The Location: Louisiana with Captain Greg Dini
The Food: Do Visit Drago’s for dinner excellent fare. Grilled Oysters appetizer is their signature dish.
Do not go to Mulates New Orleans : The zydeco music was good but the food was crazy salty. I think this place was good once, but for whatever reason it has lost it’s ways.
The Accommodations: We stayed at the Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel New Orleans. Beautiful 4 star hotel. I got at deal on it using priceline and paid only $61 a night! It’s 3 blocks away from he French quarters and Bourbon street. I wouldn’t stay there if I had to pay full price but for $61 for a 4 star hotel was an awesome deal!
Interesting places we visited: Aquarium of the Americas , Very cool aquarium. Good place to kill some time when the weather isn’t so great for fishing.
The Boat: Inshore Power Boats
Apparel: Simms Fly Fishing, very durable and functional fishing apparel. I used it up in Alaska and it works great in L.A.
Camera Gears Used in this production: Nikon D300s DSLR and Canon Xh-a1s
I’ve decided to post a review of something that is not new, but old.
Years ago I went to Andy Thornal’s in Winter Haven (a wonderful outfitter and fly shop) and picked up a Titanium braid cutter from Fishpond since I was new to braid lines, tired of the nailclippers rusting and did not have any pliers that would cut it. For years that Pitchfork Clipper has hung around my neck by a small cord and has gone on most every trip with me. I called Fishpond and they informed me that the Titanium now was unavaible because it was cost prohibative at about $75 each. They sent me the other model made of aluminum which is the same design as mine.
The design is simple being a 1/2 inch aluminum tube about 3 inches long with stainless steel cutters that are replaceable (in all the years I have owned mine I have never had to replace them). I have used them to cut 80# flouro and 50# braid with never an issue. Another useful application is to use the holes in the cutter to put your hooks in to cinch down knots. Just a great tool, simple in design, well made construction and durable materials. The suggested retail price is $22.
Another clipper they sent to me is their Aussie Clipper. It is made of plastic and has a stainless steel cutter that I used to cut braid even though it was mentioned to only cut mono or flouro. Also secured to me by a cord around my neck or a zinger attached to me. One of the signs to me that a company is concerned with quality is “what is their least expensive product like?” The cost for this cutter is only $8.95 very lightweight, does what it is supposed to do and would be an excellent stocking stuffer.
I had a chance to pick up a 7wt Echo2 SW fly rod this past weekend. I was on a mission to search for a fast, powerful rod that will handle the rigors of saltwater fly fishing while not breaking the bank. TFO has a good chunk of that market with their TiCr and Axiom series rods, but there has to be a competitor out there that can hold its own as well. Afterall, competition is the heart of Capitalism (for those of you who still beleive in it). I needed a 7wt rod to fish for tailing bonefish and redfish in calmer conditions so I decided to try some less expensive rods so that I can make some recommendations to anglers who want to sample the sport of fly fishing without having to spend a lot of money. Performancewise, the Echo2 handled windy conditions without an issue. I found that the “D” tip, which stiffens up the rod, to be the perfect match on the 7wt under most saltwater conditions encountered. What impressed me the most about this rod was the line control and line feel. Something that most TFO rods I’ve fished in the past lacked was good line feel. The Echo2, however has one drawback as it is not the lightest rod on the market. For someone who chucks 12wt flyrods all day 3 to 4 months out of the year, this isn’t a big issue, though this 7wt could benefit by being slightly lighter to balance out well with smaller lighter fly reels. I had a Danielsson LW6/9 on my test rod and did not feel it was balanced. A Tibor Everglades or Nautilus CCF No.8 would balance this 7wt rod out better. The Airflo Ridge bonefish/redfish taper line (by far the best colored fly line I have ever fished) I fished on this rod was a perfect match though. The Echo2 SW retails for somewhere in the upper $200 range and can be found on www.rajeffsports.com. Unfortunately there are no dealers that I know of in South FL to sample cast these rods (which may change in the future) but if you want to sample the 7wt, feel free to contact me.
