Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Pennsylvania Bull Elk In Velvet

Here are more photographs from last week's trip to Elk County. The primary purpose of the trip was to videotape calves, so as usual the camcorder came first. I couldn't carry my big gun-the 500mmF4 as it requires a tripod.

I almost never shoot video without a tripod as I cannot stand an jiggle whatsoever. This means that I have to make still photography secondary, so I carry the 300mmF4, and the 70-200mmF2.8, both of which have image stabilization. I also carried the 100-400mm F5.6 for the first time in well over a year (in the elk range) and I was pleased with the results. All of the above lenses have image stabilization, and are reasonably portable, so I can shoot them without a tripod. In addition they can be fitted to the Canon XL-H1 Camcorder in which cases their focal length is multiplied by a factor of 7.2 due to the 1/3" sensors of that camera. This gives a 400mm an effective focal length of over 2,800mm. It is amazing at what distances one can take excellent video, if the atmosphere is free of haze or heat waves.

At any rate, I encountered a very nice bull in the backcountry, late on Tuesday evening. He was with a bachelor group of small bulls that were resting in a nearby meadow. I concentrated on him and got the following shot. The photo is cropped severely. I would have liked to have been closer but there was no opportunity to do so!

For those familiar with the Pennsylvania elk herd, this is bull number 62. Unless there is a particular reason to let it there, I usually remove the collar with Photoshop as I detest the way they detract from the natural look of the animal, so yes this animal had a bright yellow collar with large black numbers before Photoshop worked its' magic.

Canon 40D: 100-400mmL F5.6 at 400mm-1/180 sec. f5.6 ISO 400

"Buckwheat" and I were shooting together on Thursday evening when we had an encounter with a small but beautiful bull. I used to like photographing wildlife best in the autumn and especially liked to photograph deer and elk during the rut, when there is a lot of exciting action, but now I find that I like summer as much when it is not too hot and humid. An evening like this is hard to beat with beautiful late evening light, a nice tang in the air, and best of all-complete peace and quiet!

Canon 40D: 300mmL F4 a-1/125 sec. f4 ISO 500

The young bull was completely trusting and allowed us to photograph from about 50 yards or so. This was a good comfortable working range and we had no reason to get closer. Buckwheat also shoots a Canon 40D and was using his tried and true 300mmF2.8.

Canon 40D: 300mmL F4 a-1/125 sec. f4 ISO 500

What better way to spend an evening than photographing wildlife in the great outdoors!


Kerri said...

Willard....this narrative and the photos made me feel like I was right there! Stunning shots as usual. These guys are beauties!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

I DOES sound like a great way to spend a summer's evening. I'm glad you're enjoy taking photos of wildlife this time of year so we can look forward to lots more photos and not have to wait till fall to see the wildlife in your part of Pennsylvania.

Louise said...

I love your photos and subject matter. And I'll admit to being a little jealous of your big gun lens!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your visit to my blog Brookville Daily Photo this morning. I hope you enjoyed my post today showing the honey bee and the hollyhock flower.

I saw a special last night about the disappearance of honey bees and it is sad to think that most of the fruit, nuts and vegetables we eat would disappear with them. So governments are busy trying to find the culprit before it is too late and one huge problem is the use of insecticides.

Anyway, I wanted you to know I was here to repay your visit and comment with one of my own. Kind of like "Kilroy" was here... remember those drawings everyone used to make?

I enjoyed reading your blog post for today and I thought the photography was excellent as usual.

I also appreciate your comments on my blog about RAW. I like it with JPEG so I can whiz through them and delete the bad ones without processing the RAW ones. I tried using the Canon software for RAW and it works fine but I am just more used to Photoshop.

I like RAW but don't use it all the time. One camera is usually set to that and the other to JPEG.

Thanks, Willard.

fishing guy said...

Willard: I really enjoye your big bulls as they develope. I didn't realize the photos were edited for the collars. I guess I didn't know they wore collars. Do all in the herd wear collars?

For The People said...

Wow, that is sooo beautiful! Never seen one in real life.

Old Wom Tigley said...

I, like you can not think of a nicer way to spend an evening now, maybe at one time I could but we will not go there.. ha!..
I must say you do a very good job with the collars as well.. it must be a pain at times.

Looking forward to your next post already.

Carletta said...

These are wonderful!

I went looking for Elk in the Smokies a couple of years ago but I think it was the wrong time of day.

They are beautiful animals.

imac said...

No better way indeed Willard. Great captures.

The Birdlady said...

I don't know any better comment than "Wow!"

Anonymous said...

Glad to see aht you are filming and shooting more of the Elk, Willard. I'm sure you are enjoying yourshelf.

As usual, you have profided us with more great photos. And, no, I certainly don't have a problem with removal of collars with Photoshop.

Enjoy yourself!


Gretchen said...

You always capture the "feel" of what it's like to stand in front of those magnificent creatures.

Travis said...

Your photos and narrative continue to impress. Awesome capture of the photos and feelings.

Stacey Huston said...

Wow Willard, that first one is a beauty.. going to be quite impressive. Not real wide,but gorgeous none the same.. thanks for sharing.

Marvin said...

Awesome shots of a magnificent creature.