A little photographic trick: Look for opportunities where the fly-caster has a dark background behind him, or at least a patch of dark, across which his fly line will pass when he casts. You might have to ask him to step forward out of the shadows just a little in order to get the sunlight to catch his arcing line. Then take pictures on continuous shooting , in order to get the line at the perfect spot. These opportunities will present themselves more in the early morning or late afternoon, and more so in steep river canyons, where shaded vertical walls are common.
In this first image, I had to wait for PD to fish the run properly (he was hidden in the shade), and then I asked him to step forward just a step or so to get the line into the sunlight. We were on the Riflespruit, and it was the first pool of the day.
The picture is special because my father, an artist (oils), painted the scene, and PD now has it hanging in his house.
Here I was in the sun, as was PD, but the dark background was irresistible. Remember that like in this image, the background may be a long way away, in which case, step well back and use the zoom, in order to shorten the depth and effectively bring it forward as an immediate backdrop. This picture was taken on the Bamboeshoekspruit on a late April afternoon.
Below is a picture of Graeme Steart. We were fishing an NFFC water on the Mooi river . It was quite early, and I had stopped and set up my stove to make some morning coffee. Graeme was fishing up towards me, and I photographed him in various positions as he waded up to me. This position gave me the dark background I was looking for. The only problem was that I was facing East, so I had the sun in my eyes, and on the front of my lens. To overcome that I sought out some shade myself, so as to take the sun spots off the front of the lens. It worked to some degree, but you can still see the spot there.
The picture below was also on the Riflespruit, back in 2009. Rhett Quinn and I were fishing in the vicinity of Mount Mourne. I actually walked around quite a bit trying to get that back-cast against the only dark spot. The truth be told I ran from place to place, because Rhett would only fish the spot for so long, so I had a limited number of opportunities. My only regret is that I cut the top of the mountain off.
Perhaps you have mastered the technique? Send me your “golden thread” picture, and I will add it to the post.
My good friend Roy sent me this fantastic picture of him, taken by his son Rogan.
Rogan is a professional photographer, and it shows!