It seems that more and more hunters are searching for ways to record their hunts for posterity. As each of us desires to pass on our hunting tradition, we also seek ways to pass along our successes to our children and, one day, to our grandchildren. One photo that I remember from my own childhood is of my great-grandfather posing with a black bear that he had harvested; the grainy black and white add to the allure of the photo. Today, we have camera equipment available to us that is infinitely more capable than the cameras of my great-grandfather’s era, but not everyone can either afford or wish to carry the extra weight of a DSLR in their hunting pack in order to capture those moments. Some choose to purchase a lightweight point-and-shoot camera, which is a good route to go although it would add slightly more weight.
If you are not choosing to do “professional grade” photography on your hunting adventures (meaning, you are not seeking to use the photos necessarily for commercial purposes), what options might be available? Consider using your cell phone (if you have not already done so!). A few years ago when I by necessity had to purchase a new cell phone, I searched out and bought a phone that offered a reasonably high resolution. At that time, the common megapixel range on cell phones hovered around 8 MP, but this particular phone (an ASUS Zenfone) has a 13 MP rear-facing camera. When I purchased it, I hadn’t thought about the applications of it while hunting, but over the last few years, this has become apparent!
Consider that most of us, if not all of us, end up carrying our cell phone with us while hunting; even if we leave it zipped up in our packs and carry it only in hopes that we’ll have or be able to find a signal in an emergency, we have them with us. No added weight!
The average MP range on cell phones has certainly increased over the years, not to mention the fact that the sensors used to capture this range are significantly better with each passing generation of phones. In addition to the base camera, there are two additional approaches you can take to increase the appeal of your cell phone photos. First, you can upgrade the app that runs the camera; the onboard camera app will generally do reasonably well for point-and-shoot, but there are third-party apps that can provide you with more control over the end product. On Android devices (and likely there are comparable apps available on iOS), simply search for a “Professional HD Camera” via the Play Store.
In conjunction with a better camera app, there are numerous editing apps available on smartphones that offer a wide variety of features. One such example would be “ToolWiz Photos” (again, searchable via the Play Store) which allows the user to edit sharpness of a photo, brightness, crop, and do any number of other basic operations. This app, and apps similar to it, also provides presets that can be added as an overlay on a photo. Each of these elements adds depth to the photo and, when combined, can make your memories look great!
As a photographer, I will usually utilize photo editing software when I’m at my desktop PC rather than using an onboard app, but either should work well (especially on a budget!). Hope these tips have helped. Anyone have any good photos they’ve taken with their cell phone while hunting?