By Joel Schnell
Great photographs are made, not taken. Preserve those memories of the hunt with a great shot from a fleeting season. Take in all the variables when composing your best shot, such as crop, lighting, camera settings, styling. Spend a little extra effort and reward yourself with a lasting image.
Elements of A Great Shot
When you see something worthwhile in the field, go ahead and rattle off a few shots from different angles if possible. A little styling helps- straightening a coat, propping up a bird, whoa the dog in place. I took six shots of this one scene. Then I processed 2 variations in Lightroom, one light and one dark. Then I combined them in photoshop, and cleaned up the back of the coat and some of the leafy clutter beyond the subject. You can see how I brightened the leaves and increased color saturation on the left side of the picture. The vest was also lightened in some areas. It was also cropped from the original.
Behind the Shot
I used a compact camera I carry in my vest pocket for this shot. It shoots RAW camera format which allows greater editing control over the image. I propped the bird up in the game vest to display the fan. Then I had the subject move the gun barrel around a bit for composition. I moved a little left and right to experiment where the surrounding leaves should fall. I had him move a little back and forth to see how the sunlight splashed on his coat. Lastly I moved him up the trail a few feet to capture more of the background.
The original version of the image is the top left one. I think it was worth the trouble to get the shot I wanted.
Posted June 10, 2016.
Joel Schnell is publisher of www.ruffedgrouseminnesota.com
He can be reached at info[at]ruffedgrouseminnesota.com