Scott Embry fishing at Heart Lake, Siskiyou County - Philip Reedy . (cover photograph - Northwest Fly Fishing)
Three “Fs” that lead to “As”
By Philip Reedy
When it comes to the outdoors, my great loves are the three “Fs”: fall, fly fishing, and fotography.
I began photographing in the ‘70s while in college, shooting mainly landscapes and wildlife as a hobby. A dream, back then, was to get a cover photo on National Wildlife, but there were, and still are, a lot of phenomenally talented wildlife photographers. So that never came to pass.
Once kids came along, time for solo activities, like photography, was in short supply, so my camera gear was used mainly to record their lives and milestones. Years later I discovered that fly fishing was enormously more interesting than the fishing I had done as a boy which involved staring at a bobber for hours on end, interrupted only by the occasional mosquito.
Fly fishing became a great excuse to spend days in the Sierra Nevada, hiking along beautiful streams and lakes and getting to know the backcountry. As an avid reader of magazines like California Fly Fisher, I often admired the beautiful pictures on their covers and wondered if I could take photos like them.
About five years ago, I got serious about testing my ability to accomplish that and bought my first digital SLR. I began by dragging a buddy along on fly fishing outings so that he could pose for my pictures and emailed the editor of California Fly Fisher asking if he accepted submissions. After he replied that he did, I sent a few from one of my trips.
You can’t imagine my excitement when, a few months later, I received a reply letting me know that one of my photos would be on an upcoming cover. Since that time I have been fortunate to have photos published on the covers of California Fly Fisher, Northwest Fly Fishing, Southwest Fly Fishing, and Sierra Fisherman.
With my goal accomplished, I then sought to improve my photos by adding color to catch the editor’s eye and realized autumn would be the perfect season. A Google search brought me to Californiafallcolor.com, hosted by OWAC member John Poimiroo.
With daily updates and a deep archive of reports on autumn’s progress across the state, the site allowed me to determine where and when the perfect combination of color and fishing locations might come together. I have spent many long days driving through the mountains from Bishop to Mt Shasta looking for the best backdrops. Once trees approach peak at each spot, I drag my buddies out to pose; they are often rewarded by seeing themselves on a magazine cover or posted on John’s site.
I have learned quite a lot over the past few years that has improved the quality of my photos and my success in having them published, often based on feedback and suggestions from editors such as Richard Anderson at California Fly Fisher and John Shewey at Northwest Fly Fishing.
Since I often use the same models, I’ve learned to bring along a variety of clothing and hats so that it’s not obvious that the same angler is appearing on more than one cover. I have also amassed a collection of fly rods, fishing vests, wading staffs, and the like to provide more variety in the photos.
It is also very important to keep in mind how a photo will work with the layout of a particular magazine. Some use vertical images, others square, while calendars demand a horizontal format.
A great advantage of using a high resolution camera is that I now shoot horizontal shots almost exclusively, knowing that I can crop to any shape needed and still have the 300 dpi resolution editors require. When shooting horizontally with a high res digital camera, leave room for the subject to appear balanced after cropping within either a horizontal or vertical composition. If there will be text and a masthead on the cover, leave space for those, too.
In my experience, the background of the photo is the most important aspect of a successful fly fishing photo. To assure that I always have a scenic background, I search for them, noting scenes that would make a nice landscape photo, perhaps with a waterfall, snow-capped peak or rushing river. Then, when the light and color are right, I return to those spots and stage a model in the scene I’d pre-visualized.
It’s important to photograph in every season, as publications need covers to reflect each season, though autumn is my favorite. That’s when the forest is speckled with golden aspen and big leaf maple and Indian rhubarb drape their crimson-orange fan-shaped leaves beside streambanks. Suddenly, a good image becomes great.
Should this autumn run true to past experience, aspen between 8000 and 10,000’ in elevation will begin to turn by mid-September. Color change descends at a rate of 500’ a week throughout the Sierra and Cascade through October. In Southern California, it’s an October show.
By early November, vibrant colors have dropped to lower elevations. Reflected in the indigo waters of Yosemite Valley’s Merced River are deep-orange black oak and Yosemite’s landmark monoliths ... just the kind of dramatic, photogenic scene that earns “As” with my editors.
Philip Reedy scores with his editors by delivering out-of-the-ordinary photographs, such as these taken of a horsewoman fly fishing near Graeagle.
Rock Creek Trail, Inyo County - Gigi de Jong
By John Poimiroo
California has the longest, most diverse and – I am convinced – the most spectacular autumn in North America. As editor of CaliforniaFallColor.com, I write this with conviction and thousands of photographs that support that contention.
