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How to 'capture the moment'
Each month, photography royalty, Oli Davies, will look at a particular area and explain how you can achieve a similar looking photo album to his.

We all take a camera fishing with us to record our catches and for the most part that is all it gets used for. Some of us break it out of the bag to capture a particularly beautiful sunset or a picture of the rods in the swim. However, some of the most powerful shots are the candid ones, the ones that document the action as it happens, freezing an interesting scene, the bits ‘in between’ or a moment shared between friends.

This type of photography is more akin to street photography where there is no ‘posing’ as such. It is often a case of taking a photo more instinctively rather than waiting for all the participants to be ready and smiling.

With digital cameras there is no excuse not to take lots of pictures either. The chances are if you keep snapping away you will end up with something interesting and unexpected.

To be able to capture these moments you have to be ready with the camera. Having it out and on standby will increase the likelihood of it being used dramatically! As well as this it helps being able to react quickly to the situation, composing and taking the picture rather than merely spectating. Anticipation is also a big factor in being ready to fire off a shot at the critical moment. Seeing when something is happening, or might be about to happen beforehand is a massive advantage. This is where it also helps to know your way round your own camera. Understanding how to adjust the settings quickly means you are more likely to be ready.

Taking in the moment

Settings: 50mm, 1/320, f10, ISO50

“This was what we had come for. Special moments like this. Remy takes a second to digest what he has just caught. In the clean, bright Provencal light this moment has more emotion than any trophy shot. A high f-stop brings the background into focus and gives the photo context.”

Into the sunset

Settings: 24mm, 1/125, f7.1, ISO250

“Horton head bailiff Del Smith plays an upper 30 common in and out of thick weed. These are the final throes of what was a tense battle played out in front of a big audience, touch and go as to whether he would be able to extract it safely. The golden light of the setting sun and unusual area gives this picture an extra dimension.”

Urban dog walker

Settings: 35mm, 1/125, f6.3, ISO320

“A couple of dog walkers could be a nuisance when you are taking trophy shots, but instead they become part of the inner city scene that puts the fish and capture in context. Including the surroundings makes it more interesting and tells a story.”

Photo bomb

Settings: 100mm, 1/60, f4, ISO320

“Nick’s dog, Bob, obviously wasn’t impressed by the mid 30 mirror on the mat, and thinking quickly I managed to recompose and grab a snap as he bombed the photo quite literally! Light is provided by three flashes, two off camera and some car headlights.”

Powering off

Settings: 50mm, 1/400, f2.5, ISO640

“The moment when the fish powers off can be spectacular and it pays to keep shooting after the trophy shots are done. Occasionally you end up with a special little moment captured and frozen.”

Ready and waiting

Settings: 100mm, 1/250, f14, ISO640

“With fish jumping repeatedly over me I set the camera up on the tripod, composed the shot and waited with my finger on the button. I got a few and missed a few. As I wasn’t entirely sure exactly where the fish would breach I opted for a high f-stop to give me a margin for error with focus. I also wanted a fast shutter to freeze the action so the ISO is higher than normal on a bright day to compensate.”

Sharing the joy

Settings: 35mm, 1/250, f3.5, ISO50

“Alan shares a laugh with two elderly ladies who had stopped to enquire just what these two strange young men were doing in the middle of the river! I just kept snapping…”

How's ya luck

Settings: 85mm, 1/320, f2.8, ISO50

“This was an opportunist capture as I was photographing the swim from behind. A fish jumped so I quickly refocused on the area and pulled the trigger just as it breached a second time. I anticipated that it might just do it again and got lucky.”

Boat battle

Settings: 168mm, 1/160, f3.2, ISO50

“An epic battle on Kev’s Church Pool saw him and Alan take to the boat in an attempt to free a big fish from thick weed. I waited for the fish to surface before pressing the button, knowing it very likely would power off spectacularly.”

Mr Robin

Settings: 50mm, 1/80, f1.8, ISO50

“I had the camera in my hand when I looked up to see the robin on the rod. Raising it slowly I managed two shots before he hopped off. I wouldn’t have got a shot if I didn’t already have the camera ready.”

Oli Davies
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