WILD HARVEST: Self-Timer Photo Magic

Capture moments that might otherwise become forgotten. Let’s discuss the value of documenting a hunt on camera – when there is no one to take the picture, that is. I have used several techniques over the years to immortalize precious moments or memories I’ve had afield that otherwise would have slowly faded away. To date, some of my more memorable hunting photos are in fact those taken by an outstretched arm, self-timer setting and tripod (or whatever was around) or even by trail camera.



Often times, no one was there to snap a photo of you with the decoy spread or your view from the tree stand. Those are memories I want to preserve on film, and having no one to take the photo was no excuse. It’s also valuable to capture vivid photos on location, in the heat of the moment so to speak. I was determined to find a way, somehow holding the camera out and towards me, either with my arm or an extension such as a tripod and timer setting. I suppose this would be classified as glorified selfie, without the help of a mirror. Perhaps you have a viewfinder or display screen that allows you to see what the camera sees, which certainly helps frame such photos. Several of my favourite hunting photos to this day were taken by some self-orchestrated manner. I’ve taken some neat photos of myself with an outstretched arm, either while waiting in a stand or blind, or perhaps if alone somewhere with a scenic backdrop. Looking back, they capture moments from various key, nostalgic, solo hunting ventures and compliment any photo diary, especially if the hunt ended in success. Such selfies also record details that might otherwise have been forgotten altogether.



The second variety are self-timer photos, which operate on a timer setting (usually a 10 to 30-second delay) once the camera is positioned and the photo is framed appropriately. Often, self-timers are needed if you’re alone and photographing big game or waterfowl and extending an arm is just not a viable option. Nor would an outstretched arm be able to include all members of the hunting party while on location, per say. I must admit many of my most cherished in-the-field hunting photos are credited to a tree stump, pile of backpacks or a full-body goose decoy in place of a photographer.

Unorthodox as it is, you can get some great photos, but often the horizon is crooked and needs photo editing to straighten. As well, sometimes enough height is not possible to clear vegetation (typical of turkey and waterfowl photos) and so for best results it’s important to clear this away ahead of snapping your photos. The camera is also insecurely positioned, which hampers reproducibility in a photo series. Clearly a tripod would virtually eliminate the crudeness, but that’s not something we all tote every time we’re in the field. Some of the smaller, lightweight, telescopic tripods or adaptive shooting sticks with interchangeable heads (accommodating optics, rifle rests and cameras) are worth their weight in gold in a field setting, however. Racing into position before the timer goes off can be a scramble, and at times you capture some funny, candid photos in the process!


Trail camera

A last form of photography I’ve employed over the years is strategic, trail camera snapshots. These pictures later serve as a reference, as well as fun photo memories from a specific time or hunting area years down the road. Other information I’ve gleaned from reviewing trail camera photos of myself or others is what equipment we were all using or toting in the field that day, or during those years.

At this point, I have a fun and informative collection of trail camera photos from many seasons, showcasing myself, hunting buddies or clients.

Self-timer photos in general are an art in themselves, and like anything take patience and practice. In my opinion they are certainly worth the effort, capturing a photo that otherwise would never have existed.

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