“Water Views: Rivers, Lakes, Oceans”

David Ondaatje’s Book Reveals Stunning Aerial Photographs—and Concern for Our Waters

Recently, Montana-based Winston Rod Company announced the release of “Water Views: Rivers, Lakes, Oceans” (Monacelli, June 2022, 240 pages) by David Ondaatje, the company’s chairman. The book features a collection of Ondaatje’s stunning new aerial photographs, including fly fishing images he captures while exploring wilderness areas, rivers, lakes and oceans with a fly rod over the past several years. 

Ondaatje has had concurrent careers in business and the arts as a filmmaker, writer and photographer. Experimenting with the latest drone technology, he takes you on a visual journey offered in a series of chapters with titles ranging from “Beaches” and “Waves” to “Wilderness” and “Western Trout.” 

In the book, Ondaatje shares striking images of the dramatic coastlines of California, the rugged beaches of Oregon and the meandering rivers of Montana and British Columbia. The lensman also captures Lake Tahoe and Lake Como, as well as the emerald waters of the Bahamas and Belize. 

Ondaatje’s methods reveal divergent waterscapes taken from unique aerial vantage points. He also admits that piloting and shooting an aerial camera near water presents challenges and finding a dry place from which to take off and land can be tricky. 

“Sure, there are nerve-wracking moments and unexpected landings, but a wonderful story goes with each photograph,” Ondaatje writes.

V“Water Views: Rivers, Lakes, Oceans” features a collection of author David Ondaatje’s stunning aerial photographs, including fly fishing images taken while exploring the wilderness.

These short anecdotes dovetail nicely with images that reflect a photographer’s deep affection for the natural world and the mesmerizing power of water. “Water Views” weaves a candid personal narrative of discovery and search for beauty beyond fly fishing. Ondaatje discusses the evolution of his passion for aerial photography, as well as a concern for the fragility of water resources posed by a changing climate.

“Over the past few years while traveling in the USA, Canada and abroad, I have taken thousands of aerial photographs when on, in and near the water,” writes Ondaatje. “I never thought of my aerial photographs as documenting a slowly disappearing natural world, but many of the places that I have photographed in this book have already changed.”

“It’s a beautiful world,” he writes. “Let’s protect it.”

The author laments the disastrous effects of “overnetting,” which has harmed steelhead and salmon populations. He also expresses alarm for rising water temperatures, which threaten freshwater fish populations throughout the West. 

“It is important that we encourage government to act now and protect marine ecosystems and coldwater fisheries so that the water views in this book aren’t simply a reflection of a world we once had.”

A portion of sales of “Water Views” supports conservation organizations like the Big Hole River Foundation, Montana Trout Unlimited, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and other conservation groups dedicated to protecting and preserving aquatic habitat. 

“It’s a beautiful world,” he writes. “Let’s protect it.”

Ondaatje’s book serves as both a celebration of nature’s wonders and a strong and creative wakeup call about the need for bold and protective action, and the tragic consequences our complacency will doubtless bring. 

“Water Views” is available for purchase (retail price: $45) on winstonrods.com, from authorized Winston dealers and from bookstores everywhere.

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