Incorporating fall color adds a richness to outdoor photography not seen in any other season. Though the air is often crisp and still, grasses, shrubs and leaves carry their warmest, most inviting tones to all sorts of outdoor sports and scenes.
Because of the low angle of sunlight and its warmth, gorgeous images can be captured all day, though the golden hours after sunrise and before sunset are even better than in other seasons of the year.
During sunrise and sunset, sunlight must pass through more of the atmosphere before we see it. Blue light, because of its shorter wavelength, is scattered easiest by nitrogen and oxygen air molecules. Whereas longer wavelength reds and oranges aren’t scattered as easily. As days grow shorter, sunrise and sunset light intensifies.
Autumn weather patterns also bring drier, cleaner air from the north, allowing more colors of the spectrum to be seen without being scattered by particles in the air, “producing brilliant sunsets and sunrises that can look red, orange, yellow or even pink,” The Weather Channel advises.
All that rich color intensifies the drama of fall color photography. To capture it, follow these tips.
Get Up Early and Don’t Give Up – The most successful landscape photographers are early risers and stick around past sunset when others have given up. Because they’re out when others have gone to dinner; they capture light others never see. And, because they don’t quit after the sun has set, they discover that often, the light just keeps getting better.
Be Prepared – Waterproof boots, woolen socks, warm gloves, a knit hat, a light jacket, layers of clothing, freshly recharged and extra batteries, extra blank memory cards, two camera bodies, varied lenses, a lens brush, a tripod, a collapsible reflector, a flashlight, eye glasses, water, an energy bar … these are essential kit for an outdoor photographer to stay comfortable, to stay out longer and to come back with good photographs.
Think Big – Set your camera to take large pictures. Small images are useful only on social media. They’re not useful to publications. Move personal shots off your camera or device to a photo sharing app so that you have space for new photos. Delete images you don’t plan to keep or use, to conserve memory. If you plan to reprint photos, shoot in RAW. Otherwise a “Fine” .jpg is big enough for most newspapers, all web uses and some magazines, but anything smaller is probably useless.
Steady As She Goes – Getting a sharp picture that shows crisp detail and can be enlarged is more challenging in low light conditions, which is often the case during autumn. Be mindful of adjusting your camera’s ISO (sensor speed) to 400 or higher to allow for a faster shutter speed in low light. Always use a tripod near sunrise or sunset and trigger your shutter with a camera remote or by using the timer.
Back to Basics – Taking pictures with your camera set to manual “M”, aperture “A” or shutter speed “S” mode makes you a better photographer, because it engages your mind in deciding what’s most important to the picture you plan to take. When you shoot on programmed auto “P”, you disengage your brain.
If you are most concerned about what will be in focus, set the mode to “A.” In this mode, you set the aperture and shutter speed is adjusted by the camera. A small aperture (e.g., f22) will allow more of the scene, foreground and background, to be in focus. A large aperture (e.g., f3.8) reduces the focal distance, concentrating attention on the point of focus. Photographers who set their camera to small apertures in order to get foreground and background in focus are seeking what photographers call, “hyper focal distance.”
If you are most concerned about stopping motion (such as in stopping quaking aspen from fluttering out of focus), set the mode to “S” and set the speed to show or stop motion. A speed of 1/125 of a second will stop camera shake and slow movements. With landscape photographs, snap a test shot and view it in the camera’s monitor, enlarging to see any motion, then adjust speed to stop motion. The appearance of motion in a photograph can be a good thing, if not distracting, but informative.
“M” mode adjusts both “S” and “A” concurrently by the photographer, providing the greatest latitude for creative expression, but also can result in underexposed or overexposed images. If you plan to shoot a specific scene (e.g., fireworks, the moon, city lights), Google “How to photograph … ” in advance, so that you know how to set your camera to get a good result.
Include people and action - The most valuable outdoor photographs to an editor are those that include people in them. Such photos, like that taken by OWAC member Gigi de Jong of a mountain biker on a trail near Bishop (above), tell more about the experience than just showing the landscape. Plan ahead to include people, get names and hometowns for captions and frame the photo with people in mind.
Know Where and When To Go – Peak fall color usually begins appearing in California at 10,000’ in elevation in mid-September. However, this year it is late by up to two weeks in the Eastern Sierra. Full peak occurs at California’s highest elevations, then descends at successively lower elevations (dropping at a rate of 500 to 1,000’ each week) to December. That means, your photographs can dependably include brilliant yellow, orange or red leaves if you plan trips to where it will be peaking, as occurred in past years. CaliforniaFallColor.com can help. I you know where you plan to be, search on the site for when it was peaking in the past and go then. If you know when you plan to travel, use the site to find locations that peaked in the past at that time and go there. By using this approach, you should be able to dependably include fall color in your outdoor photography.
