Photo competitions are a good place to see the best, and the worst of hunting. Some of the hunters out there have amazing photography skills, and obviously cameras far superior to mine. I’m not expert in photography, but what really disappoints me is when photos are taken of an animal that has been shot, but it is either being ridiculed / disrespected, or no care has been taken to position it (especially for a good animal). It’s probably a bit nasty of me to take pictures from an online page of people doing just this and post them here as an example, so instead i will highlight what I don’t like about them.
- A beautiful red stag, 11 pointer, with an appealing back-drop of hills funneling down into the focal point of the picture. The colour of the photo suggests early morning light / haze and a poor quality camera, but it could have been a really good photo if there weren’t TWO CLOWNS RIDING ON THE BACK OF THE STAG. Seriously. You’ve just killed this animal, have some respect.
- There’s a photo of a kid with a Thar, taken from above. Great that your boy has shot a thar but if he is going to take a head shot then that photo is not competition-worthy, and shouldn’t really be on a public forum…
Others are ruined by simple things. Put the animal’s tongue back in it’s mouth. Watch your background. Open your bolt. I get it, you are still in the state of excitement and you have to remember to think. Your photographer can help you compose the photo if you are lucky enough to have one, otherwise best get acquainted with the self-timer! Some of my first photos I gave little thought to the presentation of the animal and as a consequence I made a few mistakes.
I think part of the onus has to be placed on the forum in which the photos are posted. Magazines and websites need to set some quality standards and promote ethics and respect and I challenge them to start rejecting photos that show excessive gore, disrespect to the animal, or very poorly placed shots – eg broken legs, gut shots etc. Mistakes happen but they should not be promoted.