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Fishing at night

John Clanton Modified: April 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm •  Published: October 8, 2009
Fishing off a dock at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009.  By John Clanton, The Oklahoman
Fishing off a dock at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009. By John Clanton, The Oklahoman

As a photographer, when I think of ideas for an audio slideshow, I usually think of what pictures I might be able to get to go with a particular story, and then I back up the pictures with audio from the event. A few weeks ago I went out to Lake Hefner and hatched an idea for a new slideshow by doing the opposite. I listened to the sounds of the lake and how peaceful it was late at night, the animals, the water,  the creaking of the docks, and decided to take pictures that would back up the sounds of the lake. On three trips to the lake, mostly late at night, I met people who fish off the docks at Lake Hefner. Some people said they spend all day at the lake. They’ll start fishing at 2 pm and keep fishing until atfter 10 pm. Another group said they usually show up after work at 10 pm and sometimes fish until 3 or 4 in the morning.

Nightfishing at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009. By John Clanton, The Oklahoman
Nightfishing at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009. By John Clanton, The Oklahoman

For pictures of the fishermen and the fish, I used 50mm and 35mm lenses. The Canon 5d markII takes pictures very well at high ISO, so I usually set it at 5000 ISO. Just last night I took a tripod out to the lake and used a 24-70mm lens and a really long shutter speed to photograph the docks. I did almost no color correction to the pictures in the slideshow. There are so many sources of light that are mixing together in the pictures, that I wanted them to look as natural as possible. There’s the moonlight, the yellow lights inside the dock and on the streetlights, and the white and green lights above the dock, lighting up the water. I almost never use a tripod for still photographs. I can’t remember the last time I did, but before I knew it last night, an hour and a half had melted away while I took pictures. When I sat on the rocks on the shore long enough for a spider to crawl up my leg, I knew it was time to leave. You can see the final slideshow by clicking here.

Nightfishing at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009. By John Clanton, The Oklahoman
Nightfishing at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009. By John Clanton, The Oklahoman

-John Clanton