Friday, September 26, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Well, I was there, invited by the "alma mater" of the Tournament, Mr Jorge Haenelt (in the picture, at the weighting station), a truly nice gentleman who runs this big event every year since quite a long time, 12 years I'd say. Jorge knows a thing or two about running a competition of this size and saying that everything went flawless is an understatement. My mission was to give a speech after the first day of the tournament and then follow the event for a fishing magazine. I did my duties and covered the event, even here, in this humble blog, you'll find some bits and pieces about the competition.
On day one Red Herring, a beautiful 40 Cabo Express, in my humble opinion the nicest boat around, weighted the heaviest load of catch, 36,850kg with the biggest fish of the Tournament, a 14,550kg Dorado. Alila was good second, with just a couple of kilos difference and El Barracuda came third a bit further behind. The weather during the days was near to perfect, with calm seas and very hot temperature.
Day two was Nanis landing the biggest load with 26,200kg coming from 5 fish, all Skipjacks. Cap Cana, the team from the Dominican Republic grabbed the second place and El Barracuda came third again, for sure the most regular team of the tournament (not counting those who DID NOT catch any fish for two days in a row... ! ). A bit of wind showed up in the morning to drop again in the afternoon, again a wonderful day to be out at sea.
The final result, as far as total amount of catch is concerned, was in favour of Ian John Dixon's "Red Herring" , the team that won most of the available awards (there were many of them available). This is the men to beat next year, and I hope I will be there again to see it. There's many nice people I met and at the most glamorous fishing tournament of Spain, and I long to see them again.
There were various schools of Dolphins working the bait and feeding furiously together with the birds. The strategy was pretty wild; the mammals would slam the balls of bait with their tails to stun them, and afterwards eat at an easy pace. We thought that Tunas might be feeding with the Dolphins but there was no presence of fish whatsoever, thus we spent quite some time just enjoining the show.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
After the purchase of a second soft umbrella yesterday I played a bit with an improvised studio in the living room. This gave me the chance to use for the first time two soft lights and the Elinchrome Skyport as well. The set-up of the studio was quite simple, a white cardboard for the background, one light left of the camera at 45º and one on the right at product level. I had to do a photo for an article in a Spanish and a French magazine and wanted to try something different.
It has been an educating experience, never worked with two lights and the remote so I thought it would have taken me more time to grab the concept but it wasn’t so. Not that I figured out the perfect match and consider the result as a masterpiece, but I’m happy with what I got at least for a first timer. Funny enough, the table surface is white and is quite reflecting as well (yes, is a horrible table and we need to buy a new one), which gave me the opportunity for a nicer composition. To achieve the right exposure I had to play a bit with the camera meter. This came out at f18 x 1/100sec, ISO 200 centre weighted. I was using the D80 and the Nikkor micro 60mm. Left flash was at 1/8 of the power and right flash at 1/2.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Flash through Soft Umbrella
Look at how different the shadows are in the first image from the second, much harder, harsh and sharper. This is just a simple and cheap white umbrella that softens the light shooting through it. Imagine what kind of results you can get with the pro products in the right hands....
The lighting experts will laugh at my observation and they have the right to do so, but for a total novice, like myself, to the whole world of strobes, lights, light direction and alike, is an amazing discovery and such a raw and self explanatory example might even help the other non-expert in this field, or at least I hope so.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Well, eventually when we left the room to the garden things changed an my luck turned a bit. This is where I had most fun when the kids where playing or riding a mechanical bull, a very interesting photo op. I tried all possible combinations with the strobes and both in daylight (close to sunset with the sun already low), to twilight and night. This is where I probably spent an entire 2GB card, great fun.
Is quite a different thing photographing fish and people holding a fish from a family event like this. The responsibility, even you you're just doing it as a favour, is huge and the experience is very important. Something I truly don't have. Though, I sure learnt a thing or two and next time I would probably do it a tad better...maybe.
Friday, September 5, 2008
I have to admit I'm a flash fanatic at least as much I am a flash dork. No clue how to use them, yet I insist and dare to. This is a series of images of the same stuff, none of them really successful but I have a moment in this lazy Friday afternoon so I enjoy working a bit on the Blog. I have spent zero time in editing the raw images, these are the basic jpegs exactly how they came out of the camera, just reduced in size.
This is the dark view, quite futuristic of the whole thing. Like a spaceship... The flash commander don't work so well when there's heavy metal stuff in front of the strobe, hence only the right flash sparked a bit of light. a too high shutter speed and a not too open f-stop did the rest.
