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Hot Topic (More than 30 Replies) Trophy Pics, (Read 13864 times)
Pete E
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Trophy Pics,
Feb 8th, 2007 at 6:24am
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The general standard of photography on here seems very good indeed..I love photography but know just enough to realise I will never have any real talent at it  Embarrassed

Trophy photographs are one area I find particularly difficult to "get right" especially as i usually hunt alone. I remember the first deer I ever took was a fallow pricket out of a highseat. The story doesn't matter except that it was just in the evening...Once the guy who I was stalking with returned, and we both approached the beast and established it was dead, the next thing was pictures...

We dragged it somewhere into a clearing and I did the big white hunter bit kneeling behind it while holding the head up while the chap snap off two ro three pics...To say I was chuffed at taking this deer was an understatement.

A couple of days went by and it was time to collect the pics from the chemist...never mind that I only used 3 or 4 shots out of the 24, I couldn't wait  alonger to use the roll up!!

When I got the pics back I was gutted; they were absolutely terrible! I am surpised the Chemist didn't report me to the police as it looked  like pictures of some bizzare black magic ritual...The pic were that bad I was actually too ashamed to show them anyone and the were a million miles from how I remembered the scene in my minds eye..

So what went wrong? I'll list the points I now know about so others may learn, and perhaps and hopefully the better photographers on here will add their thoughts.


1)  Although to my eyes, there seemed to be enough light, there wasn't for the camera, so the sensor immediately used a standard flash setting...This lit up both the deer and me fine, but the rest of the picture was in darkness...The answer would have been to use one of the settings (night portrait)  that balanced the background light to the flash..you won't get perfect daylight looking pictures, but its an improvement..the camera usually needs to be placed on something solid though as exposusres tend to be long and there is a very real danger of camera shake blurring the picture..

2) The deer and to a lesser degree me, had blood smeared on us from the drag...

What I remember as a little bit of blood, in the photographs actually looked like a scene from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre ...Lesson learned: Clean up as much blood as humanly possible...if there is a big exit wound, turn the carcass to try to hide it....At the end of the day, if a taxidermist returmed a shoulder mount with blood on it we would not be happy, so surely the same should  apply to our pictures, where possible and within reason?

3) The deers tongue was sticking out and covered in blood..Solution either cut the tongue  off or stick it back inside... if blood keeps dripping out of the mouth or nose, stuff them with vegitation while the picture is taken..

4) Most of the pictures had half a 4x4 in them to one side...When the picture was taken, there was not enough care to what was actually in the view finder...Check and double check...a good picture can otherwise be spoilt by thin branches sticking in the wrong place, or maybe  a beer can lurking
somewhere...What seems almost unnoticeable in the original scene will stick out like a sore thumb in the final picture..

5) I only had 4 photo's and they were crap...Lesson learned take your time (where possible) and take plenty..Even if you you're using 35mm, film is cheap; with digital thats not even a consideration. So take lots of pictures and use various settings and  try different scene's...

I was so dissappointed at the out come of those first pictures, I stopped carrying a camera again for many years..Looking back i am now sorry I choose to do that instead of trying to learn.. A couple of years back I decided to give it ago again and "learn".. thats where I am to day, still very much learning...It seems as much as I remember about one thing, something else goes wrong or is not quite right..Or I run out of time/light at the end of the day...

Below are a couple of pictures that are "almost there"

First is a small 6 point roe buck I took last season..



The sky is over exposed and in hind sight I would have been better off changing the angle so it wasn't in the picture...Also I am not sure if any point on the roe is in truely sharp focus???

The second, is of the last staggie I shot before giving up my lease in Scotland a couple of years back.



The pose on this one was not quite right, but he was beyond the stage of co-operating Smiley And i was loosing light fast it being late afternoon! What i am particularly pleased about in this photo is the use of night portrait mode...if I had used the ordinary flash mode, the back ground would have come out very dark so at least i got that bit right...Needs the eye touching up in photo shop though...

