Sunday, January 30, 2011

Skinny Nelson

Heres a pattern I found in a fly bin in one of the fly shops in
Fort Smith, Montana on the Big Horn River.

Skinny Nelson

Hook: Nymph 
Thread: Black
Tail: Pheasant tail fibers
Ribbing: Fine gold wire
Body: Black thread
Wing case: Pearl tinsel
Thorax: Peacock herl

Monday, January 17, 2011

My take on fly photography

The following is strictly my take on fly photography. Just some tip and tricks from over the years.

READ THE MANUAL - Somebody took the time to write it for you so why not give it a read. It has all of the instructions and settings for your camera.

Use a tripod - gets rid of the shakes (a washer, bolt and string will also work )

Use multiple light sources - 1 above & 1 below is good or 1 above & 1 on each side.

If you use the macro function, set the camera to the distance in the manual. Its usually represented by a tulip symbol.

If you don't have macro on your camera, use the manual focus.

Check and set the white balance of your camera - its in the manual on how to do it.


Do not use digital zoom.

Turn off the cameras flash.

More megapixel cameras are not necessary to take fly photos.

Depress the shutter 1/2 of the way down to let the camera focus on the subject. Once focused, depress the shutter the rest of the way down to take the photo ( this seems to be the problem on most forums I frequent - out of focused photos and the photographer wants critiques).

Use the self timer if that's the way you want to take the photo (not really necessary)

Use a background color that is pleasing to the eye. Your filthy and disorganized fly tying area is NOT pleasing to the eye. light blue, gray or light green are good choices. Take a look at the fly photography of Charlie Craven and Hans Weilenmann for examples.  Their photos of flies are excellent.

Get some photo editing software. There are excellent ones you can pay astronomical prices for or there are some excellent free ones on the web you can download. There are times where you will need to manipulate a photo.

Re-size you photographs. Nobody like to scroll side to side to see your photograph

If you want to use a light box, then buy one or make one. Here is one that I bought but seldom use. There are so many place on the web on how to make one or buy one.

I prefer to take my photos directly at my tying area.

Background ideas for fly photography:

I was at home depot this morning and walked by the paint department. There were paint chip sample all over the place and all for free. So I picked of a few of them in eye pleasing colors.

As a result of using them, here is what I photographed.

More free ideas came when i went by the kitchen cabinet and counter top department. they also have free samples of counter top material.

Another department is floor & wall tiles. These may not be free but you are only buying 1 tile for a background.

Those 39 cent foam sheet from the hobby store or department will work for backgrounds.

Wood scraps that have been stained or painted work too! Go into the flooring department of Lowes or Home Depot and get samples of laminate or hardwood flooring. Some are free and some are under a dollar.

So many ideas so little time!

Be creative! Experiment!

Here is a lighting idea:

I was at home depot this morning and found the paint chip sample but I also went into the lighting department. I have this light up on my computer desk and went to see if they had any more.

I have had this desk light for about 3-4 years and have never had a problem with it. I'm going to say the price is about 25 bucks. Notice that it has a daylight or ott light type of bulb. I do believe it is a full spectrum style of bulb.

Photo Editing Software

Photo editing software come in a couple of categories : free and you gotta pay for it. Free is for me. I am not a professional photographer and never wanted to be one. I use free software that can be downloaded from the internet. I personally use a free editing software called "Photofiltre". It allows me to resize my photos and do editing as well.

Other free software is: Picasa, Gimp, Photoscape etc.

If you want to pay, there is: Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro etc.

Just my opinion, yours will be different!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Add black beads to your hook

Tie on black thread and begin securing the the beads in the position you want them to be in.
NOTE: You may also use crazy glue in place of tying thread to hold the beads in position on the hook.

Beads in position.

Trim the thread and coat the beads with epoxy or one of the UV curing acrylic goo's. If you are using one of the goo's that remain tacky after drying, overcoat the goo with Sally Hansen Hard as Nails fingernail polish.

Reattach the thread and tie in a black hackle.

Wrap the hackle forward and tie off. Trim off the tying thread.