Hyperfocal Focus

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Sometimes to get it all in focus, it has to all be out of focus.

Shooting photos you often find yourself wanting an object in the foreground and an object in the background both in focus. This can be a frustrating situation. Inevitably, focusing on either the foreground or the background leaves the other out of focus. There is a way to make it happen but it requires putting on your thinking cap.

It’s called hyperfocal focus and yes there’s going to be math, sort of. You may have noticed that on the barrel of your DSLR lens there is a scale that shows how far from the camera your point of focus falls. That tool is handier than you might think. Here’s how you use it to get the shot.

First focus on the foreground object that you want sharp. At this point it doesn’t matter whether you use auto of manual focus. Take a look at the scale. Let’s say your foreground focus is at three feet. Now focus on the background object that you want sharp. Let’s say it’s at nine feet. We now know we need to carry six feet of focus.

That six feet of sharpness is called depth of field or DOF. Literally the depth of our field of focus. We control the DOF with our aperture. Smaller apertures like F16 or F22 carry a wider DOF. Larger apertures like F2.8 or F4 have narrow DOF. If you’re confused don’t panic. Stay with me. The higher the F# the smaller the aperture. It’s a mathematic formula and I could explain it but it’s not important for this exercise and it’s frankly too much information.

So what we need is an F# that will carry six feet of DOF. Now it’s time to set your camera to manual focus! if you spent a whole lot of money on your lens it may have a scale that shows you the DOF for each F#. If so, that’s great. Choose an F# and set your focus so that three feet and nine feet fall between the brackets. If you don’t have the scale, don’t panic, just set your lens for the highest F#. If you want to get really technical, consult this nifty DOF calculator.

OK, I promised math so here it is. The thing about DOF is it’s a geometric progression. That means that as you increase your DOF by stopping down your aperture, you get twice

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Crazy Water on the Dean

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You will be reading more in the coming weeks about my trip to British Columbia to fish the Dean River.

In every post I will likely mention the tough fishing conditions. In order for you to really understand what I mean by “tough fishing conditions” I put together this little video.

I have never seen a river so crazy high. The fact that we fished the very next day and the fact that we caught fish that week is a testament to what a truly remarkable river the Dean is. I can’t wait to go back but I hope I have better conditions.

Check out the video!

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The V Grip Haul

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Watch The Video!


Again, this is seriously advanced technique and it’s going to take practice. However, if you can master and employ all the techniques from the last five videos together you will cast like a rock star and the wind will be your bitch. Now, doesn’t that sound nice? I hope this video series has been helpful. I look forward to seeing the hero shots of all those salt water fish you’re going to catch!

Check out the video!

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New Sightline Provisions Dog Collars and More: Video

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I’m pretty excited about the new Sightline Provisions Dog Collars!

My Josie was an early adopter. Her SLP color sported a permit badge. Permit is her nickname because no one can catch her. It’s the coolest dog collar I’ve ever seen. Dogs aren’t the only ones getting cool new stuff though. There are pendants, rings and cool new designs.


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Choosing a line for your switch rod Part 2: Choosing a line

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Before we talk about specific lines and how they fish, let’s take a minute to understand the switch rod. If you have not read “Part 1: Understanding lines and line tapers” you can find it HERE. I think you will find the information helpful. The switch rod is a product of evolution. A decade ago the average length of a two- handed rod was 14 feet and the average line weight was 9. As two-handed casting has become more popular and its application more varied, the average two-hander has become shorter and lighter. The modern two-hand rods are less fatiguing, beautifully balanced and more versatile, allowing Spey-style casting in tighter casting situations. The switch rod adds to this adaptation the option of single-hand casting and high sticking. Things that couldn’t be accomplished with longer heavier rods. This makes the switch rod the most versatile rod ever made and the most confusing. It is a rare angler who uses their switch rod in every application it can handle. A switch rod is really a short, light weight Spey rod. Although it will accommodate overhand casting, even with traditional lines, its taper is designed for two-handed Spey casting. Therefore, in most applications, it will perform its best with a line designed for two-handed casting. When matched with the right line switch rods are not only versatile but incredibly effective. A lot of switch rods spend their lives in the closet because they got matched with the wrong line. Often, folks coming from a single-hand casting background will set their switch rod up with a traditional line for single-hand overhead casting and find that it performs poorly. This is because the rod is under lined and it’s an easy mistake to make. Switch rod and Spey rod weights are rated on the AFTTA … Continue reading

