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Cormorant Fisherman | by TheFella
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Cormorant Fisherman

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Sometimes you see a photograph and it compels you to visit a place. When you get there, you know you won't get the same type of photo, but you'll probably try anyway.


After seeing a photo of a cormorant fisherman, most likely on the Li River, I decided I wanted to go there and photograph that. Sure enough, that's what I did. I was pretty happy with the result, but it wasn't all fun and games in the attempt to get it.

Myself and Greg had been staying with Fun Sam in Yangshuo, Guilin when we mentioned that one of these aforementioned fishermen were on our list of things to photograph. He knew of just the spot, but told us we'd have to get up early. After making him get up and drive us around at 04:00 for couple of days now, he soon realised that this would be no problem for us.


We arrived on location around 04:30 and this fisherman arrived out of the darkness from seemingly nowhere. This was just before sunrise in a reasonably remote location, so light was certainly not abundant. I got my camera out and decided to shoot with the 50mm, as it was so dark. I ended up shooting wide open. At about ISO 6400.


This is when the problems started. Because of the temperature, my lens was completely misted up. I wiped it clean and it misted up almost immediately. I rolled off a few shots, but it was hopeless. I kept trying to get a few exposures, while also getting my other lenses out and wiping them down. The fisherman was getting ready to head off and this was a race against time!


After a few average shots with the 50, I bailed and went for the wide angle. This had started to clear somewhat, partly due to my wiping and partly due to the changing conditions. I ran down to the water's edge, probably getting my trainers soaked in the process and snapped away as he backed off from the shore.


This was such a panicked shoot. Probably the one of the most heart-racing ones I've done so far, as I wanted this shot so much. I reviewed the shots later and I was very happy with a lot of the ones I managed to capture.


Something that I really like about this shot, apart from the obvious, is the fantastic diagonal line that has been fortuitously formed by the pole held by the fisherman and the slope of the karst mountain behind him.


I managed to capture another angle using my phone. It's not as good, but I enjoyed taking a lot of mobile shots on that trip; the benefits being instant results and also being able to keep people back home updated (especially as Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China). If you want to keep track of my mobile shots, feel free to follow me on Instagram.


I hope you enjoy this shot; it ended up being a lot of mental and physical effort!


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Canon EOS 5D Mark II / ISO 400 / f/4.0 / 17-40mm @ 33mm / HDR

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Taken on May 29, 2012