Lions, Tigers, and Bears

Well, ok. There weren’t lions or bears. Or tigers either, for that matter. However, I did catch a Tiger trout which was cool. I had never actually heard of them before and I guess they are quite rare. However, in Beehive Reservoir, they stock them and I was fortunate enough to catch one.

After being completely skunked the last time up to Beehive, I went with the tried and true midge fishing which consists of a strike indicator and a midge imitator floating about 18″ under the water. Worked like a charm. I had this very gold shiny thing that was irresistible and I caught 3 or 4 right away. They weren’t huge, but it was fun nonetheless. Susanne didn’t have much luck, but partly because the footing was so bad on the edge, it was tough to get comfortable.

A beautiful Tiger Trout

We have been doing a lot of hiking lately and most of it has involved very steep ups and very steep downs. It would be safe to say that both of our knees are a bit sore and tired.

With that knowledge and confirmation of officially being old farts, we decided to do a more mellow day and since we had enjoyed Ingalls creek so much and it was going to be another gorgeous fall day, we decided to head back there and hike that again….this time with poles.

The definition of a beautiful fall day

We walked up the creek a ways further than last time, but at a pretty leisurely pace. It was kind of fun, because we really didn’t have a destination in mind or a distance we wanted to cover. I think both of us have been feeling way more relaxed lately and it is different how not being in a rush can change your perception of the world. The day was stunningly beautiful and we didn’t see a soul on the trail. The fall colors were really starting to pop. It is unquestionably my favorite time of year almost everywhere on the planet.

We hiked about 3 miles up the canyon and then decided to look for a nice pool to hang out by and do some fishing. I put on an Elk Hair Caddis and Susanne started fishing. Almost right away she was getting strikes and catching some fish. They really liked that thing, but they were all quite small. Probably the biggest fish she caught was 7″ or 8.” There were a few 4-inchers which was a bummer, considering the fly was almost as big as they were. I tried out a nymph to see if we could get something bigger, but had no luck.

Creek fishing is quite fun and very different that fishing on a lake or big river. You really have to concentrate on trying to get your fly to drift just right. It is quite absorbing and zen-like. You can end up standing there for 20 minutes without a single other thought go through your head other than “gotta get that about 2″ further right to hit the drift.” I enjoy just sitting on the bank and watching Susanne’s fly float. We both get excited when there is strike.

Concentrating on the drift

We worked our way back down the creek stopping at various good-looking fishing spots. We didn’t catch anything big. I think the sum total of all the fish we caught was probably 28 inches—it just happened to be in about 5 fish. Oh well. I will have to study up on how to catch bigger fish in those kind of creeks. I suspect it is floating something deeper in the water.

I had tried to get some long-exposure photographs of the creek that give it that silky look to the flowing water. I posted one on facebook and my friend Donn, who is an outstanding professional photographer, sent me some comments back on the photo and started to help work on my processing. It was quite cool to both see the stylistic difference and what knowing what you are doing really helps.

Here is the raw photograph with no processing:

Raw photograph with no processing

I wanted to capture how dark and mysterious the creek canyon was, so this was my first pass at the processing:

This was my post on facebook

I sent Donn the original and he did a quick processing on it and came up with:

Really nice. much cleaner look and far more balance.

We chatted some more and I said I had tried to capture the “dark and mysterious” feel in mine and I had waffled on including the log or not. So he went back to the drawing board and sent me this:

Donn’s “moody” processing

Anyway, I was super grateful for his interest and help and I’m now motivated to dive into Photoshop and learn a lot more about photo processing. When I look at the three, it is clear that my processing was just a bit over the top and lost some of the naturalness of the scene. I do like how the light on the water at the bottom of the photograph is very bright and implies rays of sun coming through the trees, but in the end I really like Donn’s interpretations and better balanced processing.

It goes to show that it is two fold: (1) how do you interpret the feeling the photograph you have taken and (2) how do you process it the best way to get the feeling.

Learning photography is a very humbling undertaking, but clearly there is life time of learning to be had. Thanks Donn!

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