Woodcock and Silver Wire - Submerged

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William Anderson
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Woodcock and Silver Wire - Submerged

Post by William Anderson » Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:32 pm

I have a series a flies that I've tried to photograph submerged to help illustrate the importance of the underbody. This will come into play more with some of the different furs and silks, but to start I tried the set-up with a couple wire bodied flymphs that I've shown before. I suspect this will be easier to just post the pics and then try to explain what I've done, what worked and what didn't.

Woodcock Silver Red Fox Aussie 549F

Hook: #14 upeyed nymph hook
Tying Thread: 14/0 Pale Yellow
Hackle: Woodcock shoulder hackle
Body: red fox underfur twisted in silver wire.
Thorax: medium coarse Aussie opossum.

This is the fly as typically shot with my little photo set-up.
Image

This is the acrylic tub with ceramic magnets superglued to the side to hang on the metal post that usually holds the tweezers used for the other fly shots. So the lighting and background will be the same, hopefully providing some continuity from image to image. It was a plan.
Image

The fly shot in the tub without the water added.
Image

The fly with the tap water added. The bubbles clinging to the thorax/hackle area were greater and lessened by the time pics were worked out. The frustrating thing is the question of all the micro bubbles clinging to every surface and obscuring the materials. I've seen pics of nymphs underwater with this kind of effect, which I thought were crappy pics because I couldn't see the details of the nymph. I'm not so sure that is typical and I'm not at all convinced that these micro bubbles are typical of what happens to an artificial under water. To the contrary, most images that I've seen of flies underwater are quite clear, but there are some images showing these microbubbles. You'll get a better idea of what this does when I post the other images.
Image

EDIT: 12-06-12 NEW IMAGE USING DISTILLED WATER
Image

This is the fly photographed under typical mounting with the body wetted with a drop or two from a bodkin. It does do something to show the underbody through the dubbing, but is a very poor representation of what the body and hackle do when the fly is submerged. I have dropped flies in glass cups, and into small saucers to see the flies materials wet and better understand how they compliment one another.
Image

I have not seen them up this close before. With each fly that I have put into this container the hackles and dubbing seem to spread and almost repel from the body, as lively as I have seen with my naked eye, but more under a macro lens is even more revealing. I'm looking forward to trying different dubbing materials and combinations to see if there is something actually revealing from this process. At present, I find it a disappointment in many ways. There are flies that I have photographed by dropping water on them in the conventional way and the underbodies are more apparent than these images show.

But it's a start. I'll post a few more soon and maybe something useful will come of it. And then on to the speculations/suspicions about relevance, moving water and lighting in real life circumstances.

This is a fly I posted recently and hoped the wire underbody would be more evident, or at least something useful would be revealed. What is clear is the difference between the dubbing material dispersed from the body, and the micro bubbles that cling to every fiber. I have to wonder if stream water would have different properties, or if distilled water would create a different effect. Maybe filling the little tub with gin or vodka would be different. All to be determined.

Hen and Hare on copper wire 1530

Image

Image

EDIT 12-06-12: NEW IMAGE ADDED
Image

Image

Any and all comments, criticisms and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

EDITED IMAGES: THE INTENT OF THE POST WAS TO SHOW THE UNDERBODY WHICH FAILED DUE TO THE USE OF TAP WATER. THE USE OF ROOM TEMP DISTILLED WATER ALLOWED FOR A MUCH BETTER REPRESENTATION OF THE MATERIALS. UNFORTUNATELY, I LOST THE BENEFITS OF SHOOTING THE HYDROFUGE FROM THE TIME IT TOOK AND THE KNOCKING AROUND OF THE TANK. ALL ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED.

w
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Mataura mayfly
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Re: Woodcock and Silver Wire - Submerged

Post by Mataura mayfly » Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:59 pm

William! Just another example of why I love this place. :D
Kim is always giving me a hard time about drinking glasses full of water containing a fly or two sitting on the kitchen counter. She is worried someone might pick them up and gulp them down :o hasn't happened yet........

This is a brilliant bit of scientific research you are undertaking for us and I hope to see it unravel into something truly unique and original.