OK, I’ll admit it…I catch my fair share of catfish. Truth be told. I probably catch your share too. I’m also not too good with using most de-hookers. Since having had a barb cut my knuckle I have put away my shorter de-hookers.
That is why I was pleased when Norton Brass Rattle (makers of the Bullet Brass Rattler Spoon and the Fish Gripper previously reviewed here on SaltyShores) sent me their De-gouger. As soon as I saw it I noticed it was a good bit longer than many inshore dehookers on the market being 14 1/2 inches long (plenty long enough to keep my knuckles from a barb).
The action to unhook a fish was simple for me. I just held the line tight and pushed the forks around the hook While keeping pressure on the D-Gouger I made a quarter turn and the hook was free. It was also used holding the fish with the Fish Gripper and using the same action the hook was dislodged. The packaging said that it was for unhooking hooks 2/0 and larger but I had no issues unhooking a 1/0 circle hook also.
I did make a simple alteration on it though. I drilled a hole through the end of the nylon handle to be able to run a lanyard through to keep from losing it.
Another nice stocking stuffer. They are available at many local Tackle shops for $8.95 (if yours does not have it, ask for it) or you can order it from http://www.nortonbrassrattler.com/index.html
Chittum Skiff, photos and specifications by Jan:
With current economic trends to downsize and “do more with less”, cautious souls might be inclined to hunker down and wait ‘till things improve a bit before exploring new ventures. Not Hal Chittum, world-renowned guide and founder of Hells Bay Boats. Nope, Hal does a 360 from conventional wisdom and starts a new boat business with an ultra high-end skiff – the Islamorada 18 — that, according to Chittum, raises the bar for flats skiff manufacturing technology and on-water performance.
From the surface, the Islamorada 18 looks like a typical flats skiff: length 18’, beam 80”, and 12 degrees of deadrise at the transom. It’s when we looked under the surface that we began to realize something is drastically different about this boat.
For example, the dry weight of the complete hull is around 400-pounds. This isn’t an empty shell weight, this is every laminated component bonded to the hull. This includes the hull, deck, top cap, hatch covers and console. To obtain these numbers required a radical change in the typical process of building a skiff. Hal and George Sawley looked to racing sailboats and offshore powerboats for the technology to build their skiff.
To take the skiff from concept to mold Hal hired a team of naval architects from Vectorworks Marine. With their experience designing everything from luxury yachts to sophisticated Special Forces crafts, a flats skiff should be a no brainier. Yet with their design prowess, 5 axis mills and experience with advanced composites, Hal put them on task for months of trial and improvement. Every linear foot of the hull was sliced and modeled in the computer, greatly streamlining the plug/prototype/tooling process.
Most skiffs start life in the mold as a layer of gel coat, then layers of glass and core materials with vinylester or polyester resin wetting out the sandwich. Modeling their build from racing Unlike traditional pleasure boats that frequently use a variation of a vinylester/polyester mat/woven construction, the Islamorada 18’s layup schedule reads like a Who’s Who of high-tech composites: E-Glass, S-Glass, Kevlar, Carbon Fiber, Core Cell, S-Core, Airex, Nomex, pre-preg epoxy laminates that are vacuum-bagged to reduce excess resin before the hull spends the day in a low-temp oven to ensure an even cure.
Why use aerospace grade epoxy resin? According to George, a quality epoxy resin is stronger than vinylester by a factor of almost 5 to 1. The result is a much stronger skiff using less resin, resulting in a lighter stronger product. Epoxy is also nearly impervious to moisture absorption, an added plus for boats. However, working with epoxy resins requires highly skilled technicians thus costs much more. An added side benefit epoxy resins have lower VOC output than vinylesters, making it a greener build.
The boat is then sanded, faired, and shot with DuPont Imron for a memorable finish. The entire build process takes up to three times longer to complete. According to George, “Only about 10 builders in the US work with these materials and most of them build sailboats”.
