By Lynn Dee Galey
Of the human senses, studies show that smell is the most strongly tied to memory. To this day if I catch a whiff of black cherry pipe smoke, I half expect my long gone Dad to appear.
But it is my hunting photos that most often take me time traveling, and I can remember exactly where the photo was taken and the experience of being there.
This is the reason I take hunting photos - try to hold on to those moments, to be able to refresh my memory of them even years later. Happening across a photo off season of a point or of a view or natural landmark often leads to me opening folders on the hard drive to once again touch the memories. The heat or cold that day, or the drought, or how the dog was soaked from dew. How that dog sounded as it moved through the grasses. Being in awe of a forever horizon, or the sound and colors of the leaves beneath my feet. Hunting partners, some no longer with us. That pup’s first point and retrieve.
Social media and high tech cameras and phones have turned hunting photos into a competition. “ I killed more birds than you.” “I shot my first bird 10 minutes into the field and posted it right away.” “My dog’s tail is higher.” “ My rig is more serious looking.”
I encourage my Firelight folks to take a lot of photos of their dogs and hunting but instead of seeking affirmation from others, I hope that their photos:
1. Provide a flood of memories of the experience for many years to come.
2. Allow photography to slow us down and use making photos as a training tool. Taking photos of the dog on point reminds us to take our time, don’t rush into a point, expect the dog to do its job. Meanwhile, photos taken can reinforce steadiness as our dog must hold the bird as long as it takes the gunner to take the pic, stow the camera and walk in for the flush.
Take your camera or phone along hunting and use it. What you experience on the hunt today can be vicariously enjoyed for many years.