So, any thoughts or comments on what makes a good trophy picture, or any tips on how to take them??









  
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mick hunter
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Re: Trophy Pics,
Reply #1 - Feb 8th, 2007 at 7:53am
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I always carry a camera and get a photo of all the deer I shoot. I generally set them up in the pose of you to photo. I have a 3 piece spike that the camera sits on so I can be in the photos to. The crap photo thing is now a bit redundant for me as I have a digital camera so I can see the photo at the time.
I am trying to alter how I sit in the photo to so they are not all the same.

Heres a few samples





  
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Pete E
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Re: Trophy Pics,
Reply #2 - Feb 8th, 2007 at 9:18am
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Mick,

Not easy to set the camera up *and* get in the pictures like that especially if you only have the 10 second self time!! I have a little Nikon Coolpic 3700 which is quite out of date now compared to more modern digitals, but instead of a self timer, it have a voice activated shutter function...I've not got to grips with it as yet, but that will be next..It lost it just before Xmas after taking some pics to post here, but was lucky enough to be able to replace off Ebay...

The spike sounds a good idea..I have a very small table top micro pod type thing, that works ok but often needs to be strapped to something taller to put it above the grass ect...

Regards,

Pete
  
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Re: Trophy Pics,
Reply #3 - Feb 8th, 2007 at 9:43am
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Pete you don't put your firearm in the photo Huh

I do carry a camera on most trips now,as you just never what you may end shooting.

Digital camera's have changed things no end.

  

To my deep mortification, my father once said to me, ‘You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.’ Charles Darwin
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Pete E
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Re: Trophy Pics,
Reply #4 - Feb 8th, 2007 at 10:43am
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Quote:
Pete you don't put your firearm in the photo Huh


In those two instances, the best two photo's happened to be without my rifle...

I have a few other pics  (with rifle) on 35mm somewhere which I had  scanned  and hosted at Huntpics and for some reason they all got deleated and like an idiot I never had the copy's saved on my hard drive.. Since then I have never got around to scanning  them in again...








  
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Zeeriverrat
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Re: Trophy Pics,
Reply #5 - Feb 8th, 2007 at 12:58pm
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Pete..I try to do the same as Mick...I take lots of pics, always have, but take even more now that I have a digital.  I try to take pics of the deer...but I manage to get a few self portraits as well using a little tiny tripod.  I carry some cord so that I can tie it to a tree or bush if I need a bit of height...works ok most of the time...at least it did until I lost the little bugger the last time I went out calling coyotes...

Anyway here are a few pics..of some of what ended up in the freezer this fall








You will never be sorry if you take a bunch of pics....they just get better and better...just look at some of the old stuff that BruceC has posted...

Z Smiley

  
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Carlsen Highway
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Re: Trophy Pics,
Reply #6 - Feb 8th, 2007 at 1:30pm
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Okay pictures. I have done a lot of photography in my time, some of it semi proffessional, and I have the following thoughts.
Firts, photography is like anything else, you have to practice. By practicing, I mean by taking lots of photo's but thinking about it when you do it. But, just as importatn, probably more important is you have to inform your practicing by looking at other people photographs, photo books, magazines whatever.
Otherwise your like a person who wants to write a novel, but who never actually read a book in his life.

Second, is the basics of photo taking. Get close. No, closer than that. Full the frame with your subject. We dont care about the intersting tree in the background. We dont even care to know what kind of country your in, we want a host of a dead deer and a man with rifle. Where is unimportant.
Put your camera lens on wideangle if you can and step closer.

Third, Light. Everything is the light. A flash photo is worthless. If the camera is going to flash then you need to cut a couple of trees down so you have more light. Light should come from either side. Light coming from behind the camera straight onto the subject is worthless. Turn that deer around. Light coming from the back (backlit) can work very well, but you have to know what your doing. Sidelight.
Light at midday is no good. Morning or evening, evening preferred, the light usually warmer in colour.
For colour photography overcast days are good. For B&W sunny day is best - but not at midday.

