By Bill Miller
When you head off to the wilderness of Quebec, or any other long-anticipated hunting or fishing destination, it’s with the plan to capture wonderful memories you can share with family and friends for generations to come. Photographs, films, and, more recently, video make those memories last longer and stay fresher. They always have.
Taking photographs and recording video are both easier than ever in this digital age. All you need is a good mobile phone or an inexpensive camera and you’re carrying with you memory-gathering equipment our fathers could only have dreamed of.
So why is it that the photos that come back from hunting camp or the fishing adventure are often sparse and of poor quality? In this day an age there’s no excuse for not taking lots of pictures – it’s basically free! And the cameras do about everything for you, so there should be no reason for poor quality pictures either.
Here are some basic tips for camp photography that will produce images you’ll be proud to share anywhere:
1) Carry Your Camera – take your camera with you everywhere go – even trips to the outhouse. You never know when or where the opportunity for a great, memorable picture is going to come up. You can’t capture it if you don’t have your camera with you.
2) Keep Your Lens Clean – use a soft cloth (the new microfiber clothes work best) to frequently remove debris and moisture from your camera lens. Especially with the tiny lenses on cell phone cameras, a single raindrop or big snowflake can blur an entire picture.
3) Know Your Focus – when you’re using a camera in “full auto” mode, it picks out the point in the image it “thinks” you want to focus on. It may or may not guess correctly. Get the most important part of the camera in the focus point, push the button halfway to focus, then reframe the picture and push the button the rest of the way to get the shot.
4) Shoot Big – whenever you’re in doubt, allow plenty of space around the outside of whatever you’re shooting. This gives you plenty of room to work when you load the photos into your computer back home so you can create “the perfect” image. You can’t work with what’s not there!
5) Shoot Everything – take pictures of “everything,” not just grip and grin shots once you’ve taken game. Think outside the box. Inevitably, the pictures that will bring back the best, most fun memories are the ones you never knew you would take.
6) Light at Your Back – take photos with the light at your back, shining on to your subject. If anyone’s wearing a ball cap, make them tip it back so the light fills their face – not with the brim creating a shadow that hides their eyes.
7) Prep the Game – when you are taking grip and grin shots, do so respectfully to the game and to those who will view your photos in the future. Minimize blood. No gut piles. Don’t sit on the animal like the conquering hero. Take the photos in the field, in the environment in which the animal was taken – NOT hanging or in the bed of a pickup. Exhibit firearms safety in the shot.
8) Get Low – try to shoot hero shots from as low as possible. This really makes game look bigger. If you can position the animal and subject on an embankment and shoot from below, that’s terrific. However, just getting down on your belly and shooting from as close to ground level as possible will produce great results.
9) SMILE – The reason we hunt and fish is for enjoyment. If it’s not fun, we shouldn’t be there. There’s nothing sissy about smiling. You’re having fun – or at least you should be!