May 17, 2011
How To Take a Good Turkey Trophy Photo in the Field
By Phil Bourjaily
Just about the time the wind picked up, the rain started and I had decided turkey season needed to end last Friday, this jake wandered into range. His timing was bad, my aim was good, and spring 2011 was on the books. It is a tiny turkey, only 13 ½ pounds, so I plucked it and we will roast it whole on some special occasion.
Since I insisted in print last week that every turkey is a trophy, this jake got the same trophy turkey photo treatment as any other bird. And, if I do say so, the picture came out okay.
I used a pocket point and shoot set on a Joby GorillaPod, which is an indispensible piece of gear if you want to take pictures of yourself by yourself in the field. You can use the GorillaPod to stand cameras on uneven ground, hang them from trees or, as in this case, hook them onto a broken wooden post.
Say what you will about the tiny-ness of this turkey, the picture avoids some of the common pitfalls of dead animal photos:
1. There is no driveway or swingset visible. It’s worth the effort to get a picture in the field so the viewer gets an idea of where the hunt took place. Also, trees and brush make a more aesthetically pleasing and respectful setting than your backyard or the garage.
2. The turkey is neither bloody nor bedraggled.
I took time to clean up the blood, then I set the bird up on my knee instead of lying on the ground. The pose makes even this small turkey look good. It works with big turkeys, too.
3. I am not trying to look tough.
Maybe high school football team pictures are to blame, but way too many hunters think scowling is the appropriate expression for a trophy picture. You’re supposed to be happy if you shoot something and it should show. Only DEP can make the trophy scowl work. On everyone else it looks ridiculous. Smiling is better.