I looked for a chance after the first decent rain of autumn – it was just over 0.4 m on the gauge. This seemed an ideal height – and the water was very clear. There weren’t big numbers of fish jumping, but for the first time I was seeing them get all the way up! I saw some make it up pretty much without giving it any ‘air’ – more of a high-powered ‘thrust ‘n scoot’. I could see their backs showing in the water immediately above the spout. Very interesting difference from what I have seen in the past – maybe just the exact height and the great clarity. Quite a few slammed themselves into the back wall – loudly audible above the roar of the water! Others landed on the ledge below me and had to scramble off. I sat for over 3 hours, shooting at what I could hit. For my own comfort, a small 3-legged folding stool and the camera on a monopod are essential kit. As always, I missed the best chances when stopping to check settings, being distracted by dogs and children… best one was when I momentarily took my finger off the shutter to remove a stonefly that was crawling up my neck… and a pair of large fish did a perfectly synchronised dolphin leap centre-stage!!!
A focal length of around 70 mm was used for all the shots. Exposure settings are compromise all the way. You would like 1/2000 sec at f16 and ISO 100. What you have to settle for is 1/1000 sec at f4.5 and ISO 3200 – or thereabouts. I tried 1/800 sec for a while and it was a disaster – too much motion blur. Routinely +0.67 EV was used due to all the white background, but I tried a spell at +1.33 EV which, with hindsight, would have been a better default setting. There wasn’t enough action to go for tracking/panning the fish – just a case of sitting with finger on shutter button, watching the water and waiting. So, focusing was a case of setting it to a point in mid-air and accepting that fish nearer and further away from that point (ie nearly all of them!) would not be in perfectly sharp focus.
I made some animated gif files of sequences, which are in a separate album.