Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sky Watch Friday: More Pennsylvania Elk Photos


Ronald "Buckwheat" Saffer and I encountered a herd of cow elk with a spike bull last Wednesday evening. It was one of those evenings with a lot of clouds in the sky. There were periods of sunshine, interspersed with times that the sun was behind the clouds. When the sun did shine, there was very dramatic lighting. Since we were busily photographing the elk, I did not want to change lenses, so at one point I took this shot of the sky with the 100-400mm. This photo is cropped to give it a panoramic look as it is actually more appealing in this format.


Taken From Winslow Hill Toward Quehanna Wild Area: Canon 40D-100-400mmF5.6L at 100mm

One seldom gets to photograph elk against such dramatic cloud formations. I have taken some very effective shots of animals later in the evening, when the shot was exposed to make a silhouette of the foreground and the animals against the sky, but this is one of the few times that I have been able to get good detail and exposure in both the animals ands the sky. I used the f13 aperture to get both the foreground and sky as sharp as possible.

Canon 40D-100-400mmF5.6L at 250mm 1/125 sec. F13 ISO 200

The final photo was taken at 1/350 sec. so as to stop the action. It did work in this case, but sometimes even more speed is required for successful action shooting. Notice that the depth of field is not as great in this case so there is not as much detail in the sky!

Canon 40D-100-400mmF5.6L at 300mm 1/350 sec. F8 ISO 200

I have not used the 100-400mm much in the last year, but both Salty and Billie Cromwell reported good results with it on the Canon 30D, so I pressed it back into service, and I must say that I am pleased with the results. It did work well on the Canon 10D which I previously used as long as the image was not cropped a significant amount. It seems to be a different story with the 30D and 40D and stands up well to cropping. Is it as good as the 500mmF4? No, but the 500mm is not nearly as versatile. In this case I could not have been shooting video also, but would have had to have the 500mm on a tripod and been further away to get the same composition. As it were, I could use the video camera on the tripod and carry the 40D with 100-400mm on my chest. My favorite shooting method in this case is to rest the rear of the 40D on an accessory bracket on the back of the XL-H1 camcorder and rest the lens in my left hand which is in turn supported by the top of the camcorder near the front of the body. This combined with the image stabilization gives one excellent potential for sharp images.

For more Sky Watch photos, visit Tom at Wigger's World!

40 comments:

Luke Wiley said...

great wildlife captures!
My Sky Watch Friday post

quinttarantino said...

I'm back ... oh no, cried blog world ... he's back!

But I'm glad I came back or else I would have missed these great photos!

fishing guy said...

Willard: You have outdone yourself again. I love the playfull Elk.

Carletta said...

The panoramic photo is gorgeous and should be hanging on a wall!
The elk seem to be at the top of the world in that second shot - wonderfully composed.

Always a pleasure to see your outstanding work.

SandyCarlson said...

Your love of your subject always comes through your photos.

SandyCarlson said...

Your love of your subject always comes through your photos.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Superb photos, as usual. The panoramic landscape could grace any museum, and the elk agains the sky is just great! Love'em.

me ann my camera said...

The light is so amazing and it gives you the feeling that you are right there. It has a 'reach out and touch appeal'. Very beautiful.
varying seasons

imac said...

Willard, you leave me speechless
-----------------------

Oh all right = Fantastic shots - love your photos.

Rose said...

I really like the lighting in these photos...great captures of the wildlife also.

Abraham Lincoln said...

I just read in a photo magazine that the new Canon 55-250mm f4-5.6 EF-S IS len is an 88-400mm equivalent, and that this is Canon's longest EF-S (digital only) zoom, and roughly the low cost digital alternative to its 100-400f4.5-5.6L full-frame "white" image stabilized zoom that is so hot on the market. I know I like it a lot more than the other longer "white" lens that I have that weighs a ton.

You do such good work with your lens. I wish I had a deer around here to shoot so I could see how it works on larger animals.

I am now taking a diminishing dose of steroids for my Rheumatoid Arthritis pain and it works. I believe the chemotherapy drug is spelled "Methotrexate" that is used to treat a lot of things from cancer to arthritis will be used next. I just relish in being pain free.

