Sunday, December 31, 2017

MY Latest Take on Fly Photography - MY Simple Setup

Every photographer has their proven method of taking fly photographs. Some succeed, some do not.

The following is strictly MY take on fly photography.

I am in no way a professional photographer. Just a hobbyist still learning.

Just some tip and tricks from over the years.


This is solely up to you to pick the camera which is easy to learn and fits your budget. 
You may also want to consider a compact waterproof camera to take along with you when fishing.




If this is your preference to use as a camera then go for it. 
Admittedly I am not smart enough to be a cell phone photographer. 
I have seen some excellent cell phone photography online.






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.

If you use the macro function, set the camera to the distance in the manual.

Its usually represented by a tulip symbol.

However, you do not have to have the camera lens nearly touching the subject to take good macro photos.

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

Check and set the white balance of your camera fot the lighting you intend to use - 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 tripod to stabilize your camera.
There are many options to choose from as well as price points.

Table Top


Even a string tripod


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.

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.

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 and 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.
Different color paper from the scrapbooking department.

Wood scraps that have been stained or painted work too!

Dont forget about items from nature.
Rocks, twigs, moss, logs, bark, weathered wood etc will all work as boackgrounds


Typist Paper Holder


Here is my current setup.
I prefer to take my photos directly at my tying area.

I use 2 full spectrum daylight lamps that I purchased from my local Home Depot.
Ott lights offer the same amount of light for double/triple the price. 
Totally up to you which one to chose.

I also use the Sunpak VL-LED-96 Compact Video Light that I can hold below the subject for additional light.

I recently purchased this Litra Torch and I'm having 
good results using this small hand held 1.5 inch cube.


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


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 "Photoscape X Pro".
It allows me to resize my photos and do editing as well.

Other free software is: Gimp, Photofiltre, Microsoft Paint etc.
There are photo hosting websites that allow you to edit your photos.

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

I use Postimage photo hosting website to store my photos.

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

I create a folder on a portable hard drive for every fly pattern I tie. I keep 3 versions of the fly photo; Original size (straight out of the camera), a resized version @ 1080 pixels wide and a third version @ 800 pixel wide. I upload the 800 pixel wide version to my photo hosting website for use on forums/bulletin boards and the 1080 pixel wide version for Instagram.

Before Editing

After Editing


Find the equipment and setup that works for YOU.
Be as frugal or extravagent as you want.

Be creative! Experiment!

Crystal Buggers

Crystal Bugger

Hook: Nymph/streamer style
Thread: Black
Weight: Lead or non-lead wire
Tail: Marabou and a couple of strands of crystal flash (optional)
Ribbing: Wire
Body: Crystal chenille in your choice of colors
Hackle: Black, brown, grizzly or your choice of color

I used Lucent Chenille for the body material

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Zebra Midge

Zebra Midge

Bead: Brass or tungsten in assorted colors
Hook: Curved or straight
Thread: Assorted colors
Ribbing: Wire in assorted colors
Body/thorax: Thread

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Happy Holidays

Improved Brown Owl

Improved Brown Owl

Hook: 4XL Streamer
Thread: Fire orange head
Body: Gold embossed tinsel
Underwing: Deer hair
Overwing: Teal flank feather
Throat: Grizzly hackle fibers
Thorax: Peacock herl
Head: Fire orange thread

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Five Carats

Five Carats

Hook: Mustad 3906, sizes 10-12
Thread: Gray
Ribbing: Oval silver tinsel
Body: White floss tied with a full taper
Hackle: Blue dun tied long

Reference: Popular Fly Patterns - Terry Hellekson

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Lady Mono

Lady Mono

Hook: Mustad 3906B, size 10-14
Thread: Brown
Ribbing: Monofilament; round or flat
Body: Tapered brown floss or uni-stretch with orange floss or uni-stretch tied in at rear and pulled up the belly. Body is then ribbed with the monofilament
Head: Black ostrich herl

Friday, December 15, 2017



Hook: Nymph style
Thread: Brown
Tail: Brown marabou
Body: Peacock herl
Collar: Brown marabou, tips tied forward and then folded back in a collar

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Fort Wayne Bucktail

Fort Wayne Bucktail

Hook: Streamer style
Thread: Black
Tail: Red and yellow hackle fibers, woodduck
Ribbing: Flat gold tinsel
Body: Orange chenille
Wing: White bucktail

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fravel's Fancy

All followers,

I'm looking to find the recipe and possibly a photo of the Fravel's Fancy possibly originating in the Front Range area of Colorado/Wyoming especially from North Park to Laramie.

Thanks in advance,


Wednesday, December 6, 2017



Hook: Salmon style
Thread: Black
Tag: Silver oval tinsel
Tail: Golden pheasant crest
Body: Embossed silver tinsel
Throat: Kingfisher blue hackle fibers
Wing: Gray squirrel tail

Dick's Demon

Dick's Demon

Hook: Salmon style
Thread: Black
Tag: Oval silver tinsel
Tail: Golden pheasant crest
Butt: Black beaver dubbing
Bodt: Embossed silver tinsel
Throat: Orange hackle
Wing: Black goat or squirrel