The Way Of The Trout

Brian Pelkey

Saint Regis Falls, United States

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Since the unveiling of my latest “honey shot” published in Adirondack Life Magazine’s prestigious 2012 Annual Calendar under the alias of “April”, I have been asked on several occasions how I managed to take this shot. On just about all of my trout shots my camera is pre-focused and I am just hoping that trout will rise where my camera is pointed. It is not totally random…I know that trout are frequently rising or jumping in this location which means two things at this time of year: 1) There is something in this general location that the trout want….food and over gravel beds where streams enter lakes and ponds this will be fish eggs or small prey fish spawning; and 2) There is a large predator (most likely a salmon or large rainbow trout that is either protecting eggs or the spawning area or conserving food or potential food for itself). Anyhoo, on the day this photo was taken, I wasn’t focused on this trout at all. This is a large trout and I never saw it coming. My camera was pre-focused, held at water level, and pointed at a spot maybe 15’ away from me in this same direction. This trout came from underneath my anchored canoe..I had been anchored in this spot for at least an hour remaining still so the salmon, trout, or prey species would gain confidence that neither I nor my canoe was a threat. I really have no clue what this trout was thinking, I only know that large rainbow trout are territorial beyond belief, and they would rather chase competitors or food than breathe. To the best of my knowledge (and few would have more hours of observation on this sort of behavior than me….a fact that I am not proud of LOL), I would say the trout thought my camera was either food or a competitor and decided to either eat it or chase it. When this sort of decision is made by rainbow trout, they accelerate toward the object quickly…somewhere in this acceleration, the large trout determined that it had made an awful mistake and tried to abort the mission (Thank you, Lord!). One problem…not as easy to stop as it is for these swimming machines to accelerate. So the large trout hit the surface of the water right in front of the camera…now remember I am in a trance-like focus (like waiting for Doc Holiday to draw his gun on me out in front of the saloon in Dodge) on the water surface 15’ out in front of me. This trout scared me half to death. Only experience can explain why I didn’t drop the camera in the water. I did scream and I must have relaxed the pressure of my thumb on the shutter release button and then applied pressure again that caused my camera to refocus on this trout and the flash went off. All I remember is being frightened…laughing…and grabbing for paper towels to first dry off the camera and then myself. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I took a photo worth looking at….I never even checked while out on the water..I don’t even remember taking a photo at all. Ha,Ha. Well, when I downloaded the day’s session off my camera and began the task of deleting or saving images…I was amazed when I saw this file….all I could think was “Denouement” Needless to say…a photo that I will always love and wonder why I didn’t think “Climax!” I’m sure every nature photographer has similar type stories…life is unpredictable, particularly wildlife!!

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This photo was taken within the Adirondack State Park in Upstate, NY.

See more of my Adirondack landscape and wildlife photos at It is my desire to showcase the beauty found in the Adirondacks and advocate the preservation of wildlife. Thank you for looking. Have a great day!!!

Just click on the image below to visit my website. Enjoy the photos and thank you for your comments.

Artwork Comments

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