A question; is there anyone, anywhere, anytime, that doesn’t have a camera in position and at the ready anymore? I think most would shake their heads vigorously in response. The digital photographic age has transformed our society to a heightened level of recording all of life’s triviality, ready or not.
So, why would it be any different while engaged in the sport of fishing? That might well be an accentuated opportunity for a digital capture of otherwise mundane events by the photographers of the new age. Believe me, it has become just that. But, then, the ingenuity of the participants, while in the chase of the watery creatures of the salt, can ingeniously add a dimension of creativity that has never been considered by the mere “selfie” aficionados.
Here's an array of picture capturing event stories noted on charter trips over the last few years which will confirm the title.
The same fish caper
There were two brothers, early retirees that chartered a trip a year ago, to experience our backwater fishing here in the sub-tropics. They were from the tundra of Upper Minnesota and their quickly admitted their sole fishing experience was on walleye for those two weeks in summer when the lakes “up home” thawed out.
You could have written a sitcom about these two and their fishing escapades on our late spring trip here in the Marco backwaters. Foremost among the aberrations that day was the fact that when one caught a fish both would take a separate “catcher” picture with it on their own smart-phone camera.
And then during periods when we were transiting from one spot to another they would individually transmit pictures of “their” catch to their families in the whiteout belt of Minnesota with a tag line of “look what I caught.”
You can envision that the family was impressed with the brother’s prowess and expertise down here. That is, until the next big family outing and the similarity of the catches would be discovered during a show and tell picture show event held by the clan.
Imagine the embarrassment and the guffaws!
Some things that folks do get grossly overdone. Camera mania is one of them.
We’re on a charter with a family that is absolutely enamored with the Paradise Coast and everything about it. It’s mom and dad and two adult daughters.
They all fished at home out West that they labeled “beyond boring.” So the excitement and their expectations here were sky high. Must mention that they were here with their church group and they, this morning, were back at the adjoining condos awaiting word of our gang’s trip.
Well they got a “camera full” all right.
All four of our anglers were equipped with the finest, fastest smartphones and on every catch. Keeper or not; pictures would be snapped and instantly transmitted to the church group condo listening post.
We caught a lot of fish that particular morning and the airwaves must have been flooded with these goofy fish pictures.
Guess, I just couldn’t understand the logic of taking and transmitting pictures of the fish, many of which that were current occupants of the keeper cooler on the boat; seemed redundant.
Anyhow, we made it to the finish and as we pulled into our slip at the marina, a gaggle of the church folks were there to greet us sporting an album of 8x10 glossies of fish hanging on a hook.
They had printed most all of the transmitted pictures.
They huddled around as I cleared the fish box and was about to head to the cleaning table and I asked, “Why the picture hullabaloo, when the subjects were right here on ice?”
Blank stares and not an utterance.
The whole event was a redundancy triggered by the spell of instant photography.
The coup de grace
Meet Harvey. Harvey is a 12-year-old precocious kid going on 25 and an absolute nerd. He had fished with his family on charters with me for at least two years. He was always into the technical stuff. The first year he was trying to pick off my GPS spots with his handheld device (and failed) and this last year he graduated to digital photography.
He knew pixels and exposures like most of us know the time. He would recite the capture rate of any make digital camera and knew shutter speeds and white balance settings like most on the water know tide tables.
Anyhow on this particular backwater charter we had some great action on speckled trout up around Keewaydin Island and managed to take three that were legally measured to exceed 15 inches in length but not exceed the twenty inch maximum.
Harvey would have his mom or dad take a digital of him posing with the trout with his smartphone even though they were not his catch; none of them were but he had the digital photographs.
It was obvious that fishing wasn’t his game. Digital photography was.
As we parted company that day; mom and dad with the filets and Harvey with the digital pictures; Harvey asked for my email address. He would send me the digital masterpieces that I could display on my website (fat chance).
But, nerdy but nice kid, “Sure, Harvey, send me the pictures.”
Sure enough, a week or so later, the email with the pictures attached arrives. Thought I’d see this 12-year old smiling and holding the spec trout. Was I in for a surprise!
The first picture opened on the screen of a young girl holding a spec trout that was over three feet long. As crazy as that sounds the picture looked totally authentic.
Harvey had digitally remastered the photos; combining shots and enlarging the fish to enormous proportions well beyond Florida maximum size limits. Putting that on my web site would have brought the Fish and Wildlife authorities at a fast trot.
Harvey thought his effort neat. I didn’t and called his folks asking that he not use or publicize the altered picture. They agreed.
So, bottom line, as you measure your megapixels and transmission rate consider if we just aren't flirting with a technology that is serving up needless communication and providing an arena for distortion and distraction.
Capt. Bill Walsh owns a charter fishing business and holds a U.S. Coast Guard license. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.