Sunset: The Lucky Fisherman

On my commute home each evening, I pass Buckmaster Pond.  The road parallels the east shore of this small pond, which means that most times of the year, the sun sets on the opposite shore.  And these sunsets have been fantastic.  It’s not uncommon for me to be in mid-tele conversation with someone and to suddenly shout “”I’ll call you back!”, when I happen upon another perfect sunset.  I’ve learned that I need to be a bit more considerate of the caller however, especially when due to my excitement, I’ve lead them to believe I’ve just driven off the road and into the pond itself!  Sorry Mom and Dad.


A Sunset on Buckmaster Pond, Westwood, MA

On this particular day last year, conditions were just right, the sun was glorious, there was a hint of clouds in the sky, and my timing was perfect.  It was serendipity.

I stood behind and watched this fisherman and his friends on the shore for a while, trying different compositions in my viewfinder: portrait and landscape, zooming in and out (with my feet), and learning the pattern of his casts.  I was actually a bit annoyed that he cast in what seemed to me to an awkward manner: holding the rod and reel over his head, but horizontally,  not in a more traditional (to me) vertical position.  For heaven’s sake, hadn’t he ever watched the Outdoor Channel?  When it became clear that that rod was going to stay horizontal, plus given the ever-setting sun, I decided to make do, and started shooting.


The Lucky Fisherman

Employing the rule of thirds, I positioned the fisherman in the lower left corner and the far horizon/sun about a third of the way down in the scene.   My Nikon D90 with a 35mm prime lens was set to aperture priority, f/7.1, 1/1250 sec.  I boosted contrast to silhouette the subject, and saturation to bring up the colors in Corel PSP when I got home.

So here’s the interesting thing – in retrospect, his unusual casts actually helped the image.  Had he held the rod vertically, as I had tried to will telepathically, the top of the rod would have been lost against the darkness of the far shore.  In this position, it roughly parallels the horizontals of the shore.  I think it works well.  In fact, this is one of my most popular photos on my website, garnering thousands of visits and many supportive comments, for which I’m very grateful.

So I guess the moral of the story is this – trust your instincts when you think “there’s a picture in there”, as I like to say.  Do your best to compose and consider settings, conditions, technical and aesthetic aspects.  But don’t be discouraged – sometimes you do get lucky.                               –  Posted by Ed

About Ed Spadoni "Thoughts and opinions, resources and experiences… for emerging photographers everywhere."
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9 Responses to Sunset: The Lucky Fisherman

  1. These pics are just stunning..Eliza

  2. I am still laughing over the first paragraph. I have irritated a few friends from time to time with, “OMG, there’s a hawk! Be quiet for a minute!” I’ve been known to give a great play-by-play if I have my blue tooth in my ear;-) I’m sure I concentrate better when I’m not running my mouth, but I’m used to kids running circles around me while I’m trying to take flower pictures, so…

    OK, really not to lose focus on the point of the post! Those are some fabulous images!!! Follow your gut if you think there’s a shot is a great message.

  3. Don Miller says:

    Great capture of one of my favorite subjects – sunset. the man fishing adds great interest. The caption The Lucky Fisherman to me doesn’t fit. With the fisherman looking straight down the rod and so focused on casting/fishing, the picture to me says Last cast into the setting sun or Just one more please! – The picture makes me think the fisherman wishes it was 3pm and he still had hours to fish. He’s oblivious to the sunset.

    For sure you are a lucky photographer to happen on such a wonderful subject to shoot.

    • Ed Spadoni says:

      Thanks Don. Writing a post title, like writing a photo caption, can be a challenge. In fact, I think it’s really an art. Thanks for your suggestions and for visiting 2Guys. Ed

  4. Beth Branyon says:

    Very nice images Ed! If the fisherman had been positioned any other way it would not have been as dramatic.

  5. Howard Hull says:

    Beautiful photos, Ed. You may call it luck, but it takes a great eye to recognize a great photo op, I think. The sunset with the fisherman is superb, nice work!

  6. Rodney Daly says:

    Lucky Fishermen AND Lucky Photographer… no luck in the capturing of the photo… that was ALL skill in my opinion… just lucky that your telepathic powers didn’t work on this day as your assessment is dead on and a vertical cast would have made the photo a little less extraordinary. I am sure it would have still been a great photo, but the horizontal cast makes it even better!
    AND, to me when I read the title and saw the photo… I instantly thought “this fisherman has a big one on the line and he is about to reel it in or be pulled in!”( I always look for the funny though) I am not a fisherman, but that was my vision in my head, and I LOVED it. Well done Ed.
    THANK YOU for inviting me into your photographic world.
    cheers, Rodney Daly (from Jean’s pool of travelers)

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