Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to look at it more closely. Get out and take a hike, go fishing or canoeing, or simply stretch out on a blanket under a summer sky...and take your camera along. We'll talk about combining outdoor activities with photography. We'll look at everything from improving your understanding of the basics to more advanced techniques including things like how to see photographically and capturing the light. We'll explore the night sky, location shoots, using off camera speedlights along with nature and landscape. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.

The Pilot

The Pilot
The Pilot

Monday, March 31, 2014

Hunting Without a Season

It is amazing how five hours sitting in a hunting blind goes by so much more quickly than five hours sittings in an office. It's a whole lot more fun too. Today was no exception. The real turkey gun season does not begin for another couple of weeks, but I spent this beautiful early spring day sitting in the corner of a wheat field hoping the turkey's I had been seeing would again make an appearance. I was hunting, but not with a gun this time. I was hunting with a camera.


See the blind in the background?  Blends in well doesn't it!

You can hunt with a camera year round without a license and there are no seasons that apply. Seems to me there are numerous advantages to doing that, not the least of which is that the critter you hunting gets off unscathed, and you can go pretty much whenever you want to. All the techniques are the same as used in hunting and in some ways they more difficult with a camera because not only do you have to get the critter in reasonably close, you also have to consider the direction of the light and time of day...plus all that other camera/photography/composition stuff.


For the past couple of months I have been seeing anywhere between 25 and 75 turkeys using the same corner of that wheat field I spent five hours in. Almost everyday, they were there between 4:30 and 5:00 pm and many times they were also there early just at daybreak. I set up the blind in a perfect location about 30 yards into the wheat field next to a large tree with an old GMC 4x4 sitting under it. The three yards of dark brown burlap I had painted up blended perfectly with the backdrop and provided a great hiding place. I setup two hen decoys about 20 yards out. It was great fun whating them spin and tip up and down in the breeze. They sure provided a lot of eye catching movement and looked pretty real to boot.

She knew I was there...but couldn't see me

But, alas wildlife does not always cooperate even for a photographer, and today proved that rule true. Not a single sighting of a turkey where for weeks they have been. That is the luck of a wildlife photographer...or at least someone aspiring to become one.

I did see a few deer and managed a few long range photos. I also managed to develop a few cramps in my legs, back, neck, and rearend sitting there for so long, but it was fun none the less. It was good to get outdoors after the long hard winter and feel the sun on my back and breathe some good clean country air. Think I will do it again soon. Maybe next time the turkey's will show up.

Keith

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