After paint the skiff is moved to rigging and finishing. One interesting feature added during rigging is the fuel cell, a 30 gallon rubberized ballistic grade nylon fuel container with an open core foam insert to completely eliminate fuel from sloshing around. Easy to install and service, this fuel cell is lighter than a comparable aluminum gas tank.
With all the work, technology and pedigree, does it live up to all the hype? I got two separate opportunities to test the skiff. Both times were impressive. Ride quality is surprising superb, especially in a chop. Extraordinarily deep spray rails keep the occupants dry. More amazing is how such a light boat rides when the conditions go foul. Conventional wisdom says that heavier boats ride better. I have espoused this wisdom from time to time. A ride on this skiff requires rethought of said traditional wisdom. The combination of hull design and lightweight allows the boat to slice from crest to crest in a chop. What makes the skiff ride so well? I got a polite smile and “no comment” from George.
Performance with a Yamaha 60hp four stroke was good. Top end was recorded a few tenths of a MPH under 41. Recent testing with the new Honda 60HP four stroke recorded 43.5 MPH. Both tests were with two persons and 15 gallons of fuel. One unique test I performed was a time to plane at 3400 RPM. To do this test I trimmed the motor all the way down but retracted the trim tabs all the way up. From a dead stop to plane took less than six seconds with the motor never exceeding 3400 RPM.
The overall layout of the skiff is good. The center console with cooler was very comfortable for either standing or sitting operation. A nice plus is the toe kick area built into the console. LED lighting is standard along with quality helm controls. Mil-Spec aircraft switches, which are waterproof, sealed in epoxy with sealed breakers and rubber boots finish off the console. Storage space is open and usable. Six forward and two aft rod tubes per side allow for up to 16 rods total. Lastly, access the all pumps, electrical and other maintenance items is open and well thought out.
Running to the fishing grounds is one thing. Stalking them is another. Once I settled into my office on the poling platform, it was time to really put the skiff to the test. The skiff with a light load, two anglers and 15 gallons of fuel draws 8”, a respectable amount for a skiff with 12 degrees of dead rise. The boat poles and tracks very well for an 18’ skiff. Turning the skiff it rotates as close to center as any quality skiff. Hull slap is virtually non-existent. Even on the stern, which is one of the Achilles heels of many skiffs, Hal designed the skiff with a slight roundness to the transom to reduce the square on slap.
If stalking fish with fly rod in hand is not on the agenda for the day the skiff supports the live bait enthusiast with a 30 gallon live well. Adjustable valves allow the water height to be set for everything from shrimp and crabs to pilchards. Or in tournament mode it will keep your catch alive and kicking for the weigh in.
Is this the absolute perfect skiff? Not exactly. A flaw I noticed was the water line beam is significantly less than the top deck beam. This causes a bit of a cantilever when standing on the extreme edge of the skiff. While it’s I would not characterize it as “tippy”. I would say the stability is not as pronounced as other 18’ skiffs. There were also some aspects of the build like switch layout I would change if the boat were mine, but these alterations are simply part of the customizing process for each client’s tastes.
Hal and George set out to raise the bar for what defines a quality poling skiff. Have they succeeded? The Islamorada 18 is a very capable quality skiff with quality components and innovative features and well thought out amenities. Fit and finish is on par with highend yachts. From a build standpoint, they have certainly proven that there are possibilities untapped in the skiff market with epoxy resins. The bar has been raised.
phone: (386) 589-7224 or (954)224-1740
web site: chittumskiffs.com
SPECIFICATIONS AS SUPPLIED BY MANUFACTURER
* Weight: 400 Pounds Includes Hull, Deck, Cap, Hatches, Stringers and Console unrigged
* Draft: With Engine + Fuel: 6 Inches
* Length: 18 Feet Over All
* Chine Beam: 56 Inches
* Overall Beam 80 Inches
* Dead rise: At Transom 12 Degrees
* Maximum Horse Power: 90 / Less than 325 Pounds
* Fuel Capacity: 30 Gallons
* Bait Well Capacity: 30 Gallons
* All engines come with stainless steel prop, premium shifter and tachometer
* New Patent-Pending hull design with massive high volume built in spray rail, a staggered split chine below waterline for silent polling and radius transom. No sponsons.