Then, too, you’ll be adding the most spectacular autumn in North America to your fall articles.
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
OWAC's newest member is the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Though new to OWAC, it is not new to California.
Since 1988, RMEF and its partners completed 614 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in California with a combined value of more than $56.3 million. Those projects protected or enhanced 171,452 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 17,649 acres.
Nationally, RMEF has more than 235,000 members and 500+ chapters whose dedicated volunteers focus on raising funding to advance our mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. RMEF has 32 chapters and nearly 14,000 members in California.
RMEF is a resource for OWAC members on elk issues and with some 5,700 Tule Elk, 5,000-6,000 Roosevelt Elk and 1,500 Rocky Mountain Elk now in California, elk are a vital and growing part of California wildlife.
At this time of year, dramatic mating rituals are seen during Elk Rut at wildlife areas throughout California. It's a story that the public is fascinated by and which leads to opportunities to tell the story of who and how elk conservation has been so successful across California, thanks to groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
John DeGrazio/Adventure Peaches
John DeGrazio (r) shares a Can o' Peaches with Jorge Garzon at Machu Picchu
John DeGrazio, founder of YExplore Yosemite Adventures is now in search of "sweet rewards" for his radio podcast, Yosemite Can o' Peaches.
His Yosemite Peaches Project was created in 2017 as a way to document stories of contemporary artists, musicians, athletes, and every day explorers in Yosemite National Park, because John says, "everyone has a story to tell."
Toward that end, he meets with individuals to give a voice to each story in a recorded interview as they explain the profound effect Yosemite had on their lives. Peaches represent the rewards of their journey and relationship with Yosemite National Park.
John explains, "I had my first can o' peaches on the summit of Mt Rainier after I asked a local woman for one piece of advice on that trip back in 1997. Her reply was simple: "Go buy yourself a can o' peaches. It's the sweetest reward you'll ever taste."
A few days later, he was on the summit of Mt. Rainier with his own can o' peaches giving thanks to this kind woman for her sage advice.
"For years, I told that story before learning the true meaning of the peaches," he writes, "Today, I realize that regardless of reaching any summit, the adventure is the can o' peaches . Exploring nature and discovering its beauty while achieving self growth is the true reward."
DeGrazio says peaches are best enjoyed when shared, just like his blog. Subjects of his podcast include video artist Shawn Reeder, photographer Bruce Getty, photorapher and guide Jay Sousa, climber Ken Yager and others.
To get a taste of DeGrazio's peaches, CLICK HERE.
John's latest effort is to expand YExplore globally with "Nepal Peru 2020." This epic, two-continent adventure begins on March 22 in Kathmandu, Nepal. From there his group flies to the famous Lukla airstrip for the commencement of the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek.
YExplore's group continues to Peru in South America on May 22. Upon arrival in Cusco, it tours that city and other Inca sites before embarking on its next expedition, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Sep and Marilyn Hendrickson
Sep and Marilyn Hendrickson
As Marilyn crafts their tale, she and husband Sep Hendrickson transformed their shared love of the outdoors into both a business and a lifestyle of telling outdoor stories.
They began making trolling attractors and started catching fish with the "primitive flashers." Demand for appearances at derbies, sports shops and events followed.
As Seps Pro Fishing Inc., they created, developed and manufactured ultra-light flashers, dodgers, lures and more, then writing, photographing, writing books and broadcasting came next.
Now in their 23rd year as broadcasters, the couple produce a weekly radio show broadcast Saturdays from 5 to 8 a.m. on Sacramento's all-sports station, KHTK 1140AM, hosted by Sep.
It's up early for the couple on Saturdays, speaking to their audience of anglers and outdoorsmen and those driving to go fishing, or bass tournaments, or hunting or to any number of outdoor adventures.
"Ultimate Bass" the first hour from 5:00-6:00 am, is what Marilyn describes as "the only all-bass show in the West" and is hosted by Kent Brown, tournament pro, with impressive big-name bass pros as guests.
The second and third hours are "California Sportsmen", highlighting fishing and hunting in California, the Western States, Alaska and more.
Marilyn and Sep depend upon a cast of regular professional guides, captains and outdoor personalities which she calls, "the cleanest, best, smartest, most wonderful good guys, you'd ever want to know."
Each is an expert in a given aspect of outdoor sports. For example, Captains, such as James Smith, Mike Gravert, Steve Mitchell, Jay Lopes, JD Richey and James Netzel know the waters they fish.
Folks like Casey and Regina Stafford and David Martin know about dog training or hunting birds. And other capable, knowledgeable guests provide current information.
