Belize Part 2 (plus helpful photo editing tips)

Well that was a doozy! Finally through the Belize edit after countless hours of editing/processing/tearing my hair out/more editing/you get the point…check out the gallery here if you like.

Digital photography can be a monster. There’s a false understanding out there of digital photography giving us the opportunity to shoot as many images as possible, with little to no cost at all to the photographer. And really, that’s technically true. Although what many don’t understand is that it costs lots of time and energy to properly manage and maintain a viable, working library or archive of photos. If you don’t maintain a vigorous editing schedule on everything you shoot, before you know it you have terabytes of unsearchable imagery that just sits on a hard drive and keeps you from sleeping at night cause you know you have to take care of it.

Angler Mikey Weir, about 25 minutes into a lengthy battle with an 80+ lb. tarpon on the Belize River.

Angler Mikey Weir, about 25 minutes into a lengthy battle with an 80+ lb. tarpon on the Belize River.

What’s the point of all this drivel??? In short, be committed to editing your images on a regular basis. Below are a couple of tips that will help you to be a better editor.

1. Edit immediately: If you can, it’s best to get on it right after the shoot. Why? Well, for the obvious reason, the sooner you get started, the sooner it will be completed. The more important reason, however, is to get on the edit while the imagery and experience are still fresh in your mind. It’s best if you still have a connection to the shoot, with the conditions, feelings and conscious thoughts of the imagery still right there on the surface. Many times, if you wait to edit, you’ll be editing on only what you see, and sometimes, there’s more that goes into whether or not an image is worth keeping around.

Looking for permit tails in the last light of day near Robinson Point, Belize.

Looking for permit tails in the last light of day near Robinson Point, Belize.

2. Edit voraciously:What does this mean? In simple layman’s terms, it means don’t be afraid to hit that delete button. Especially as a pro, you must be judicious with your HD space. Don’t keep anything that won’t serve a purpose in the end. If it won’t add to your portfolio, suit a client’s needs or make for a viable stock image, get rid of it. One way I do this is by rating my images from 1 to 5 stars. Anything that doesn’t get a rating gets axed.

Up close and personal with the Silver King.

Up close and personal with the Silver King.

3. Edit continuously: If at all possible, try and get through the edit for a shoot in one sitting. I do this because I believe there is a certain flow to an edit session that contributes to the overall quality of the final edit. I know what I’ve been keeping and what I’ve been throwing out. I know if I see repeat images or concepts and avoid keeping too many of the same types of images that will just clutter my hard drive and selection process in the end. This will be difficult on larger shoots, but do your very best–it will pay off in spades.

Angler Jamie Connolly, reviving a permit after a worthy fight.

Angler Jamie Connolly, reviving a permit after a worthy fight.

4. Edit at 100%: I don’t mean to edit every image at 100%, but when you are deciding whether the image is a keeper or not, do yourself a favor and check the image for sharpness at 100%. It doesn’t matter if the image looks good at thumbnail size–it has to look good at 100%, cause that’s what end licensees/users will be checking. Aperture (and many other editing programs) has a nice loupe feature which allows you to zoom in at 100% on your image, following your mouse cursor around instead of zooming the entire image to 100%.

40 feet at 9 o'clock!! Mikey Weir spots a cruising permit near Robinson Point, Belize.

40 feet at 9 o'clock!! Mikey Weir spots a cruising permit near Robinson Point, Belize.

5. Edit to Edit: Not to process. This is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do, and I struggle with it more than any other tip on here. It’s tough not to narrow in on the 5-star images right away and process those in your RAW software app or Photoshop. But be warned that if you get into this habit, you’ll end up with a couple of processed 5-star images and a whole bunch of other crap that never got properly edited. Get through the edit first, and then go back through and watch your images come to life as you work your processing mojo.

Trusty pangas soaking up golden late light just outside of Belize Harbor.

Trusty pangas soaking up golden late light just outside of Belize Harbor.

Hope these tips were helpful. If you found them helpful, please feel free to share with friends on Facebook or fellow tweeters on Twitter!

Belize!!! (part 1)

Ever since I can recall actually discovering (via magazine/movies) the world of saltwater fly fishing, I have harbored the dream of experiencing it for myself one day. In short, it lives up to the hype–and then some.

Patagonia fly fishing ambassador Mikey Weir tossed it into the blue on Rendezvous Reef, Belize

Patagonia fly fishing ambassador Mikey Wier tosses it into the blue on Rendezvous Reef, Belize

Just as Alaska is to freeskiing, Augusta is to golf or Monaco is to racing, so too, is Belize to saltwater fly fishing. Crystal clear water, mile-long flats and significant numbers of varying species of big game fish nearly guarantee an epic experience when plying this country’s Caribbean waters. Belize is a mecca for anglers seeking tarpon, permit, bonefish, snook and a host of other species of fish.

Angler Jamie Connolly takes a break from the action at Robinson Point, Belize.

Angler Jamie Connolly takes a break from the action at Robinson Point, Belize.

I was fortunate to be spending my first Belize experience aboard a 58′ boat called the Rising Tide. Being on a boat gave me prime, immediate access to the water at the best times of day to be shooting, which are always very early and much later than most plan for. Were we staying on land, it would have required much earlier/later departures and just wouldn’t have been possible. Many thanks to Don Muelrath and Mike Copithorne of Off the Hook Fly Fishing for their assistance in setting up the trip.

MIkey Weir cradles a Robinson Point Permit after a worthy battle.

MIkey Wier cradles a Robinson Point Permit after a worthy battle.

When all was said and done, I shot well over 5,000 images and even managed to catch my first ever permit. Awesome! Also key to this trip was my underwater housing from Aquatech. It’s a whole new world below the surface, and I was so pleased to be able to capture these fish in their native element. Also, many thanks to Patagonia, Simms, Winston Rods and Lamson Reels for helping out on the product side of things.

Lunch. Robinson Point, Belize

Lunch. Robinson Point, Belize

Belize Bonefish and Lamson Vanquish Reel

Belize Bonefish and Lamson Vanquish Reel

Angler Ryan Hawkes and Capt. Dean Meyers flee an oncoming cold front near Long Caye, Belize.

Angler Ryan Hawkes and Capt. Dean Meyers flee an oncoming cold front near Long Caye, Belize.

Belizian Bonefish, resting up after a worthy fight.

Belizian Bonefish, resting up after a worthy fight.

Guide Nato and Mikey Weir make good use of waning daylight. Robinson Point, Belize

Guide Nato and Mikey Weir make good use of waning daylight. Robinson Point, Belize