* Custom Trailer- Stainless Steel and Aluminum with walk boards, 3 aluminum mag wheels with Good Year radial trailer tires and LCD lights.
* All surfaces painted with Dupont Imron Aircraft Paint, Choice of any standard Imron color.
* All Stainless Steel 316 grade + Electro Polished
* Center Console / Ice Chest / Seat Forward: with storage up to 4 – 12 volt batteries
* Over sized hatch gutters with rubber gaskets
* Sea Star Hydraulic Steering: High Speed 2.5 Lock to Lock / Flush mounted pump under console
* Stainless steel 13” yacht steering wheel with ball bearing suicide knob
* 2 – Large dry storage boxes out board and aft with easy access hatches from boat or trailer
* 1 – Anchor / Dry Storage / Trash Compartment, center aft.
* 1 – Large dry storage unit under forward deck
* All Hatches fitted with Gemlux Stainless steel flush mounted positive tension latches, Gemlux stainless steel hinges and stainless steel gas shocks
* High capacity rod racks under gunnels with 16 large diameter, flush fly rod tubes running forward and aft. With under gunnels and rod racks covered in water resistant carpet
* Fuel Cell: 30 Gallons rubberized ballistic nylon, forward of the forward bulkhead
* Bait Well / Release Well / Dry Storage: 30 gallons, plumed for three levels, custom thru hull pick up with Rule Pump
* Aluminum Polling Platform: Carbon fiber cored deck with Sea deck pad
* LCD Lights in all compartments lockers / hatches / console / bait wells / gunnels
* LCD Navigation lights: Billet aluminum shark eyes from Livorsi.
* Stiffy Push Poll Holders
* Racor Fuel Filter / water separator
* Mil-Spec Switches: water proof / sealed in epoxy / sealed breakers / rubber boots
* 1 – 12 volt Odyssey Battery
* Rule 1100 gph bilge pump
* All hatch undersides carbon fiber, clear-coated epoxy for straight and esthetics
* Lectrotab high speed trim tabs 12” X 12” / 316 Stainless Steel
* Seat cushions custom formed from 1 ½” Ensulite foam / UV protected vinyl with laminated in nylon
By: Dale Snead
I was very interested in the 7.5 inch Prolite-OS composite fishing pliers from Composite Reel Company
(www.compositereelco.com ) that were introduced at this year’s ICAST and was looking forward to reviewing them.
It was like Christmas morning for me when they came in the mail. The first thing that struck me was “They are light!” The weight? 4.5 ounces! They came with a holster and lanyard attached. All seemed to be of high quality and good workmanship. Even the threads on the holster were uniformed without any defects. The lanyard was attached (with the option to attach either side of the holster or pliers) to the holster and the pliers with heavy duty clips. It opened and closed well and in alignment. I don’t think you have to be concerned with the spring action being weak as they held good pressure.
Since the weather had not been cooperative as of late I was able to tie and retie knots and leaders. I exclusively used these pliers to do this. They cut through the mono and flouro (15lb – 80lb) like it was not there. Many offer that their products cut braid well. This one delivers. I cut braid from 6lb to 50lb without a second cut. I was getting carried away with the cutting and decided to get out my old king rigs. Without issue both the wire and cable were cut cleanly by the Tungsten carbide cutter(which can be replaced when they wear out). Did I mention they were light too?
When tying knots the Stainless steel tips (replacements also available) held onto the line securely (another person I was showing the pliers to could not get them to grip into 20lb braid as if he were tying a Bimini Twist – I guess I had “the touch” because I could not reproduce it, they worked for me).
