When I was growing up, my mother kept a steady stack of photo albums in the front room of our house. Within those pages were shots of anything and everything: birthdays, sports events, aunts, uncles, cousins, the list goes on. These albums of photos were not just thrown in a box to be buried in the closet under old jackets and board games, but instead they were used as a center point to our home. The extra special ones were usually hung on the refrigerator or destined for art projects and collages down the road. Thousands upon thousands of 3×5’s were collected and organized by event or season over the years. Some were from point-and-shoot disposable cameras, and some were from my father’s old Minolta.
I think there may have also been some polaroids thrown in the mix. The point is, it didn’t matter what the camera was because it wasn’t about the camera or the gear or the film choice, and it certainly wasn’t about the composition or the lighting. Just being in focus was a full-blown win. Neither was it about taking photos in exotic destinations—honestly, most of them were taken in the backyard or the driveway. Nor was it about the brand of clothes we were wearing or if our hair was looking good—all that mattered was capturing the exact and very real moment in time. To this day, these photos still hold the most value to me.
If you think back far enough yourself, maybe you can recall a photo taken in the past that means quite a bit to you—because the memories contained more so than the technical beauty of the image or anything else involved. Just raw seconds in time captured only to be remembered for the subject matter and nothing else. These days our photo albums are viewed on our phones with apps full of images that flash by in milliseconds on our tiny screens.
All that being said, here is a collection of images taken in some pretty cool places with a good amount of thought and preparation—and probably too much gear then is necessary. Regardless, these images mean something to me because fly fishing and capturing memories mean something to me.
These are seconds in time I chose to capture because I genuinely felt they were worth saving. Steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula, bonefish in Cuba, redfish in Florida, trout all over the west, the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, I have loads of lousy lighting, out of focus, horribly-composed shots, but these are the ones that have most recently made my mom’s refrigerator.
Left Image – We arrived in the dark to find a run unmanned. Jean Marie releases her first wild steelhead caught on the swing. Early morning on the Hoh River on the Olympic Peninsula.
These are seconds in time I chose to capture because I genuinely felt they were worth saving.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, take photos that mean something to you and forget about the rest. Don’t worry about fancy gear, don’t stress about amazing lighting or if your image will get likes on the internet.
Capture memories of doing the things you love with people you enjoy being with and do as much fishing as you can in the meantime. And if you can print a photo or two and toss it on the fridge—do it. It’s good for the soul. – Dave Reilly
David Reilly is a fly fishing photographer currently based in Idaho though he frequently travels the American west with his lady and their dog via a flatbed truck camper. A staff photographer for Far Bank Enterprises, he most enjoys observing others in their respective elements, waiting for the action to happen naturally—that’s when the shutter gets clicked. Always in pursuit of fish, especially in faraway places—preferably with salt flats and cold beers included.