I thought I had the micro bubble question answered for you, until I saw the second fly. :( . You see Possum fur is hollow, like Polar bear and is second only to Polar fur for thermal insulation properties because of this little known snippet. Cut the hairs from their roots and you end up with tiny tubes still sealed at the tip end, capable of holding microscopic amounts of air, toss said dubbing in water and the air will want to escape and rise as the water pressure forces it from the tubes......... hare fur is not hollow, so that blows my theory!

If your tank were a little longer and you could drag the fly, or the water disturbed, the air would soon leave the dubbing I feel. What happens if you tap the side of the tank? Does it fall off the magnets and you swear for having wet feet, or do the bubbles leave the dubbing and rise to the surface?

Going to be the beginnings of a very interesting thread I feel. Thank you for going to the trouble. :D
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Re: Woodcock and Silver Wire - Submerged

Post by gingerdun » Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:05 pm

William,
This is impressive. As usual you make the difficult seem easy. Photographing submerged flies has been elusive or unsuccessful for many of us.

Interesting that there is so little difference between the fly dry and the fly submerged, once the bubbles disperse. That may not be true for all patterns.

One key question is how long the bubbles take to disappear. Pete would dry the fly periodically, but I don't know how effective that would have been for bubble retention, which he believed made the fly seem more alive.

He often referred to "gin-clear" streams, so I'd go with that rather than vodka. :lol:
Great work!
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Re: Woodcock and Silver Wire - Submerged

Post by Ron Eagle Elk » Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:30 pm

William,

Impressive is the word that fits your post. Well chosen, Lance. First of all, your flies are just drop dead gorgeous, as usual. Your very impressive (there's that word again) set up for photographing flies, dry, wet and submerged is a treat to behold. I can foresee you being swamped with flies from other tiers so you can give them a dunk in your tank. Well done.
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Re: Woodcock and Silver Wire - Submerged

Post by hankaye » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:05 pm

dub-ya, Howdy;

Tap water has alot of different 'stuff' in it that
stream water does not. That said, I'm thinking that may
or may not be the cause of a majority of the bubbles.
Have you sloshed them (flies), around a bit to dislodge the
pesky effervesiance. Or, ... perhaps a small drop of detergent
to break the surface tension, just putting words on screen as
they pop into this empty wharehouse I call a skull.
I'm sure that you have probably thought of these ideas by now...
Let us know what you figure out, please.

hank
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Re: Woodcock and Silver Wire - Submerged

Post by William Anderson » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:35 pm

Mataura mayfly wrote:
I thought I had the micro bubble question answered for you, until I saw the second fly. :( . You see Possum fur is hollow, like Polar bear and is second only to Polar fur for thermal insulation properties because of this little known snippet. Cut the hairs from their roots and you end up with tiny tubes still sealed at the tip end, capable of holding microscopic amounts of air, toss said dubbing in water and the air will want to escape and rise as the water pressure forces it from the tubes......... hare fur is not hollow, so that blows my theory!

If your tank were a little longer and you could drag the fly, or the water disturbed, the air would soon leave the dubbing I feel. What happens if you tap the side of the tank? Does it fall off the magnets and you swear for having wet feet, or do the bubbles leave the dubbing and rise to the surface?
Thanks, Jeff. I think its an interesting trial and I'll fool with it until I figure it out. Your thoughts on hollow fibers vs. solid fibers is very interesting. I would have never thought of that. It doesn't account for the bubbles sufficating the hackles though. I did try aggitating the water a bit and that released some bubbles and created others. I glued a fine metal plate on the bottom of the tub, and the hat pin, which the alligator clip is attached to has a very small strong magnet glued to it, so the introduction of the fly into the water is done with pliers, directely down into the water with the fly already held in the clip. That way it will catch the "hydrofuge" as Hidy called it and show the larger bubble held in the thorax/hackle base he considered so important. I'm afraid there is some testing to be done with the water. The tap water is poured through a PUR filter, but I have no idea what all is in the tap water. Whatever it is seems close to Champagne.

