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Oli Davies' top 10 pictures
How to get 'that shot'

Choosing just 10 pictures is incredibly difficult – and rating them is even harder as pictures are memories and all memories are all important. So here are some of my favourites, in order as much for what they represent as for the moment they capture and the picture itself… I hope you enjoy them!

10. Winter scaly

Settings: 50mm, F2.8, 1/125, ISO125

An intimate moment with a lovely old park lake carp for Alf. For me this is as ‘carpy’ as it gets. I was fishing for these same carp 20 years ago so it’s special to see them still going strong, and a pleasure to photograph them for someone who appreciates them for what they are, not what they weigh.

9. Abstract dew

Settings: 100mm, F5, 1/320, ISO50

Sometimes you go out with a shot in mind but get back something far better than you could have imagined. By contrast, the shot I had actually imagined just didn’t work like I hoped. If nothing else it reminds me to always keep an open mind…

8. Urban Manx

Settings: 24mm, F7.1, 2.5sec, ISO320

Sometimes the venue is so spectacular the photos almost take themselves and Salford Quays is one of those places that comes alive after dark. I took hundreds of pics that night but this view of Media City is perhaps the most iconic urban fishing picture I have snapped.

7. Romeo done

Settings: 35mm, F2.2, 0.25sec, ISO640

An exhausted Alan, and a backdrop to die for, I took plenty of wide scenics but this intimate and slightly different shot is my favourite from the set. Sometimes just tipping a nod and leaving the rest to the imagination is enough…

6. Strike!

Settings: 85mm, F10, 1/1000, ISO640

In order to ensure plenty of DOF without having to slow the shutter too much I have used a high ISO. Then it was just a question of sitting with the shot framed and waiting for the moment. It took about 30 minutes of intense concentration to ensure I didn’t miss my tiny window of opportunity as Mikey struck. Effort equals reward both in fishing and photography!

5. Parisian scoop

Settings: 85mm, F1.7, 1/4000, ISO50

In contrast to the settings of my previous selection I chose a razor thin DOF to really pick Alan out from the background as he took to the water to do battle with a big, angry mirror. The margin for error is very fine at F1.7 but thankfully the camera’s AF didn’t fail me on this occasion and the shot is timed perfectly. Phew!

4. Swan rain

Settings: 190mm, F4, 1/2000, ISO100

When a pair of swans and a cygnet started preening themselves with the sun low behind them I reached for the camera sensing that there may be an opportunity of a special shot. Using as high a shutter speed as I could captured the water droplets and perfectly froze the backlit wings.

3. Daddy's girl

Settings: 85mm, F2, 1/1250, ISO50

You might have seen a couple of other pics from this set but this is my favourite. Shooting directly into the sun can be risky and normally in order to correctly expose the background of such a scene the foreground would be badly underexposed, but by using a reflector to bounce the light back and pushing the settings in post I managed to capture some special images.

2. The future is on our hands

Settings: 50mm, F5.6, 1/640, ISO320

This is up there as much for what it represents, and the individuality of the fish more than any technical aspect of the picture. It is a fish collected from Horton’s Boat Pool as spawn and brought on by Head Honcho Del Smith. When stocked back in the lake it will be a proper ‘original’, and along with its brothers and sisters provide a legacy for the future.

1. Brothers in arms

Settings: 50mm, F3.2, 1/1600, ISO100

One of my best mates, and the person who actually started me fishing John and his little brother Rob, who I have also known since we were kids, with an epic brace. Capturing special moments with good friends like this is a privilege, the pinnacle of angling photography for me.

Oli Davies
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