My final bad weather application involved crimping the barbs, both a delicate and brute force application. Again, they performed well.
Finally the weather lifted and I was able to get out. Numerous fish were caught and the pliers were used to get the hooks out. Again, they performed flawlessly. No slippage. In addition I found the lanyard plenty long without being too long. I must admit, I had to look down a couple of times to be certain I was still wearing them. I mentioned they are light, didn’t I?
I have owned many pliers. Everything from the floating ones to metal from cheap ones to mid range ones. These pliers are the best of both worlds – extremely light (I wondered if the lanyard attached was needed to keep them from floating away into thin air) and like the metal ones durable enough to handle the abuse we put them through.
The list price is $149.95 but I can tell you I can put my hands on 6 other pliers ( total value over $150) I own that no longer go out because they just don’t do what they should – poor design, rusts even though I have cleaned them, lack of ability to cut braid, lack of power, ect… Furthermore I can not tell you the number that sit at the bottom of the ocean.
Time will tell as to how long they will last, as it does with most things in life, but these pliers are without a doubt the finest I have ever used. They are available online and a few other outlets including our own Indian Rocks Tackle in Indian Rocks, FL and, one of my favorites on the East Coast, The Back Country Tackle Shop in Vero Beach, FL. Not too late to see if Santa cann’t get some for your stocking.
The streets of Miami will be adorned with Christmas decor shortly. Halloween pumpkins are being made into pie. Grocery stores are having mega sales on Turkeys, bread, gravy, and potatoes. Then all about, there are talks of the great deals that are to be had on Black Friday. We are headed towards another Thanksgiving. In a few days, we will be as stuffed as the turkeys we put in the oven as we waddle our way onto our skiffs for another day of fishing. There is certainly a lot to be thankful for, but that list will be left for another day.
As some of you may have noticed already; I am a fly gear junkie. I can go on for hours on end discussing different flies and the gear we chuck them with. Maybe it’s the engineer in me that keeps wanting to improve upon what is already good. Whatever it is… unless you have lots of time to spare, don’t get me started on conversations of such nature.
It was real cool having innovative fly tier Peter Smith (www.ssflies.com) and film maker Dave Teper (www.worldangling) down for a day of testing flies on bonefish of all sizes this past week. While throwing an old standard at some smaller more erratic moving bonefish, we found it tough to put the fly anywhere close to them or figure out which direction they would shoot at next. The situation called for a fly that we could throw close without spooking these weary fish, but something they could see, that would catch their fancy and entice an aggressive bite. Enter the IP Bone. After a few failed shots with the old standard, we switched to the SSFlies creation and were able to put this fly extremely close to these crack driven schoolie bones only rewarded by watching the entire school pile drive on top of each other to eat this fly. This same reaction went on every time the fly was presented. The quiet entry and fast sink rate made for a perfect presentation in this scenario. We accomplished what we had set out to do at the end of the day and I learned a few new tricks in tying flies.
Moving from the clear waters of the Florida Keys, over to the darker waters of Chokoloskee, I met up with Capt. Bill Faulkner (www.gulfcoastguidingservices.com) to test out the new style hull Hells Bay 16 Whipray as well as try feed a few reds and snook a few new fly patterns I had been working on. We fished redfish with their entire backs sticking out of the water, snook laid up in water almost too shallow, and big tarpon floating around. Fishing was pretty good to say the least as we stuck a couple of redfish, over a dozen snook, and a big 100lb tarpon. The fishing was only bested by both great company and the serenity that the deep Everglades has to offer.
I was very impressed with the Whip to say the least. This little skiff was nimble, rides pretty dry, fairly soft, and poled with ease. It definitely drafts slightly more then the older style Whipray hull, but there would be no scenerio I’d encounter while bonefishing that the new hull’s draft couldn’t handle. Though not your most versatile Key’s skiff (especially not during Tarpon Season nor long range in open water), it is the ultimate bonefish/redfish poling skiff.