In a photo like this, the animal should be sitting three quarters towards you. Follow Petes instruction above about tongues and nastyness. Put the hunter behind the animal, it make the trophy look bigger.

You are actually making (call it what you will) a portrait. in a portrait the most important things are the eyes. If you cant see hunters eyes then you dont have a picture. IF youcant see the deers eyes, you dont have a picture. Next important is hands. Make the hunter hold something so they dont dangle. Unless they are a confident person in whcih case your alright. Hold the animal with one, the rifle with another.

Body langueage. What you read in a picture is body language. If the hunter looks awkward, the phto will be awkward. If they are tensing up tell them to stand and jump around making funny faces, then do the pose.
Ditto for the deer. No dont jump it aournd and pull funny faces with its lips, I mean put it into a relaxed pose. You know all them big game photos from African safiaris> Where the hippo is reclinning easily with its legs tucked underneath? Know how many got shot and ended up that way natuarally? I would wager none.
Silluette. This I learned as an animator. If you can imagine your pose of hutner and deer as a black cutout - and still be able to read and understand the picture, then you have decent pose.

(edit - Z's third picture above is an example of a good silluette, for example.)

Have the rifle in the picture. The good side of a rifle is the bolt side.

Foreground - shouldnt be there. What I mean is, break off all that tussock grass and little branches in between the camera and the subject.

Get on the same level, preferable from slightly below. Dont shoot from above.

If you find you have taken 17 photos of the same set up , it means you know theres a picture there but you havnt got it yet. It means you have to change something.

Compostition. There are general rules. Put your main subject so it form a pyrimid. This will stop the photo looking unbalanced. If you can do that with a stong diaganal running through it (rifle maybe?) then you will have a solid balanced base, with a sense of movement to it. This is a suject worthy of indeoth sutdy I can tget into it more than this here, but if you work on a pyrimid then you cant go too far wrong.

lastly and leastly, is equipment. Youve got a sako weatherby rifle for a reason, becasue they are good. If you want good pix you should get a decent camera. In my opinion, the digital cameras that most people are using are substandard and put enormous imitations on you. You will not be able to compete with Whereami using your Sony Coolpix (or whatever) even if it is an 8 megapixel. What I eman by this is that most modern digitals althoguh they have good resolution now, are down at the level of yesterdays most basic compact baby on the lawn point and shoot cameras as far as flexibility and Photography goes. Even if it did cost 1500.00 dollars.
You have virtually no  control over exposure. And photogrpahy is all about light control as I said above.
I am seriously considering going back to 35mm SLR's for this reason. The only advantage the digital has over film is ease of, and immediate viewing of the image. If you want your photos to last, have resolution along the lines of 200 megapixels, then I am sorry to say, you should be using film.

Rememebr that after you ahev taken your great picture and admired it on your computer, you still dont have it. Comuters die. Discks get currupted. They dont last forever. Print the bloody thing - at a shop. Your epson stylus is not good enough.

You need a photo programme, preferably photoshop. But any programme will do for only one reason. Digital colour photos are very light on contrast. Nearly all pictures you will take need to have more contrast added to them. Most software that comes with your camera does not have this feature.

Here endeth the lecture.
  
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Re: Trophy Pics,
Reply #7 - Feb 8th, 2007 at 1:56pm
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What about time?? sometimes trophies are shot at last light,in shit weather,you need to pack out cape and/or meat before dark or before predators turn up Shocked

Good tips there CH,but some photos looked too staged Huh i take photos for myself,i have no problem sharing them,but i took the photos for myself Smiley
  

To my deep mortification, my father once said to me, ‘You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.’ Charles Darwin
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Carlsen Highway
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Re: Trophy Pics,
Reply #8 - Feb 8th, 2007 at 4:16pm
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Good point. The trick is to take it all into account and still have enough room left to be creative. Sometimes your just not going to get a good picture, circumstances are against you.

