We had the pleasure of chatting with our good friend, Sue Moodie. She is a professional photographer from Alberta, Canada that has been fishing and taking pictures for around 16 years! You will see she spends most of her time in the Rockies shooting her pups and fishy husband, Kyle Moodie.
Flylords: Describe Sue Moodie.
Sue: Polish Immigrant | Proud Canadian | Extroverted Introvert | Photographer | Wife to a Hardcore Fly Fisherman | Dog Mom | Avid Adventurer | Sarcasm is both my weakness + my strength | Lover of all Things Happiness
Flylords: How old were you when you picked up a camera and fly rod? What came first?
Sue: The chicken and the egg conversation. I love this. Fishing definitely came first. Growing up, my family spent our summers on the waters of Ontario’s Georgian Bay. Dad had my sisters and I fishing bass and pike as early as I can remember. Fast forward to meeting my husband 16 years ago and I was introduced into the incredible art of fly fishing and I’ve never looked back. There’s just something so beautiful and intoxicating about being on a mountain river, surrounded by absolute stillness just anticipating the moment when you see the white fins of a bull trout in the clearest water you’ve ever seen. Time stops in those moments. I think it’s what led me to photography. The ability to freeze an epic moment in time.
Flylords: Who or what influences your work?
Sue: Life. Literally. I’ve always been an observer. We live in such an amazing time on this planet and I’ve been so incredibly fortunate to be included in people’s happiest moments.
Flylords: What is the best photo you’ve ever taken?
Sue: Wow, great question! I’ve taken a lot of photos. A LOT. But I have to admit that this one ranks high up there. This is my husband in his purest form. This is where he is his happiest. And if you know Kyle personally, the cigarette hanging out of his mouth is what makes this image super real life for me. This is him. 100%.
Flylords: Tell us about the setup you use for the water and how you carry it.
Sue: I shoot on two Canon 6D bodies with the Sigma 35 1.4 lens for those epic wide shots on one and the 70-200mm on the other body. She’s a beast of a lens to carry, but the compression in the images is so sweeeeeetttt that she’s definitely worth the extra weight. It also allows me to get farther away from my subject which allows the moment to unfold as it should. Naturally.
Both bodies are attached to my HoldFast Camera Swagg harness for ease of switching back and forth; although, I’m quite the sight trying to cross deep rivers. I hold those babies nice and high over my head and gracefully (or so I think) meander my way across. When we hit super shifty crossings, I pack my cameras into our Rockagator Hydric Series 40-Liter Waterproof Backpack. Rockagator has saved us in many situations and we love working with them!
Flylords: What else do you like to take photos of?
Sue: Photographing people is my bread & butter. It’s kind of ironic, most people assume with the amount of fishing we do that landscapes must be something I enjoy too but to be honest, I’ve always had difficulty transferring the same feeling I have while standing in an epic location into the image itself. It doesn’t feel the same to me. Add a human element into this scenario and all of a sudden I have inspiration. And yes, dogs rank high up there too! We wanted to pick breeds that incorporated into our active lifestyle and our Australian Shepherd Zoe and our Shepherd X Moose certainly do that. And they are certainly fun to document on our adventures as you’ll see from my Instagram @suemoodiephoto.adventure.
Flylords: What are the toughest challenges you encounter as a photographer and how do you overcome it?
Sue: Recently I’ve been having a challenge with other photographers asking for my exact locations. This one’s tough because from a business perspective, my mentor always taught me that if you never ask, the answer will always be no so I have massive respect for people stepping out of their comfort zones and having the courage to ask however something has drastically changed in the last few years. I don’t know if it’s integrity or tact but receiving multiple messages minutes after I post a photo that literally asks me for a location pin, is kinda tacky in my opinion. I strongly believe that the reason my clients continue to hire me is that I find them unique and rad locations. This is a big part of my process. This doesn’t mean it’s a big kept secret but it does mean that I put the time in to make sure that my clients have an experience they won’t forget. Kind of like Flylord’s recent article about How to Shoot Photos without blowing up your Spots.
Flylords: Favorite River Snack?
Sue: Beef Jerky, duck jerky. Actually, any jerky. Mmmmm, jerky.
Flylords: If you could choose, where is the one destination you would want to go fish and who with?
Sue: New Zealand and definitely with the husband. And this trip might actually be happening sooner than later as we are hoping to head there next year. It’s time to start checking off that bucket list. Kyle has such a hardcore love of this sport, that it is absolutely mesmerizing to watch him experience a new place! Like a kid in a candy store. And I love to travel so to be honest….anytime we consider where we want to go on vacation, the first question is….how’s the fishing?
Flylords: What is it about Alberta that no other place can offer?
Sue: The abundance of outdoor adventure! We’re 5 minutes from the Famous Bow River, less than 45 minutes to the world renowned Rocky Mountains, and a couple of hours south takes us camping completely off the grid.
Flylords: Would you rather catch a record fish or capture the action of someone landing one?
Sue: Most definitely capturing the action of someone landing one! Don’t get me wrong, catching record fish myself is super AWESOME but as an observer, I’d much rather document that moment for someone else. Everything slows down. The anticipation is incredible. I want you to be able to relive that moment through my images. I want you to be able to feel it again, to remember what the air smelled like and the sounds you heard around you before the moment when you saw the snout ever so carefully glide up to the surface and gulp down on your fly and then the sound of your line… it’s ON!
Flylords: Where do you see yourself in 10 years with photography?
Sue: Still Kicking Ass and Taking Names 😉