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An online space for outdoorsmen from CNY and beyond. Tell us about the one you caught or the one that got away.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Preserve your deer hunt memories with better photos

We have often said that any deer is a trophy. Of course some are true trophies in every sense of the word. Today, it is easy to take photos to share the success with friends and family and better photos make even greater memories or are much better to share with others as well as preserve for later years.
Next week we will have our traditional column at Thanksgiving where we post tales and some photos of deer that have been taken by local residents this season. Hopefully we will have lots of success stories to share as well as some memorable photos to show our readers.
Photography is much easier these days with digital cameras or even smart phones capable of taking quality photos. And since they are easy to store and delete, there is no excuse for not taking lots of photos. After all, the moment like this does not come along every day. But there are some basic things to remember to help you take better photos.
The first thing to consider is composition and good taste. Most of the newspaper editors and many of the magazines are constantly reminding people to show good taste in their photos. This means they don’t want excessively bloody or gory photos. This is easily handled by positioning the deer and changing the position and angle of your photo.
Take some pre-moistened wipes or damp cloth and clean off any excess blood. Place the deer’s tongue back in the mouth or turn the head to show a different angle. This shows the deer in its best light and won’t detract from the beauty of the animal.
Showing the deer in the best possible condition shows respect for the creature and minimizes offending some of the viewers. Likewise, you should kneel beside the animal rather than astride it like you are riding a pony. Hold your bow or firearm in a safe position when you pose.
Hold the deer’s head high to get the best possible shot. Take lot of photos from different angles and positions to get a good view. Later select the ones that you think look best.
Be sure to fill the frame with the hunter and the deer by getting close or using the telephoto lens. The surroundings are of minimal importance, although a couple shots for an album to help you recall the area are good. Be sure to also get a couple close-ups showing the hunter and the neck and head area of the deer.
Try to take the shots in a natural area, ideally where the deer was shot. Of course we all hear the editors and writers complain and make a big deal of the photos of a deer taken in the back of a pickup truck. Yes, it’s true that photos taken in the woods, field or even your back yard are more aesthetically appealing. But it is also true that the editors probably haven’t gotten many deer or they would appreciate how much work it is to load and unload one into a truck, especially if you are alone.
So take those photos in the back of the truck, but whenever possible also take them in a more natural setting when you get a couple friends to help you unload and load the deer again. That way people focus on you and the deer, not the clutter and debris in the back of your pickup.
Consider the sun’s position. Ideally it should be over the shoulder of the photographer to avoid the subject being under-exposed or in a shadow.  Remove your hat or at least tip it way back to remove the shadows from your face. And be sure to smile! After all, it is a moment to be proud of.
Pay attention to details. Once you consider the position of the sun and try to get the deer into soft, diffused light rather than shadow check the background. Avoid telephone poles, trash cans or unsightly objects in your photo’s background. Do this by position of the deer and hunter, removing unsightly objects and moving in close with the camera. Make sure you don’t have trees, poles or other objects “growing out of the hunters’ head” in the photo.
If there is too much shadow, consider using some fill-in flash. Make sure the successful hunter is relaxed and happy looking. Take multiple shots to make sure the hunter is not squinting in at least some of them. If you have the clothing handy or are taking photos at home, have the hunter change shirts or put on a light jacket with some color in it to make a more appealing photo.
In addition to taking the shots from different positions or angles, also vary the elevation to get different perspectives. You may be surprised at the results. It is also the current rage to use the “rule of thirds” in photos by placing the subject in one corner or side of the photo. Supposedly this adds interest, however a lot of the award-winning photographers believe this fad is over-rated and counter-productive. Just cover your bases and take lots of photos with different composition. That is the beauty of digital photography.
Remember that the 4-point buck you took shot may have involved as much skill as the 10-point buck that somebody else got by being lucky. Maybe you won’t get that picture on the cover of “North American Whitetail” but the memories of it should be preserved in quality photos for many years to come.
DMP Transfers: With the end of the regular season in sight, a lot of hunters will not have filled their Deer Management Permits (“doe tag”). Many will probably not have the opportunity to go hunting again. A recent change in the hunting regulations allows hunters to transfer their unused permits to other licensed hunters.
However the hunter who receives and carries this permit must record the number on his or her own license. One of the plastic tags in our string of tags and permits has a space for recording the numbers of the DMPs that we receive from others. Once you have taken a deer on that permit you must fill it out and attach it to the carcass as you normally do. You must report the kill by calling 1-866-426-3778. See page 28 of the current Hunting Guide for instructions.
Learn To Track Wildlife: Free wildlife tracking workshops will be held on Saturday, December 7 at the White Otter Club in Woodgate and on Sunday, December 8 at the BROEP’s Black River Forest Campus. The workshops will last from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day and are open to the public.
The Staying Connected Institute is hosting the workshops for interested members of the public to learn about wildlife tracking. These are free and the public is welcome. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend and no experience is necessary. Participants will receive expert training on how to interpret animal tracks and will include classroom instruction and a variety of indoor and outdoor experiences.
This will kick off a volunteer effort called “Wildpatch” where participants will later observe roadside tracks and signs for collecting data. But there is no commitment required for anyone wishing to attend that weekend. The event is hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Nature Conservancy and the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust.
For information or registration contact 518-891-8872 or email
Deer Hides Wanted: This weekend and the following two weeks should be a busy time with a lot of deer harvested locally. For the deer hunters who have been successful and are wondering what to do with the hide, Jim Ward of Oneida Trap Supply is again buying hides. Call Jim at 363-2913 for information and hours.
Deer Stories: Next week we will have our traditional column on lucky local sportsmen and women who have gotten a deer this season. We have already featured some successful ladies and their deer. Share your success and any unusual stories by calling me at 363-3896 by next Tuesday.


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