Saturday, August 9, 2014

CRAWFISHING AT STRAWBERRY RESERVOIR

Strawberry Reservoir is a recreational area on the backside of the Wasatch range, 70 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.  The recreational area includes a large body of water that, it turns out, is loaded with crawfish.  So, at Bei's suggestion, we went crawfishing on Sunday afternoon, August 3rd.  There were six of us on the excursion, Geri and me, Jeff and Bei, Bei's dad, Lin, and of course, Stanley.

Just in case you aren 't familiar with crawfish, here is an individual I photographed just prior to his/her demise.  They average perhaps four to six inches long when stretched out.


Bei is an experienced crawfisher, and soon after we arrived at the reservoir she had started to lay lines into the water.  Pretty simple, really, just tie a chicken drumstick to a line of twine, toss it out perhaps 20 feet off shore, and wait a few minutes. Generally, she could count on anywhere from one to four crawfish hanging on to the drumstick.  Here she is setting lines, as well as a trap, with the help of her dad.




Admittedly, I don't have a great interest in crawfish or in crawfishing, so I spent my time looking for photo opportunities.  I found a few.

The area's geography is fairly stark, featuring rolling, mostly treeless terrain.  Here is a shot of the overall scene.


I spent some of my time looking for detail shots.  Following are a few of those.


I actually like this photo of the backside of a thistle flower, a predominant flora of the area, shot against the cloudy background.  It was a fairly bright afternoon (at least early on), despite the cloud cover, and this was shot at f/13.  I did this to keep the clouds in fairly good focus--or at least recognizable.  The resolution on the flower is actually quite good.  I intentionally set the flower in the lower right of the image because I wanted to feature the clouds as negative space.

I also spotted some spent spiny, grasslike plants and got the following.


Here I wanted to ensure a relatively strong depth of field and set the aperture at f/14.  To ensure a reasonable shutter speed of 1/80 second, I increased the ISO to 250.  I liked the effect this produced, including the green strands of vegetation woven in with the subject plants.

Following is another shot that I rendered in black & white.  This was shot at f/8, which kept only one of the plants in good focus (the one in the lower left of the shot above, by the way).


In most places the shore was lined with stones, though I'm not sure if they are "native" or if they were placed there.  In any event, I wanted to attempt a shot that would incorporate both the stones and the water.  This is what I got.


The focus here was on the larger, algae-coated stone on the left, and the resolution for that stone was quite good.  I took this at f/9, and the stones in the near foreground are out of focus, but I'm OK with that.

As the afternoon wore on, the clouds and threat of rain became the story.  Here are a few of the cloud shots that I got.


In this first shot I wanted to include a foreground component, but I don't think this quite worked.  For some reason, though I kept the shot.




I found the bare hills set against the dark clouds to be appealing.  Most of these were shot at f/8 with plenty of light to keep shutter speeds at a comfortable level.

I liked this next shot because of the power boat scooting across the water.


But my favorite shot was one that Jeff had suggested.  It features Geri apparently rehearsing for an Xterra ad.


I really liked the dramatic nature of the clouds.  In fact I found myself moving over to the left some to position Geri more directly under the most threatening aspect of the clouds.

And Bei did indeed catch the crawfish.  My estimate is that in 2-1/2 hours she bagged around 300.   Yup, 300.

John

1 comment:

  1. I love pictures of the clouds and the one with Geri and the car could be in an ad for sure, Great pictures!!

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