Thanks for your very kind remarks. I'll keep at it.

w
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Re: Woodcock and Silver Wire - Submerged

Post by Mataura mayfly » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:42 pm

William, you know what causes the bubbles in a champagne glass don't you? ;)
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Re: Woodcock and Silver Wire - Submerged

Post by gingerdun » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:43 pm

William already knows this, and so do a lot of others who might read this post, so forgive me if this is redundant.

Pete Hidy used the scientists term "hydrofuge" when describing the water-resistance that enabled some fibers to collect air bubbles when submerged, as William's photo shows. Turns out that some of the oldest dubbings such as seal, English hare's mask and mole are high in hydrofuge, whereas cotton, for example, is not.

The theory is probably impossible to prove, but practical fishing experience tends to demonstrate that reflective air bubbles help make the flies more trout-tempting, just as do other reflective, shiny materials such as mylar, tinsel, flash, beads, and the like. So while the bubbles might make the photographs of submerged flies a little hard to read, they are a sign of high-quality tying materials doing their time-honored duty, making the flies look more attractive, and as some would argue, looking more alive.

Now that William has mastered the challenge of photographing submerged flies, we may see more examples of "hydrofuge." Next summer, scuba gear and a waterproof camera? :D
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Re: Woodcock and Silver Wire - Submerged

Post by William Anderson » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:47 pm

gingerdun wrote: Interesting that there is so little difference between the fly dry and the fly submerged, once the bubbles disperse. That may not be true for all patterns.

One key question is how long the bubbles take to disappear. Pete would dry the fly periodically, but I don't know how effective that would have been for bubble retention, which he believed made the fly seem more alive.

He often referred to "gin-clear" streams, so I'd go with that rather than vodka. :lol:
Great work!
Lance, thank you too for such support. I'll have to see if simply letting a fly sit for an hour removes some of the bubbles as opposed to the seconds between immersion and taking the pics. That might get to the underbody issue I initially wanted to address, but it would negate the "hydrofuge" bubble I was trying to capture. Your father made a big deal about drying the fly, then giving a delicate tug to put the fly underwater, creating that important bubble. I remember in one of the notebooks from his collection he included two flies and a toothpick with the expectation that one would give those flies a dunk to appreciate the bubble he describes. I wanted to catch that and you'll see in a couple shots that it did work. This is why I find the amadou patch so important. I use it constantly on the water to keep flies up in the surface and hopefully achieve the effect Pete was getting. I don't know if it works for me, but I do know keeping a fuzzy soft-hackle in the film works like a charm, dead drifted and upstream.

I hate gin...so I'm sure I would feel better about sacrificing a bit over using the vodka...which would catch some evil looks from my better half. :D :D

w
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Re: Woodcock and Silver Wire - Submerged

Post by William Anderson » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:55 pm

gingerdun wrote:William already knows this, and so do a lot of others who might read this post, so forgive me if this is redundant.

Pete Hidy used the scientists term "hydrofuge" when describing the water-resistance that enabled some fibers to collect air bubbles when submerged, as William's photo shows. Turns out that some of the oldest dubbings such as seal, English hare's mask and mole are high in hydrofuge, whereas cotton, for example, is not.

The theory is probably impossible to prove, but practical fishing experience tends to demonstrate that reflective air bubbles help make the flies more trout-tempting, just as do other reflective, shiny materials such as mylar, tinsel, flash, beads, and the like. So while the bubbles might make the photographs of submerged flies a little hard to read, they are a sign of high-quality tying materials doing their time-honored duty, making the flies look more attractive, and as some would argue, looking more alive.

Now that William has mastered the challenge of photographing submerged flies, we may see more examples of "hydrofuge." Next summer, scuba gear and a waterproof camera? :D
Lance, you're making it difficult to keep up, I just missed your post as I was writing.

I'll get some distilled water and see if that makes a difference, and honestly...I'll try some gin, which may ruin the hydrofuge effect, but might cast a clearer rendition of the materials. I am looking forward to putting lots of different fur combinations in the tub to see what the effects are. You're exactly right about the different furs. Maybe there will be some visual record by the end of this. I'll try to share as much as possible. At least we will have some information...useful or not, accurate or not, but something to poke a stick at, so to speak.
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