Preserving the memories of your hunt with quality photos in the field

As I write this column at the beginning of April, the weather is showing signs that spring is finally coming to the North Country. Yesterday I was outside in a tee shirt washing the road salt off from the vehicles. It was fifty degrees and sunny, a welcomed break from winter. We’ll still have some cold days, but hopefully there will be a lot more warm ones to come. The deer seem to be doing better around here. We got a hard crust on the snow in early March that allowed the deer to walk on top of the snow. It was a blessing for the deer as they have been able to wander around and get at food that they hadn’t been able to get at all winter. I’m still seeing quite a few of last year’s fawns and they look to be in pretty good shape. I’ll be praying that the snow disappears in a hurry.

This month, I’d like to talk about a subject that may seem a little mundane to some hunters, but I think is very important and that is taking good photo’s. A good photograph of your game will preserve the memories of the hunt forever. You may not choose to have your deer, bear, moose etc. mounted, but a good framed photo is the next best thing to be able to show family, friends and other hunters your trophy. I think back to when I first started hunting and the deer my father and I shot. We do not have one single picture of them. I never took a picture of one of our deer until I was eighteen years old. Then when I started taking a few pictures, they were just quick snapshots in a truck or hanging on a game pole. They are not pictures I would want to frame.

Since I was always crazy about hunting, I started looking at old hunting and historic books about the North Woods. I was always intrigued buy the pictures of all the deer hanging on the game poles or on a wagon. Everything in the past becomes history and thankfully there were some people with enough foresight to record it on film, for generations to enjoy. If you take good photos of your game, your family will be able to enjoy its history.

My business partner and cameraman, Chris thought it might be a good to give people a few tips on taking photographs as some of our buck of the month submissions to our website do not have the best photos. Not to put these hunter down in any way, it’s just a learning curve. In this day and age of technology, there is no reason to have bad photos. I think digital cameras are the best choice to take afield with you. These camera’s are made to be about the size of a deck of cards. I like the ones with a big display screen on them. That’s probably the fifty year old eyes! With these cameras, you can see what the photo looks like as soon as you take it. I f you don’t like it, delete it and take another. What I prefer to do is take a lot of photos. I take them at different angles and with the animals head turned in different directions. Then when I get home I download them into the computer and look at all of them. The ones that don’t come out good for one reason or another get deleted. Now on the computer, I can edit the photos to make them even better. Some may need to be zoomed in, cropped or maybe brighten or darken. There really is no reason to have bad photos, unless you don’t take the time to take them properly.

Game pole pictures are great, but the really best photos are the one taken immediately after your game is down. This is when the hair is still standing up and has the sleekest look. Do not field dress the animal first. You will not have the full roundness and true size. Also field dressing first will bloody up the animal and the area. When taking the photo, make sure the animal and hunter fill the frame. You don’t need the trees in the background. Take your photos from eye level. This usually means that the photographer kneels down. Try to get the whole animal in the photo. Take some photos broadside and some head on, then you can decide which ones you like the best. Put the animals tongue in its mouth and wipe off any blood. Bend the legs of deer or moose up under the body as if the animal is bedded. This gives it almost a lifelike look. If you’re alone use the self-timer on your camera. I’ve taken quite a few photos of myself using the sef-timer. It will take a little more time to set up, but it will be worth the effort. Find a stump, rock, or blow down nearby to place your camera on. Now move your animal to the spot where the frame is filled. You’ll have to keep going back and forth looking at your screen to make sure it’s right. Snap a photo to make sure of the setup then keep taking them. You can never have too many photos. Someday you’ll want to show your photos to your grandchildren and tell them all the stories that go with them.