Marilyn says the key is that every one of them are "above board when dealing with the public. That's basic to building credibility and audience." She adds that immediacy is what gives the program energy. "We regularly talk live to these reporters when they're on the water, or in the field”.
Despite having done this for decades, the Hendricksons stay hip of what's new and rising. A new generation of young anglers are moving up and winning derbies and tournaments, and even high schools are providing support.
And, Sep and Marilyn Hendrickson are key figures at the annual International Sportsman's Exposition each January in Sacramento, often leading programs and seminars for the massive audience of outdoorsmen and women who attend the show.
At a time when some media struggle for audience, radio remains relevant and influential, reaching target audiences on their way to outdoor adventures. That's what longtime OWAC members Sep and Marilyn Hendrickson do each Saturday morning.
Archery Competition Goes Hollywood
Susan Pevensie, Chronicles of Narnia, courtesy Bust.com
Former OWAC member, James Swan (now living in New Mexico) is organizing the First Annual Hollywood Celebrity Archery Shoot to occur at Conejo Valley Archers in Simi Valley on November 16.
The event will involve teams of celebrities, NASP youth archers, and supporting archers competing for prizes donated by the archery industry.
Celeb archers participating in this event, include: actors Marshall and Lindy Teague, Tim Abell, Frank Stallone, Reggie Theus, Diamond Farnsworth (stunt coordinator for “NCIS”), James A Swan, and Ron and Shirley Ringo; producer/directors Tom Greene and Johnny St. Ours; and Fox TV health expert Dr. Tony O’Donnell.
There is no fee for Celebrity Archers and NASP® kids. There is a $250 fee for each supporting archer which will go to help support NASP®.
Archery (both target and hunting) is a rising outdoor sport with its popularity fed by archers seen in motion pictures. The Archery Trade Association reports that a boost for women in archery came in 1999 when Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis became a semi-finalist for the U.S. Olympic archery team. Davis says she was inspired to take up the sport by watching Olympic archers on TV.
A second increase in women archers occurred following the release of the “Hunger Games” series starring Jennifer Lawrence, “Lord of the Rings,” "Chronicles of Narnia" and “Brave."
USA Archery membership increased by 48 percent after “Hunger Games” was released.
A public enveloped by high technology is turning back to the world's most ancient low-tech sport ... that of shooting arrows.
However anachronistic that might seem, archery is new once more, due to advanced technologies and materials being used to create bows and arrows. The sport is high-tech, but it doesn't feel that way.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2019
Call to Order: Carrie Wilson, President
Roll Call: Bob Semerau, Carrie Wilson, Peter Schroeder, John Poimiroo, Barbara Steinberg, John Williamson, Betsy Crowfoot, Gi Gi deJong and Carol Martens
Not Present: Josh Asel, Chris Langley and Tom Martens
Review and approval of previous Board minutes: John P. motioned to approve and Barbara seconded it. Minutes approved.
Financial Report: $19,609.23 The endowment fund borrowed $425from the general fund earlier this year to help match the $1,000 donation by Don Vachini. Peter motioned that we forgive the loan and Betsy seconded it and motion was approved.
Californian of the Year-Kathie We currently have four nominations. The deadline for nominations is midnight, Sept.27th. Bob, Carrie and Betsy will be helping Kathie with the voting and other related procedures.
Craft Improvement- Peter will be contacting Tiburon this Fall, as they requested. John P says Eureka and Humboldt County have been contacted for a future conference.
Investment, Endowment & Scholarship-Peter At the end of July we had $14,850. in our funds. We are on schedule for the two high school scholarships that will be presented to winners in March 2020.
Newsletter-John P will be editing the Oct/Nov newsletter, while Chris Langley recuperates and plans two craft improvement articles with a fall theme, dealing with photography. Other articles include COY nominees, member profiles, the Don Vachini Fund scholarship and outdoor news.
Membership- Board members continue to call and contact members and sponsors on the Debunk list. Many of the people contacted were happy to get caught up on their dues while contact information on others is not correct. There are still quite a few to be contacted. The purpose is to have a current list of active members and sponsors.
Publicity- Betsy has sent out 22 press releases for the winners of our craft awards.
Raffle- nothing to report
Website-Mark Sevi and GiGi have not been able connect yet for GiGi’s training for the website. It was suggested we use Wordpress for the newsletter, because it is so common and familiar to web managers. John P and GiGi said they would contact their web developers to get bids for creating sites in WordPress. (Update: following the meeting Josh Asel presented a design for a new website, on which he has been working.)
Next Meeting Date- Monday, October 14, 2019 at 7pm.
8:04 Adjourn- GiGi motioned to adjourn and Bob seconded it. Adjourned.