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Fill Flash For Cooler Photos

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If you have a dedicated flash for your camera, it can be pretty easy. Here’s how to start. Most DSLR cameras have a flash output adjustment. It allows you to turn up and down the flash power in thirds of stops: -.3 being one-third stop darker than a normal exposure, – 1 being a full stop darker. There is a similar adjustment for ambient light exposure. If you’re not sure how to set these functions check you manual. For a nice natural fill flash look, set your flash in TTL mode and start with a setting of +1 for ambient exposure and -2 for flash exposure. Check the results on the view screen and adjust up for a brighter image or down for a darker image. Experiment and see how the image changes. Your first

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Hopper Time: 6 Favorite Patterns

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By Louis Cahill

What time is it boys and girls? Time to fish hoppers!

I don’t know if there is any kind of trout fishing more rewarding than fishing hoppers. Big bugs and big splashy takes under sunny summer skies. It doesn’t get much better than that. I’m headed west in a few days and it has me looking over my terrestrial box for the usual suspects. With that in mind, I thought I’d share what I’m thinking.

Here are my current 6 favorite grasshopper patterns

Dave’s Hopper

I’m going old school for my first choice. I’ve been fishing this fly for as long as I can remember and it works as well today as it ever did. No space-age polymers in this baby but it sure gets eaten.

Reeces Beefcake Hopper

Where’s the beef? Right here. This spindly bug rides low in the water like the real thing and is tough as nails. It needs to be, ‘cause it gets chewed on.

Parachute Hopper

Another classic, but I have caught so many fish on this fly I can’t see taking it out of the rotation. It’s an easy pattern to tie as well.

Hog Caller Hopper

If this doesn’t get their attention, nothing will. A bright foam pattern that

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Fly Fishing Alpine Lakes

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Fly Fishing on alpine lakes for trout has become one of my favorite ways to spend a day on the water.

There’s something really special about making long accurate casts to rising trout on the move. It’s very much a team effort between the fly angler and the oarsman. Often you can’t just sit in one spot and expect to get shots at rising trout. More times than not the oarsman has to stealthily row along with the cruising fish, pacing himself with the trout and their heading, so the angler can make a pin point cast just ahead of the trout.

Cutthroat Trout Release on a Montana Alpine Lake
Timing the rhythm of the trout rising is a key success factor for the angler as well. Get on the water early for the best dry fly fishing. Once the sun gets up high in the horizon most of the trout will stop feeding on top and move to deeper water. They do this for two reasons.

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Bonefishing, Make a Tight Line Presentation: Video

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By Louis Cahill

One of the most important skills for a saltwater angler to master is the tight line presentation.

It’s important, in any saltwater fly fishing situation, that when the fish first sees your fly it’s moving in a lifelike manner. That can’t happen if there is slack in your line. You have to learn how to control your running line and make a slack free presentation.


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Fly Fishing: 6 Sight-Fishing Tips for Shallow Water Trout

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Fly fishing during the fall and winter months can really open the door to some great sight-fishing opportunities for fly anglers targeting trout. Generally, most of our wadable trout streams run low and clear from the lack of rainfall this time of year. If you keep your eyes peeled for trout and wade with extra stealth, there’s always a good chance to sneak up and sight-fish to the biggest trout of your life. With the brown trout moving up many watersheds in preparation for the spawn, and the rainbows or cutthroats aggressively feeding to put on weight for the cold winter ahead, the fall can provide fly fisherman the best trout fishing of the year. My clients and I catch some of our biggest trout during the fall and winter by wading in close to the big trout we’ve spotted and then making precise presentations to our targets. That being said, just because you can see the trout, doesn’t mean they’re always easy to catch. Some days, the trout will make you want to pull your hair out as you painfully watch your flies ignored over and over, as they drift within inches of the trout you’re sight-fishing to. Below are six tips to help fly anglers catch more shallow water trout while sight-fishing during the fall and winter months.

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