A few basics result in great pictures

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Memories are forever. If however, a picture reminding one of that great memory exists, it’s even better. Thus, every hunter, angler, hiker and outdoor enthusiast ought to be armed and somewhat familiar with a decent digital camera. A camera small enough for a handy inside pocket and loaded with an unfilled memory card and fully charged batteries.

But be assured that photography is not rocket science, it is simply an act of point and shoot with just a bit of common sense and a few basic principles in mind.

Why talk about cameras and memories and stuff like that right in the middle of Ohio’s exciting gun season for deer? Why not? After all; what better opportunity to record history? A first deer, a fancy camp meal and its cook, happy hunters, a great shot, etc.

Requirements

Rule number one; Never leave camp home without a camera. That way you’ll never have to say, “I wish I had my camera.” You’ll pay between $100 and $200 for decent digital camera.

Forget the film thing, they are old school and on the brink of obsolete. With digital, you can scan lots of pictures, select the few you really want to print, edit them to correct the lighting, color and more, and even send them electronically to your best e-mail buddy.

For the most part, set your camera at automatic. Even the least expensive models are smarter than you and me put together. Sad but true.

Now let’s talk framing. Keep in mind that your camera will work regardless of how you are holding it so don’t be afraid to turn it sideways or vertically. If it is a vertically oriented, position your camera likewise. Now divide the scene by thirds in each direction. By thirds I mean something like the lines for tic-tac-toe.

Now place the subject of your picture on one of the imaginary cross hairs or intersections of lines. The best photographs do not have the subject in the center. Don’t believe it? Just look at good photos.

Simplicity

And don’t try to put too much in one photo. That is, don’t attempt to get something you want to show in the photo plus a rich landscape, a flotilla of boats, a dog or two, and the cabin you’ve rented in one photo. Keep it simple. I repeat, keep it simple and concentrate on taking a good photo of just one thing, maybe two. Let the photo do the talking.

Your new camera has a setting called “fill-flash.” Use it on the brightest days because it is likely that you’ll discover just how badly shadows can ruin an otherwise good photo. A prime example is the face-hiding shadow produced by the bill of a ball cap on a sunny day. The fill flash feature corrects it as you shoot.

Now go to it. Get close, fill your digital screen with your subject, use the rule of thirds, and compose your photos like the works of art they may become. If your photo is of a deer and a hunter be sure to take a dozen or more shots. Every person and every deer looks best from the right angle. Try several and pick the best later.

Now think about the experience. Your most memorable picture could be a shot from behind as hunters drag the deer or maybe a close up of the lucky hunter with his or her trophy on the meat pole. Or better yet, a collage several different photos framed together telling the whole story.

Creativity

Be creative even if you’re not — that’s the fun of it. I recently discovered the local photo department where one can print a digital photo on a make-believe magazine cover. What a great present these prints can be.

(Readers may contact this writer at mtontimonia@att.net.)

About the Author

Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer, and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian. More Stories by Mike Tontimonia

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