I wonder why this one came up so green, I shoot in cloudy WB and should have been warmer, but maybe this IS warmer, for the light I was using... No flash here, just available light at f3.2
Here we have both SB600 working, one is low on my right and the other one is on top of the white cabinet. There's a lot of reflecting and shining stuff here, the light is bouncing all over the place but hey, this is a dork at work, don't forget this. f5.6 sunny WB
A couple of bonus images, this one I don't have a clue of what it is. I put the flash on top of it to spread some light from above. Looks pretty average to me. f4.5 Sunny WB.
At least I know what this is. Flash still above but eventually who cares, is not a good take.
These shots have been taken with a Nikon D80 and Nikkor 10.5 Fisheye. It was darn hot down there. I know is a dirty job but somebody has to do it :-)
Thursday, September 4, 2008
The train trip was relaxing and comfortable. I love trains as much as I started hating airplanes. I spend a good deal of time travelling from one end of the world to the other during the tropical fishing season and I'm getting planephobic, if I'm allowed to say. But trains are different and the AVE (Spanish high speed trains) offers a beauty of a ride. Is fast, quiet, spacious and in less than 3 hours it delivers you to the Malaga station, something that by car takes at least around 5 hours and dimes. During the trip I took some horrible pictures that nobody would ever want to see. Thus, since this is a diary of my week-end I will show them, sorry!
In the evening we approached Barbate, our port for the night and we saw an helicopter and a rescue boat working right on the area of Cape Trafalgar, a good chance to use my 200mm. Now, you have to understand that in Barbate there's one of my favourite restaurant ever. I have been there with some Japanese friends a couple of years before, again with Fernando and his boat, and just loved it. El Campero is the name, and if you ever happen in this pretty ugly and not too interesting town, please pay it a visit. The entrees are just fabulous, but my target was pretty clear: Toro sashimi.
Barbate is a major point of Bluefin Tuna processing and harvesting. The Almadrabas (giant fish traps) still catch a good deal of giants before they enter the Mediterranean for the spawning, and the tuna meat is either sent to Japan (the largest part), a bit to the Spanish market and a part is treated locally in form of canned Tuna, smoked etc.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I thought the idea was brilliant and knowing Doug's skill on the PC keyboard would have come out great. I contacted Hideyuki Kitamura, probably one of the most experienced jigger in Japan and sure enough one of the most respected. My friend Setsuo Hamanaka (http://www002.upp.so-net.ne.jp/Ham/) helped with the logistic and communication and Dough brought in Ben Secrets, an excellent fisherman from California who, while working for Shimano, not only helped them putting out the "Butterfly Jigging" campaign, one of the smartest marketing campaign done recently in the fishing history, but also learned a lot from the Japs Shimano-pros. By the way, Ben is now at Accurate (www.accuratefishing.com), and the American brand came out with some amazing conventional and spinning reels for jigging, machines that I am lucky enough to use.
Hideyuki gave us all a major class of how to fish in a sea that those days was not too generous. He hammered the critters while I could barely follow his lead. I have learnt a lot from him, and you can learn too by reading his comments.
The article is great, Doug nailed it, picking the best from the best. The most important tips and information are there, available for those who know how to "read" them and put them in practice. The issue is September/October, you shouldn't miss it.
Situation nº 2. Me and my friend Mario in El Hierro island, Canary Archipelago. Our skipper finds a pack of hungry Wahoos. I am fishing with a 30 and a 50lb jigging rods, first without wire, then with a small piece. I hook 5 Wahoos in a row while Mario is looking at me in disbelief. I manage to loose each one of them because either they cut me off, snap the line or break the wire, due to a bad haywire twist.
The story doesn't end here.
Ascension island. Wahoo are not a pest but they are there and show up every once in a while. I'm fishing with 4 other guys. 3 of them hook and land a Wahoo without using wire, and when I decide that is my time for a try I put a lighter jig near a school of Bonitos where I saw some Wahoo sniffing around and drop it a bit up current. The small iron hit the water, line start coming off the reel at the usual pace and all of a sudden it is dead. Nothing comes out of the spool anymore. The jig is done, a Wahoo took it probably 5 meters below the surface on my very first specific "Wahoo cast" and cut the mono leader like butter.
I have similar stories at the Maldives, Panama, Costa Rica etc etc. In about one month I will be probably fishing Bermuda, a pretty new spot for jigging, quite an exciting experience. Is full of these toothed critters, and I know that my friends will sure land some. I don't know whether to bring a lot of wire, or a rabbit's leg, is a hard call. Doomed? Maybe, I'll let you know when I come back