A westslope cutthroat trout briefly rises above the surface while jostling for position in a shallow spawning stream in western Montana.
Behind the lens.
While photographing this spawn, I noticed that the fish tend to push each other around to get the best pools, and again after they've paired off. So I watched and I waited, focusing over the most active individuals.
With time and patience -- and a little luck -- I finally captured the full-face, out-of-the-water portrait that I had pre-visualized. If you look closely below this fish, you can see the black spots of the other fish involved in this tussell.
Because I was working in dappled sunlight and shade, I used a strong fill flash to really bring out the bright colors of the spawning fish.
Troutwestslopecutthroat troutMontanajohn ashley