I was in a boat at the time returning from taking pictures of whales, or at least that’s how I remember it. I can see from the actual image that the fisherman’s boat was on the shore. Funny, memory and photography don’t always match up.
But back to the image, the thing about photographing whales is, they are whales, they don’t pose or do anything particularly expected. In fact they are highly unpredictable, you know, being wild animals and all. I loved watching them, but what I really wanted to shoot was the fishermen.
These guys were fishing in this middle of nowhere bay in Mexico. They were catching bluefin and squid and seahorses and shrimp the size of your head. They were covered in smears and stains from hauling these sea creatures into their boats. They were all clad in bright yellow or orange wader pants and seemed to find it hilarious that I wanted to take their picture. As it’s a whale watching area, there are a few tourists, but I don’t think many had asked to leave the whales to take pictures of the fishermen. They obviously found me silly, but happily showed off their catch.
These guys reminded me of my first trip to Mexico, one of the best trips I’ve ever taken which also produced some of my favorite work. One of the great things I found about shooting in Mexico is how easy people seem to be about having their picture taken. No pretension or self-conscious posing, the people I have met and photographed in Mexico have been the most relaxed about having a stranger point a large camera at them. These guys were no exception. They were incredibly proud of their catch and it came through.
Something I’ve learned about shooting people is that expression is everywhere, and here it’s all about the hands. I like the triumph in this picture and I imagine they’ll be having fish like this for Christmas dinner. This image reminds me to look. Rather than shoot what you are maybe meant to be shooting (whales), shoot what speaks to you (fishermen). Shoot what you see and remember to keep your eyes open. Someone might hand you a fish.
Metadata: Canon 5D Lens EFS50mm f/1.8 1/160 sec at 5.6 ISO 100
Editor’s Note: Though the fish is the prominent player in this photo, it is really the fisherman Kelly is photographing here, which is why I categorized it in the People category. I’ve also tagged it as a Nature shot since I think it’s a great capture of this aquatic creature.