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Monday, October 11, 2010

Photo of the Day - Sockeye Salmon

Today's photo of a sockeye salmon fighting its way up the Adams River is in celebration of one of the largest sockeye salmon runs in recorded history in British Columbia, with an estimated 35 million salmon returning to spawn in B.C.'s rivers and lakes, including more than 15 million in the Adams.

A sockeye salmon going up a shallow side channel of the Adams River near Salmon Arm, BC

Happy shooting!



  1. Wow! Can`t wait to go there on the weekend!

  2. Awesome ... I was there today myself. Didn't have the glass to get in this close, but still managed to get some decent pix. It certainly was an amazing sight - thousands of red/green Sockeyes. And they are supposed to peak over the next 10 days.

  3. Wow, amazing shot. I can really appreciate this shot. I went to the Adams River the first weekend in October. Even though I didn't get any great shots, it was fun being there.

  4. What a great shot John! When were you there? I was there photographing this past Sunday.

    Not being a "Wildlife" photographer I found it pretty challenging. I used a polarizer to cut through the reflections in the water and it was a relatively dark and overcast day with intermittent rain. Even with setting my ISO to 1600 or 3200 and shooting wide open (f/4 - f/5.6) I was still only able to get a shutter speed of 1/40s - 1/80s or so. Needless to say, many of my images suffer from motion blur.

    I'm wondering, do you have any tips on what I should/could have done differently?

  5. Thanks everyone! Marty, that's actually taken with a 70-200, so I wasn't using big glass.

    Tom, it can be very challenging to shoot stuff in water on cloudy days...if I'm caught out in those conditions, then I usually do motion blurs on purpose and forget about trying to capture images of the fish (or whatever) as normal, or I concentrate on photographing salmon out of the water (i.e. dead on the banks, etc). The key with sockeye is to wait for a great sunny day and then get out there when the light is either low and direct (like this shot at 5 pm), or is indirect, yet still bright. Sun brings out the red, brings out the water's various shades, and adds depth and contrast. It also provides those much needed high shutters speeds.

    This image was shot at 1/1000th and f4 on ISO400.

  6. Tom, another way to deal with situations where the sun isn't appearing for you is to create your own sun (i.e. use a flash) do have to be very careful with the angle of the flash so you don't pick up secular highlights or reflections, and it definitely doesn't always work well if you're photographing fish under the water, but it's a handy tool to have at your disposal at a salmon run. I've used a flash in conjunction with a warming polarizer numerous times on the Adams River with great results.

  7. Thank you very much John! I really appreciate everything. I'm already planning to go back next year.