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Photographing your trophy.

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Photographing your trophy.

Old 03-10-2009, 03:45 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 18
Default Photographing your trophy.

Photographing your trophy.

Once the hunt has come and gone, it is the mounted trophy and photographs which bring the memories of the experience rushing back – everything from sounds, scents, and sights to the thorn-etched lines that lace their way across one's arms. A virtual flood of senses flow through and over one's mind – this is the essence of trophy hunting!
Much has been written on the subject of the field preparation of trophies and the art of taxidermy, thus ensuring that our "once in a lifetime" trophies are perfectly immortalised. Even ruined mounts can be improved by the use of another cape and the artistry of a skilled taxidermist.
However, once a trophy animal hits the skinning shed or is caped out in the field, the opportunity to take photographs of your prize trophy animal is lost. Taking photographs that do the trophy justice is an exercise that is often overlooked in the field. This results in disappointment and frustration for both the hunter and the ph / outfitter.
Badly composed photographs are entirely unnecessary and can be avoided by following a few basic principles.

The basic steps to be taken when you photographing your trophy:
1) Wash all the blood off of the animal.

2) Are there any characteristics specific to this species that should be considered? For example, the waterbuck has a white ring on its rump and horns that curve forward. How will I position the animal so that I can show off these characteristics in the photo?

3) Is there any unsightly bullet damage that could detract from the photo? This needs to be taken into consideration when setting the animal up. This point and washing off any blood on the animal are very important, especially to avoid any unwanted criticism of our sport and livelihoods. Whilst on this point, I would like to mention that we, at all times, need to treat the trophies with respect, especially when we are photographing them.
Some time ago I picked up a magazine off the shelf and on the back page was a photograph of a bow-hunted elephant, with the hunter standing on top of the animal. He was holding his bow above his head as if doing a war dance. It is totally unacceptable to take this type of photograph, let alone publish it in a magazine. All the great hunter tribes of old, no matter on which continent they lived, treated all of the animals they hunted with respect due to the fact that the hunted paid the highest price – life.

4) Always look for a spot that will allow you to set up the animal in good light. Will the horns be silhouetted or obscured by the backdrop? Horns can look remarkably like sticks and branches when photographed against woody bush or a bunch of dark coloured saplings. Ask yourself these questions before dragging the animal around from spot to spot.

5) Once you have chosen a spot that will facilitate the taking of good photographs, move the animal there and set it up for the photographing session. If at this point in time you are thinking to yourself that this is too much like hard work, you need to ask yourself the following question. How much effort went into the harvesting of the trophy?

6) When positioning the animal (here I am referring to antelope species), firstly lie the animal on its side on the spot that you have chosen to take the photographs. Tuck the front legs in along its chest and fold the back legs in along the belly. Then, holding the legs in position, roll the animal onto its chest. The legs are then spread out slightly from the body. This is generally all that is needed to balance the trophy's body. Rocks or sticks can be used to help prop the animal up from behind, which is out of the view of the camera.

7) The grass, other plant material and stones now need to be trampled down, trimmed or cleared away to ensure that there is nothing to detract or obscure the animal's body. Last minute cleaning off of blood etc. can be done at this time. I have found that moistening the nose and eyes enhances the trophy's features in the photo.

8) Position the head to show off the horns to their best advantage and set it there. The hunter can place his hand under the jaw or you can place the nose on the ground and steady the head with stones or sticks, try to keep them out of view of the camera. Make sure that the tongue is not protruding from the mouth.
Remember to ensure that the horn bases are level/parallel with the ground; this will prevent the head from leaning to one or the other side. Make sure that the horns are not leaning towards or away from the camera – you don't want to lose their length!

9) Position the hunter behind or next to the animal. Ensure that the hunter's head does not "compete for sky" with the trophy! Make sure that the horns do not cast a shadow on the hunter's face and that his hat (if he is wearing one) does not obscure his face or cover it in shadow. Decide where to place the weapon so that it does not detract from the trophy.

10) Switch your camera on and start shooting film. Take photos from several different angles and elevations, and especially from a low angle (lying down). Be creative and you will be pleasantly surprised. The hunter will be pleased with the photographs that have captured his / her special memories.
HennieV is offline  
Old 03-10-2009, 11:30 AM
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 675
Default RE: Photographing your trophy.

Good tips
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