The leaves are changing colors and coming down, the nights are getting cooler and lots of people have their minds set on a favorite fall sport. No, not football, I'm talking about hunting. The first of many of the most popular hunting seasons starts this weekend and guys have been sighting in the bows and are ready to hit the woods. Personally I love almost everything about hunting. It is great to be out in the woods, being at one with nature, the peace and quiet along with the thrill of the hunt make for a great adventure. Not to mention all the cool gear, guns, bows, trucks, ATV's and comfortable clothes. On the other hand, being the lazy slug that I am, killing, field dressing and dragging a dead carcass threw the woods are not my idea of a good time. That's where photography comes in. You might call it lazy mans hunting but I prefer to call it art. Some of the best photographers are also big into hunting. That's because great photography requires the mindset of a hunter. You have to be in the right place at the right time. You have to have an incredible amount of patience and wait for just the precise moment to pull the trigger because you may only get one shot. The best part is you don't have to have a license; you can shoot whatever species is in front of you, any time of year. To be a better outdoor photographer do what the hunters do. Read hunting and outdoor magazines and network with other hunters to figure out where the big ones are hiding out. Before you grab your camera and run out into the woods remember a few things. Just like hunting safety is imperative. Even though you might not consider your camera a loaded weapon, lots of people out in the woods this time of year are carrying loaded weapons. Be aware of hunters that are in the area and don't interfere with folks who are trying to hunt. Be courteous to land owners and don't trespass, practice the leave no trace philosophy by packing out anything you pack in. Most of all relax, find a nice log to sit on and just enjoy a great day with nature because we all know what the next season brings.
(Brent Kepner is the Owner and Photographer at Foto 1 Pro Photo in Elkins. He is a master photographer, certified professional photographer and president of the Professional Photographers of West Virginia.)