Behind the Photo
Technically this isn’t a wildlife shot. The bass isn’t even alive. But it’s a darn good-looking fish.
The whole project originally started as a commercial advertising shoot. Dad needed a very special big bass that could launch out of the water on cue. He found a taxidermist who could make a fiberglass fish that looked so real no one would believe it was a fake.
To figure out how to best launch the bass, Dad consulted with a movie special-effects guy. He suggested adding an arm to the fish that was connected to a two-way air cylinder. The taxidermist again came to the rescue and attached the arm. Dad was set to test the bass.
Launching the fish took many practice sessions and tweaking. On the first try, the high pressure exerted on the arm ripped it right off the fish. Dad was back to square one and some costly repairs at the taxidermist.
Once the fish was functional again, trials resumed. Finally after hours of fine-tuning, things came together. Two thousand pounds of pressure propelled the fish out of the water perfectly.
About that time, the commercial client canceled the shoot. Dad decided to soldier on and use the photo for his portfolio. After a harrowing canoe ride with his son-in-law, Dad had his background shot. He merged the bass and the background together in Photoshop to create this classic fishing photo.