in very close proximity and quickly grabs the Angler’s fly rod as the Angler struggles with the thrashing fish. There’s a lot of chaos; tension is thick in the riverside air as the Buddy quietly offers a suggestion, which is answered with “Shut the hell up—I got this!” The buddy steps back, waiting patiently for the fish to be controlled. Once that has been finally achieved the Buddy places the rod behind the neck of the Angler. The rod dips awkwardly to one side, nearly falling from its perch. The Angler tells the Buddy he’s a moron for doing it all wrong when in fact it was really the fault of the Angler for not having a properly balanced rod and reel. The Buddy calmly offers an apology, to which the über-jacked-up Angler replies, “Hurry the f— up!” Buddy remains cool and collected and takes up position with their always-present and at-the-ready camera, suggesting that the Angler smile. “Just take the damn picture!” lashes out the Angler. The Buddy smiles and finally snaps the photo. In this scenario the invaluable Buddy has gone well above and beyond what any reasonable buddy would do. While not entirely out of the realm of possibility, it remains highly unlikely that anybody has a buddy willing to endure this sort of treatment. A more reasonable explanation surely exists…
VIP-Rod Shot. The Village Idiot Poser rod shot is rather complex. After landing the fish, the Angler ceases having anything of value to add. They do nothing but remain where they’ve been instructed: likely seated or kneeling in the shallows, looking rather helpless as an entire crew jumps into action. Said Angler has officially become relegated to little more than a clueless simpleton merely waiting to pose for the photo. The Fish Manager, a gruff and humorless individual, steps in to take care of unhooking the fish while a neatly-manicured Rod Attendant places the rod behind the
Angler’s Poser’s neck and instructs the Poser not to move.The Rod Manager then steps back, keeping a keen eye trained on the fulcrum point to make sure the rod stays properly balanced. Once the rod appears secure, the Fish Manager expertly places the fish into the small hands and unsure grip of the Poser. As said Poser struggles to control the slippery, thrashing and unwilling participant, the Rod Attendant hovers attentively. After the final rod adjustments are made and the fish is adequately subdued, or vice versa, the Rod Attendant exits stage left as the Fish Manager steps outside the frame to the right. Then, and only then, can the Photographing Person do their work. It likely takes a few shots to get it just right and requires that a few micro-adjustments be made by the Rod Attendant and perhaps even an emergency maneuver on the part of the Fish Manager to reposition the fish. The end result is that the Poser comes off looking rather accomplished. It may sound excessive but there can be no other explanation than this—it takes a Village.
Next week, or maybe not, we’ll take a look at what goes on behind the scenes of another popular shot: The Rod And Dentures (RAD) Shot.
For an alternative means of achieving a good angler-with-fish shot, check out this post from Deneki Outdoors.