Engbretson Underwater Photography

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News From Behind the Scenes at Engbretson Underwater Photo and Stories about the Freshwater Environments We Visit.




Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Video: How Crayfish Escape from Hungry Bass



Smallmouth Bass love eating crayfish, but not every crayfish becomes prey.  Sometimes they’re able to fend off vicious attacks by remaining perfectly still, by adopting a defensive posture, and by simply never giving up.  While bass eat plenty of crayfish, in this video, you’ll see the ones that get away-dramatic underwater footage of crayfish escaping certain death from the jaws of hungry bass.  Make sure you check out our other popular videos on this channel of bass eating crayfish.
(Make sure to adjust your YouTube setting to HD 1080 for best viewing results.)
Special thanks to my longtime friend and professional Foley wizard Tommy Kleinschmidt, of Berlin, Germany for the custom soundtrack for this clip.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Striped Bass Underwater

School of Striped Bass (c)Sean Landsman/Engbretson Underwater Photo
Our Sean Landsman has recently captured some amazing new images of Striped Bass in a North Atlantic coastal river.  Swimming with giant schools of stripers, (some of them approaching 30 pounds) Sean has brilliantly photographed these dazzling fish as they move downstream from their over-wintering homes on their way to spawning grounds and later to summer habitats.  See all of Sean's Striped Bass photos in our Striped Bass Gallery, and view all of Sean's exciting underwater images in our Sean Landsman Gallery.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

What Do Fish Think of Humans Who Scuba Dive Into Their Homes?

(c)Engbretson Underwater Photography

I've been photographing fish underwater for twenty five years and this is a question I've thought about a lot. I know what's it's like on the lake bottom taking pictures of fish, but what's it like from the fish's point of view?  How do they process the experience?  I can’t imagine what it’s like for them, but let's try to experience the encounter from their point of view.  Let's imagine for a moment that the roles are reversed.

So imagine you’re sitting in your living room one day and then, out of nowhere, an alien creature enters your home. It doesn’t resemble anything you’ve ever seen before. It has eyes like you do, but there’s very little about its body that you can comprehend. It doesn’t resemble anything you’ve ever seen. It’s enormous in size and you’re not sure where it came from or why it’s in your home. You’re terrified. But…. you might also be a little curious. You’re torn between running for your life, and trying to understand what you’re seeing. Let’s say you choose not to run. You keep your distance and start observing this alien life form. It’s immediately obvious that this creature has severe limitations. It seems to be clumsy and awkward. It doesn’t move with any grace or fluidity. In fact, it seems to have difficulty moving around at all. It’s also slow. This is reassuring to you because you’re certain you can outrun it easily if it approaches too closely.    Then suddenly it moves up to the ceiling of your living room and seemingly disappears. Where did it go? The entire encounter is incomprehensible to you. This is how I imagine the first time encounter would be like if the roles were reversed.

I can’t imagine what fish think of us.  But I’m always impressed with the fish that don’t immediately flee. I don’t know if I would have the nerve to hang around and observe this strange monster in the scenario I described. It’s extremely humbling to realize that these fish are braver and have more courage than I would in their situation.

I think after many repeated encounters, a certain level of comfort develops. While fish may never understand what we are, they know we’re not the otters they see who move with great speed and agility and should be feared. We’re probably regarded more like the way they view snapping turtles. Large, plodding creatures with no real underwater skills who aren’t a threat unless they get very close.

Over time, the fish begin to notice that as we clumsily move through the water, we create a disturbance. Unseen insects and other invertebrates that are hiding on plants or on the lake floor may be exposed or displaced and to the fish, they magically appear for them to eat. Maybe a crayfish is suddenly seen fleeing and again a food item is summoned out of nowhere. They may begin to view us as sorcerers who can conjure up food items by our mere presence. If they arrive at this conclusion, the entire dynamic between fish and us changes. We become viewed as a waiter or sorts. Instead of fearing us, we instead become something that should be paid attention to and even followed around so they’re able to snap up any treats that we may cause to appear.  For this reason, eventually, over time, I would say some of the fish are absolutely gleeful when they see us.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Secret Life of Walleyes

Jacques Cousteau once said, “The best way to observe a fish is to become a fish”. So, to better understand walleyes, we went beneath the surface to see them where they live, and filmed hours of high quality, HD underwater video of walleyes in their natural habitat. This compilation clip takes you beneath the surface to see big walleyes in their world, relaxed and at home.

