Who am I?

My photo
An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Friday 11 February 2022

Fade to grey?

 It wasn't too long ago when I blogged about the "Kodak Legacy" and acknowledged how my experiences during time spent within the company's, Distribution - Southern Region, warehouse impacted upon the rest of my life. I was right at the start of my "big fish" angling adventure and, as such, photography played a major role in the hobby. What needs remembering is that this was real photography, not today's digital version. To become a qualified photographer, during this era, required an apprenticeship akin to that of a doctor or lawyer - seven bloody years! Luckily, I had no requirement to qualify as a fish photographer and happily sought whatever technical advice that was available from the "professional team" based in the offices above the warehouse. It was 35mm format, slide, photography which provided my lessons as I strived to get to grips with the problems surrounding obtaining trophy shots of wet fish, using this technology. Canon AE 1's, Olympus OM 10's & an assorted mix of Pentax models were my cameras, at this point. 125th/sec exposure with an ISO 200/400 film being as good as it got?

The beauty of working in the same building as the "technical support team" meant that any queries could be quickly resolved (?) - addressed by simply wandering upstairs and sharing the particular image with guys who knew so much more. Right from the off, they were quick to point out a basic flaw in any wet fish photography, at this time. What the angler needed to understand was that they were attempting to get an image of a mirror? Such was the sensitivity of traditional medium to reflective glare, off the flanks, of a wet fish that lessons were quickly learnt because of my direct access to such talented individuals. 

Wet flanks were completely white due to the
sensitivity of the film medium to reflected light. Once the 
shutter was pressed, the image captured, there was no
alteration mode to rectify any issues.

Once the reflective glare had been identified and, subsequently, dealt with, these guys then proceeded to point me in the direction for further improvement in my trophy shot portfolio. It was an absolute privilege to be able to draw from their combined knowledge and, thus, enhance my own image recording because of this generosity. In 2022, image capture is a million miles away from those times. If a computer program can't sort it out then you must have left the lens cap on? Anyway, apart from these guys teaching me about the angle of the sun, importance of camera height and F stop options, they also made me far more aware of my choice of backgrounds for the trophy shots. To take it even further, they questioned the clothing I/we wore when posing with our prizes. Standard speccy hunting apparel was, as it remains today, generally drab "Barbour" olive/green and/or Army surplus camo kit. These photographic minds quickly pointed out a flaw in this combination, as it lacked contrast with the fish being held, thus to resolve the issue fill-in flash was required which, although doing the job, just added to the reflective glare problem which was at the very start of these exchanges.

31st August 1987 - it should have been a Zander!
Lessons were being learnt as our photography became more
important within the hobby.

What could I do? Back then Kodak were world leaders in this field, although Fujifilm were already making a name for themselves. The Ektachrome and Kodachrome slide film were as good as it got and the technical guys did their colour matching using a "Grey Scale" which, as far as I'm aware, remains industry standard right up to today? There was the answer, wear a grey sweater for the trophy shot and so many problems were immediately removed from the equation. Once learned, this simple ruse was used in many situations throughout the period. I might wear light blue, yellow or pink, just to ensure sufficient contrast with the subject central to the image.

18th January 1988
Even in grotty light conditions we were able to get our photo
without resorting to fill-in flash purely because of our choice of clothing.

Where's this going? Well, a while ago I recalled this tale to Bev, the upshot being that she obtained a grey sweater from a local charity outlet for a couple of quid! I'd slung it in my fishing cupboard and forgotten about it, until yesterday. "I'm gonna get a photo with this on" says I and what'd you know, did just that. Double number eighteen in the bag and a, blast from the past, photo to boot.

10th February 2022
It might be the digital age, but those old school lessons
still have relevance?


  1. Hi Dyl
    The Grey scale cards are still used today usually by the pros and the keen hobbyist, it’s a science this bloody photography lark.
    If there’s one thing I’ve picked up while researching this hobby is try Keep it simple like your example of the grey Cardigan a Great tip. Another Tip I find useful especially in our digital age, take a test shot first, although I guess it depends on what type of photo were looking for? Historical record, portrait etc.
    Must have been difficult back in the day to glean great photos using 35mm and having to wait to develop before viewing.
    Personally, not had much opportunity to get out with my camera what with the covid thing.
    Were all good here family all well
    I really enjoy following your blog your photos are cool.
    We need a catch-up?
    Bob Wendy + tribe

    1. Hi Bob,
      Great to hear from you and good to know that the family are keeping well. A catch up at Tim's must be due before he heads off to Cornwall, although Sye does need a, back-dated, 60th Birthday bash. Hopefully this summer will allow a gathering in some form or other?
      My photography is just a side show, which is why my cameras are functional as opposed to "high tech". Also, knowing how delicate this stuff can be, my EOS 350 & 400 bodies are bomb proof and have served me, without fail, for well over a decade now.
      If we are heading up to Tim's place, Bev will be in touch on Facebook to let you know.
      Take care & stay safe - Dyl & Bev

  2. Thats a great tip Dyl. Its like a bigger scale of my moth photos on a piece of grey slate to show the colours better...

    1. Hi Stewart, so sorry for the delay in posting a reply. I'm sure that it is because we look first and use photography as a side show, that this Grey Scale stuff is way beyond our experience. If it were the other way around and the photograph was the purpose of us looking, then we'd have been well aware of such boring stuff? Cheers for the comment - Dyl