There is more to come next week… stay tuned…
I received a Norton Brass Rattler after the ICAST show that was held in Orlando recently and finally found the time to test it out the other night. To tell the truth, I was a bit skeptical. Not anymore, over 100 inches of Redfish, Snook and Trout will change your mind real quick.
Conditions: Afternoon, mid 80’s. Water temp, mid 70’s. Lite winds. Incoming tide.
Equipment: Quantum Boca 7’6” BCIS 76IM medium action rod.
Quantum Catalyst PT20 Inshore Reel, 10 lb Power Pro, 25 lb Seagar Florocarbon leader
Lure: Norton Brass Rattler, 2 ¼” 7/16 oz Pearl and Gold Flake.
“Norton Brass Rattler spoons are made to cast like a bullet. The rattle chamber is made from real pistol brass. The 5/8″ is from 38 cal., and the 7/16″ is from 32 cal. Both transmit loud clicking sound waves similar to frightened shrimp, crabs and crawfish combined with the bait fish rainbow finish provoke savage attacks from redfish, specks, bass, and other game fish. The unique long life weed guard on the weedless models is made from nylon-coated stainless steel cable.”
The first thing you notice about this unique lure is the rattle. Made from an empty bullet shell, it makes a dull clicking sound when worked properly. The other thing I really thought was different was the weed guard. Made from coated stainless steel cable is completely flexible and can be rigged on or off the hook. After a full afternoon of use, it did get a little mis-shaped, but it is easily adjusted back to its original form. Given regular use, I would use a slightly stiffer rod, as the heavier weight of the lure was a little bit too much for my medium action rod. Like the website says, it casts like a bullet. I found that you could really cast this lure a long way, even into a slight breeze. The retrieve was much quicker than other spoons in order to obtain that back and forth wobble action that is desired in spoon lures. The hook set was really easy, and I found the hook stayed extremely sharp, even after numerous redfish. The actual spoon part is made from a hard plastic which held up really well. Some of the gold flakes wore off, but overall the finish held up great. I also like the contrasting red on the inside of the lure.
Overall, I was impressed with this lure. Like I said, I didn’t have high expectations at first. But after using this unique lure, I would highly recommend it to anyone.
ISO, Ev, and White Balance Oh My!!
Making an overall good exposure (Part One)
By: Adrian Correa
My good friend and HardCore Kayak Angler Club Pres. LimeCider received an email about explaining the 3 major functions (ISO, Ev, and WB) and how or when to apply them when taking photos. I will explain these functions in laymen terms as I learned it through my experiences. You can read much information on various sites about ISO, Ev, and WB, but the explanations seem to lose many, especially myself. I don’t need to learn why the earth revolves around the sun, unless I need to. My motto is “keep it basic.”
ISO, what is this? Little did I know, I had to do quite a bit of research when I switched from a point and shoot to DSLR. Sure point and shoot cameras have ISO settings, but for 99% of users the camera does all the work. That is why it is called point and shoot. For DSLR’s, the ISO function aides in photo exposure, that’s it. No need to go nuts on definition. It will make your photo look crisp or it will make your photo look “grainy” or have a lot of “Noise”, especially when you crop your photo and I’ll explain why. There is a range that cameras have for ISO settings. It is numerical generally ranging from 100 to 6400 on low to mid-ranged priced cameras. On high-end cameras the ISO setting can go above 24,000 WOW! I’ll tell you why this is impressive. On bright sunny days you can take a photo of a flower, for example, at ISO100 and have an overall good shot. Now set your ISO to your highest setting and take the same photo. You will notice some “noise” in the photo. If you crop both photos in Photoshop at the same percent and compare the two, you will see a remarkable difference.
ISO 200 crop 95% ISO 6400 crop 95%
Using High ISO levels come into play when you are shooting in indoor lighting situations, especially when the ceiling is high. You’ll end up with under exposed photos if you shoot at a low ISO. Now days, Nikon, Sony, Canon, etc. have given there cameras high ISO settings for low light situations. I have seen photos come out clear at ISO settings of 24,000.
