10 Tips for Taking the Perfect Turkey “Hero Shot”


Wild turkeys at a distance look black, almost like a crow, yet close-up their feathers reveal a rainbow of colors that often glisten in the sun. Add sunlight through the tail feathers, and some birds exude a “ring of fire” that is truly beautiful. Since most of us have a camera on our cell phone, why not take a few extra minutes after the celebration to pose a really cool turkey hero shot. As spring emerges and dogwoods and red-bud blossoms fill the spring woods, it’s easy to add color for that extra-special look. Brandon Ray shares ten tips for making a turkey a visual memory in this Turkey Country post:

MD Turkey 2012 041Pictures are my favorite trophies. Feathered mounts gather dust and my dogs like to eat turkey beards, so I cherish good photographs. Considering the 4:30 a.m. wake-up call, stale honey bun for breakfast, biting flies and exhausting effort it often takes to finally wrap a tag around a gobbler’s leg, it’s smart to spend extra time behind the lens. With a little thought, quality pictures of your dead bird can bring memories to life. Here are 10 tips on setting up your own memorable shots.

 1. The basics

The first and last hour of the day, when the sun is slanting low across the landscape, creates the best light for photos. Put the sun at the photographer’s back. Use fill flash for photos at midday to lighten harsh shadows under ball caps. Take lots of pictures. I’ve taken 50 or more pictures of one dead gobbler. Even with that many shots, a few will stand out as better than the rest.


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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.