Theres another thing I didnt mention, which is known as the photographers 'eye'.  The most valuable possession a photographer (or any artist) has which is the ability to previsualise. In other words see the picture made of the elements in front of you and then make it happen.
Also, it's the ability to translate what you see int front of you so you can see in your head what it looks like when it's FLAT. This is the most important ability of all and only comes from long custom of making and viewing pictures.
For example, "photogenic " people. Models, some actors so on. These are people who do not necessarily look speecial in real life. They are, however, peoeple who look attractive when their faces are flat.
I am waiting for Whereami to show up.
  
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Zeeriverrat
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Re: Trophy Pics,
Reply #9 - Feb 8th, 2007 at 4:18pm
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CH--Lots of good information...but I have to agree with MagForce...there are things that tend to interfere with taking perfect pictures.. I can tell you that on all three of the pics I posted, I was in a hurry to get the pics taken for one reason or another... 

In forestry school many years ago I had a professor that said "Foresters are a lot like their measurements...crude but convenient!"....he was right about that...and that has carried over in to my photography...it seems that no matter what..when I am taking hunting pictures there is always something that forces me to hurry...but I like the pictures I get and they capture story of the hunt for me...and that is my main concern and reason for taking the picture in the first place...  I reckon I am lucky to get the camera to work at all!! Smiley



Z
  
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Re: Trophy Pics,
Reply #10 - Feb 8th, 2007 at 6:04pm
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This bear was shot at last light.

This photo is staged but its the only way to show the size of this boar.
  

To my deep mortification, my father once said to me, ‘You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.’ Charles Darwin
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mick hunter
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Re: Trophy Pics,
Reply #11 - Feb 8th, 2007 at 7:46pm
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All excellent advise there Carlsen.

Not always practical about the lighting as to time of day you are taking the pic though.

But alot of what you have said can be applied in getting a hell of alot better photo. It just takes some time and care about what you are doing.

I still get my digital pics printed and put them in the photo album but that is the way I have always been. Certainly dont rely on computers to store them.

Here is some pics of my camera spike.

  
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MADNESS
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Re: Trophy Pics,
Reply #12 - Feb 8th, 2007 at 8:15pm
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when i first started hunting i carried a camera for a couple of years until
all the wet and hash conditions caught up with it
then for a lot of years i never bothered taking pics of the trip or my kill's
i missed out on a lot of good photo opportunities
and a lot of good memories of most of the  deer i shot
unless i was hunting with some one with a camera then i got the odd pic

i have trapper to thank for getting back into carrying a camera while hunting
after he started the photo essay thing on here  Smiley

as its been said above getting the prefect photo of your kill isn't always easy
there can be a lot of things that go against you

not enough room to set up a better pic like in these case's





or getting the lighting wrong like in this one



and as CH pointed out bad body language = crappy photo



or nearly getting it right only to find out later the front leg wasn't tucked as you though



with animals like thar its good to get some idea of the horn length in the photo



i also have a spike like MH's that i have used in the past and it
saves pic's like this of just the animal



a couple of pics that came out well








if you missed out of a pic of the animals in the field its is nice to get some sort or memory of them
but there not the same as the hole animal






fish are another one that can be hard to get a really nice one of

some times getting away from the normal pic is a good idea

the fish hanging from the tail at the weigh station is kind of boring






i like how this pic of hookah came out it really presents the fish well

« Last Edit: Feb 10th, 2007 at 3:09pm by MADNESS »  
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Re: Trophy Pics,
Reply #13 - Feb 8th, 2007 at 8:26pm
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this is a personal favourite of mine
  

It takes an animal to find an animal. All assets will deflate vs gold. Store of Value
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Re: Trophy Pics,
Reply #14 - Feb 8th, 2007 at 9:00pm
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one tip, tidy up the blood and poke the tongue away.
light is all important but learn to work with what you have.
stand back and try to imagine what it will look like .
use the auto mode on your camera if you dont know precisely what you are doing.
check the pic if you have a digital camera and if you use a flash, make sure it doesnt blast the front of the picture into oblivion.

practise practise and then practise some more at home.

firstly shoot your trophy Shocked
  
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