Another setting I need to add is shutter speed. You will find that when you increase your ISO that your shutter speeds will increase. If you find that you are not “freezing” your frame fast enough during an action shot, you can increase your ISO which is going to aide in getting that action shot of that jumping tarpon or flying heron. Hope this is not confusing. Play with the ISO and notice your shutter speed how it will increase. If you have a DSLR and put it on auto, it will do the thinking for you, but this is not why you switched from point and shoot. If you are outdoors and are just shooting non fast moving subjects, keep your ISO level around 200 or so, even on a cloudy day you will be fine. Now if you tend to shoot indoors and can not use fill flash, then you will find that increasing your ISO will aide in getting a good exposed shots, but this can be tricky. Just another function to play with.
One thing I will say for those that use point and shoot cameras is that in doing some research, I found that the Pentax Optio w60 which many of you use has an impressive ISO sensitivity range up to 6400.
ISO, Ev, and White Balance Oh My!!
Making an overall good exposure (Part two)
By: Adrian Correa
In part one of my three part write up, I wrote about ISO and its functionality in photography. It is a major aide in how much “noise” your photo will produce.
Now let’s talk exposure compensation or Ev. You will notice this as a (+/-) function. This function as I learned it will help you to adjust the exposure measured by its light meter. Usually, the range of adjustment goes from +2 to -2 EV in 1/3 steps, but for some DSLR’s it can be higher as with my Nikon I can go as high as +5 or as low as -5. It is really not that complicated. I find that when the sun is at its highest and brightest, I tend to lower my exposure (Ev) to the negative side. If I take a photo of someone holding a redfish or a snook, I tend to drop my Ev to -0.3 or -0.7. This will drop the amount of light that will tend to “blow-out” the harsh whiteness from the glare of the sun off the fish, water, angler, boat, etc. Here is an example:
Here you see HCKAC member Thahn (DurkaDurka) holding a redfish. This 1st shot was taking when the sun was at its highest and brightest. No cloud cover. You see how the whites of the fish are “blown-out.” You can also see how the sun glares off the water and off of the anglers face (arrows).
Now here is the same photo taken with my Ev compensation set to -0.7. Why did I choose this? You may ask. It is only through trial and error. I chose what looked best. In this exposure you can see how the whites of the redfish look more natural and you see more detail of the scales. Not “blown-out.” You see the glare off the water is much less and off of the anglers’ face.
On a recent outing with HCKAC member JoseC, we were fishing on an overcast day. I knew then I had to increase my ISO level to about 560 to get the proper exposure and a fast enough shutter speed for the action. This comes with practice. When you take enough photos, your decisions become more natural as to how you want to set your camera for a shot. Now that I have my ISO set, I took a photo and due to the overcast skies I increased my Ev (exposure comp) to +1.0. This increased the amount of light I needed for the action shots and Jose holding the fish. Take a look:
Like I say, the settings on your camera are there for you to use, not just decorations; use them. Practice using the settings on different days. Just because the weather looks bad doesn’t mean you can take a good photo. It just means you have to compensate to make the photo look great. Any questions please email me at ITEphotos@aol.com
ISO, Ev, and White Balance Oh My!!
Making an overall good exposure (Part three)
By: Adrian Correa
In part one and two, I wrote about the significance of using ISO and exposure compensation. No let us add White balance or WB as many may see this setting on the camera.
White Balance (WB) emits different colors of light, it’s important for the digital camera to adjust its color scheme to match what we physically see, which can interpret all white objects as white, no matter what color of light they’re reflecting. Think of white balance as the base line for creating colors using a digital camera.
Digital cameras can automatically determine the proper white balance settings by finding a white object in the scene and measuring all other colors from it. Manual white balance allows the photographer to choose a white object in the scene, and the camera then adjusts other colors from that object. With preset white balance, the user can tell the camera the type of lighting conditions that the photograph will experience, such as fluorescent or sunlight, and the camera bases its white balance settings on the expected lighting conditions.
