How I Got the Shot – Autumn Turkeys

By Lane Erickson

“Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.” – David Alan Harvey

September is here and even though we haven’t passed the Autumnal Equinox yet it still feels like fall to me. In celebration of autumn’s arrival, for this installment of How I Got the Shot we’re going to focus on fall images. In particular we’re going to focus on autumn turkeys. 

The Idea

In September of 2018 I got an idea for an article I wanted to submit to a fantastic publication: FujiLove Magazine. The focus of the article was using Fujifilm cameras and lenses to create fall images. 

Several beautiful canyons are within a short distance of my home and on a crisp Saturday in September I went exploring to see if I could create some fall images. My daughter was with me, and as we drove up the canyon, we saw a flock of wild turkeys in a field below us. 

It was about 2:18 in the afternoon.  Fortunately, the side of the canyon the turkeys were on was in the shade due to the mountainside of the canyon. We were able to find the right light in the shade. If the sunlight had been on the flock of turkeys or the fall trees it would have been too contrasty for any good images.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought my long lens. The good news is, I did have the spectacularly sharp Fuji XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS lens on my Fuji X-T1 camera. With this combination I wasn’t able to zoom in close to isolate the turkeys, but I was able to get some good environmental shots of the flock with fall trees in the background. 

The Raw Image

Like I always do, I applied the simple formula for awesome photography to create the image of the flock of turkeys. Even though I could have zoomed in more, I only zoomed the lens to about 110mm so I could include the colorful trees. This is the photograph that I liked the best.

Mountains fall colors and wild turkeys golden red leaves with wild fowl

The Published Image

The article was submitted with this photo. Successfully, the article was accepted, and, this is how the image looked when it was published in the December 2018 issue of FujiLove Magazine.  

Looking back on it now, I actually like this shorter shot better than I would have if I could have zoomed in closer to the turkeys. I like having the flock in their natural environment, especially with the beautifully fall colored trees as the background. This image is more evidence that you don’t need an expensive lens or a professional camera to create strong photographs. 

That’s How I Got the Shot of the Autumn Turkeys! Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear any questions, comments, critiques or suggestions you have.

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4 Comments

  1. I’ve been a hunter most of my life. The farm I grew up on is loaded with turkey but its really hard to get close to them. If you go on YouTube and look up “Spider shelter” you’ll learn how to make a blind that will completely hide you from the turkey. All you need is a cutting tool, string and a little planning. just be sure to leave openings to shoot through. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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