I think every fisherman and anyone who spends time on the water wonders what it looks like beneath the surface of our lakes. Frankly, many waters are too murky to see well in, and that kind of defeats the purpose of underwater filming. In our underwater videos, we concentrate only on lakes with outstanding visibility. What good is underwater footage if you can’t see the fish clearly, right? In our films, you’ll see well-lit underwater scenes, in sharp focus and in stunning high definition clarity. The underwater world of our lakes and rivers are magnificent places and we wouldn’t be doing them or the fish justice if you we didn’t show them at their best. (Make sure to adjust your YouTube setting to HD 1080 for best results.)
 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

New Underwater Paddlefish Images


Paddlefish (c)Jennifer Idol/Engbretson Underwater Photo
Today, we're excited to add more than a dozen new Paddlefish pictures to our online galleries.  Our Jennifer Idol has beautifully photographed these prehistoric fish on a recent diving trip to Tennessee.  Paddlefish populations are in trouble and are rapidly declining due to pollution, overfishing, and habitat loss (often associated with the construction of dams). These fish are becoming rarer every year, so encountering them and photographing them in the wild is becoming more difficult than ever.  To see all of Jennifer's new Paddlefish images, visit our Paddlefish Gallery here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Amazing Fish Gifts For Your Home or Cottage


We've partnered with Realfish Inland Series for a line of amazing fish floor mats. These are so stunning when you see them in person. The photos of the mats don't do them justice. They make great gifts for fisherman or fish lovers. Our Largemouth Bass floor mat is pictured above.  Realfish USA also has a really cool selection of cutting boards featuring our fish images.  Again, these are high quality made-in-the-USA products.  To see the full line of fish mats and boards, go to Realfish USA and check out their Inland Series.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Long-Time Fish Photographer Joins Our Team

Flathead Catfish (c)Garold Sneegas/Engbretson Underwater Photography
 
Today we welcome Garold Sneegas to our team of expert underwater fish photographers.   Garold is an award winning underwater photographer who's been filming North American native fish species since 1970. His images have appeared in a great many books and magazines and he was one of the first to extensively photograph freshwater environments. His select images are now represented by Engbretson Underwater Photography and can be licensed through our website.

Monday, January 30, 2017

What Are Wisconsin's Clearest Lakes?


Time for my annual list of the clearest lakes in Wisconsin.  Every year, I consult with Jennifer Filbert at the Wisconsin DNR.  Jennifer manages the data for the state-wide citizen's lake monitoring group. They're a network of individuals, usually lake-front property owners who monitor and regularly take a variety of water samples from lakes all across Wisconsin.  The data they compile helps to give us a look at how our lakes are doing. One of the many tasks lake monitors perform is to take regular sechi disc readings.  This is a universal way of assessing and comparing water clarity.  I'm always interested in knowing which Wisconsin inland lakes are the clearest.  Every year, Jennifer sends me a spreadsheet of some really comprehensive data that I'm happy to share with you.  Here are  the lakes that recorded the highest average water clarity in 2016. In short-here are Wisconsin's clearest inland lakes and their average water clarity in 2016:

1)   Crystal Lake, Marquette Co. 30 feet
2)   Lake Owen, Bayfield Co. 26 feet
3)   Blue Lake, Oneida Co. 26 feet
4)   Pine Lake, Waukesha Co. 25 feet
5)   Whitefish Lake, Douglas Co. 25 feet
6)   Lake Lucerne, Forest Co. 24 feet
7)   Paya Lake, Oconto Co. 24 feet
8)   Big Newton Lake, Marinette Co. 23 feet
9)   Black Oak Lake, Vilas Co. 23 feet
10) Maiden Lake, Oconto Co. 22 feet

To see the lake list from 2015, click here.  To see the lake list from 2014, click here.  For the lake list from 2013, click here.  And for the 2012 list of clear lakes, click here.