Personally, since I do not do much of indoor photography I let my camera do the thinking and just leave the WB on auto mode. If you do take many photos indoors you may want to manually set your WB. The most common settings to use for indoor would be the “Fluorescent,” “Tungsten,” and the “House” modes. Each of these you can use to compensate for coolness or warmth of photo.
“Coolness” is a term many photographers use to describe the image being too blue. The opposite would be when your image is too orange or red it would be called “Warm.” Your WB will help correct these images to look more natural, especially anyone or any subject wearing white or is white in color.
Not really that difficult of a setting once you play with it. If you want to practice with WB, try taking a photo of the inside of your refrigerator. This is a great subject to test since it is white on the inside and you have multiple products that are of different colors. First take a photo on Auto WB, than start to change your WB setting and you WILL notice a difference..
Make your photo stand out!
A few basic Photoshop tips
Now that you have taken a photo, let’s discuss the basics of making that particular shot “stand out.” I have seen many pictures that look great composition wise (positioning, lighting, subject, etc), but lacks contrast, lacks good color, and/or improperly exposed (too dark, too light). The photo turns out “flat” as we say in photography terms. Even those of us that shoot with DSLR’s can have this issue. This is why using photo editing programs is a great tool to have if you are one that takes pictures quite often. If you plan on doing it professionally you better get very familiar with a good editing program too.
One thing I may add is read you camera’s manual. I know many of us just go straight into using a new product and finding it difficult to use when all we had to do was read the painful manual. Well your camera has many functions, especially DSLR’s. Their are slight tweaks that you can do on the “In-camera” settings like increase saturation (intensity of color), sharpness, contrast, etc. to help improve your overall shot. But for the most part, if you don’t like how the photo turned out this is when you do some post processing in the photo editing program.
Let’s talk contrast. Contrast is the difference in visual properties that makes an object (or its representation in an image) distinguishable from other objects and the background. In laymen terms the difference in brightness between the light and dark areas of a picture. When you post edit your photo in Photoshop (as an example) their is an option to adjust the brightness / contrast. Think of these adjustments as a light switch. They are their for a reason, and that’s to dramatically improve your shot. When I say “dramatically” I mean how far you would like to manipulate your photo. One thing you will learn in photography is that every person’s “eye” is different. We all see things in our own perspective, so what one person says about your shot will not be the same as the next and so on. Do what you like! Here are a before and after of a few photos that I can use as examples:
here is a photo straight from the camera. As you can see it is “Flat.” It lacks luster.
You see how the lighting in the background and foreground stand out “pop” that much more. Big difference don’t you think!?
Here is another example:
Now with added contrast:
Ok now onto saturation. Saturation changes the intensity of a color. This adjustment allows you to control the strength of color of the final image. When you see photos in the magazines of the crystal clear blue waters around islands; that does have some saturation added to it. Sure there is crystal clear water, but with added saturation it makes that image “pop” and that’s what we want to achieve. Again in a photo editing program like Photoshop you will see an option saying saturation. It may also be tied into “Hue” option as well, but saturation is the most basic editing you can do. Here are examples taken from the photos above:
This one already has the contrast added
But now let’s adjust the saturation just a tad bit more to make it stand out
You can see how the water is more of a deep blue and the redfish stands out a bit more.
Now let’s try it with the kayak photo:
Contrast already added
Now let’s tweak the saturation
Big Difference and it stands out!
When you are done with these edits, the final adjustment that should be done is to add some sharpness. This will aide in making your shot “crisp” as many say. Don’t add too much, just a slight adjustment will do.
These are the basics to help you achieve that “eye” catching photo. Make someone say “ohhh” or “ahh.” Just like using your camera, you have to practice a lot with the editing program. Many get overwhelmed at the sight of looking at all the options that a program offers, but if you are not doing it professionally, I say keep it simple!