So I am not participating in Sky Watch Friday just because I might not be able to make it around to all.


I enjoyed seeing your blog post for Sky Watch Friday and I thought your photography was excellent.

I don't know if you like to read or not but if you do this place is amazing.

I just got my first shipment of used books from Strand's bookstore in New York City, day before yesterday and they are in excellent condition.

They have 18 miles of used books. Think about that—18 miles. I had to start out by just choosing a category, like photography, and go from there.

I don't know how in the world they can keep track of so many books.

Look up Strand bookstore or copy and paste the URL here: http://www.strandbooks.com/app/www/p/home/

Louise said...

All are nice photos, but the lighting and contrasts and angles in the middle one. Wow!

Marie said...

Great sky watch!

RuneE said...

That No. 2 is something of the best I have seen for a very long time. I have just bought a 40D, but I see that I have a long way to go when it comes to lenses (I mostly use a Sigma 17/2.7 - 70/4.5)

Jim said...

As usual, Willard, I am in awe of your photography.

Those Elk look spectacular against the sky! I hope you stuck around for sunset with those clouds.

Willard, don't worry about DOF with such distant objects as clouds in the sky--it doesn't matter. Concentrate your DOF on fore and middle ground subjects and let those clouds be focused at infinity. Clouds don't have sharply defined edges.

When I'm setting up for distant landscape shots I focus on my best aperture for a specific lens becasue the image will be pristine and I let everything else fall where it may.

For your Elk against the sky, you've done a good job! DOF is sufficient to have the heads of the grass in a recognizable focus, but more importantly (in the last image) that cow's eye is sharply focused and perfect!

Jim

Old Wom Tigley said...

Thanks Willard.. these are special and I'm so thrilled to see them here on Sky Watch..

Thank you for helping to make Sky Watch so popular and special. I hope you enjoy your Sky Watch as much as I do.
Tom

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Fantastic shots. My jaw just dropped at these photos... incredible. I often see the wildlife roaming here in the mountains as we fish the rivers but I can never photograph them but I always know who can!
Mountain Retreat

Voz do meu Coração said...

Excellent sequence of photos, with colors expectaculares, congratulations.

bobbie said...

Thanks for showing us the elk against such a beautiful sky. Wonderful pictures.

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

These are really wonderful pictures. I'm crazy about nature and wildlife.

Pretty Life Online said...

Pretty one for SWF! Which reminds me the quote... "we all live under the same sky, but we don't all have the same horizon".... Mine's up too hope you can drop by. Happy Weekend!

granmal said...

Those are some great captures of wildlife in action. Beautiful!

Salty said...

You out did yourself this time Bro! The elk agains the sharp sky is top notch!

Me & my puppies said...

Sky Watch ~ fun people taking amazing photos, nicely done. Great subjects.

Raven said...

These are so beautiful! The sky in each photo is so dramatic and beautiful. I love the light in the elk photos. Your whole page is full of such lovely shots. The picture of the fawn nursing is extraordinary.

Greyscale Territory said...

O wow! Dynamic shots of elk against a beautiful sky!

Petunia said...

Very beautiful series:) The second one is my favorite here!
Well done!

Petunia's SWF

Kerri said...

Fabulous shots Willard! I can't get enough of your wildlife!!

For The People said...

One day!! I can only hope to be that good. Excellent as always. Willard I just don't know how you do it!

esnorway said...

werry nice pics you have i will come back and see more later nice blog. have good weekend

AnneKa said...

Great sky watch pictures!!!

John said...

Great captures and nice description, Willard!

DeeMom said...

WOW

The Texican said...

Hi Willard. Thanks for coming by Pappy's today. Those Jack Rabbits (Hares) are fun to watch. You do a great job with your wildlife photography.

Christy said...

Very nice images and I couldn't imagine it in another format but the panoramic. Excellent choice.

For The People said...

Had to stop back by and see those again. They are spectacular. Thanks for stopping by my place. Hope you are having a great weekend!

Old Wom Tigley said...

We again Willard..
I said yesterday that these were special and they are.. I did not have the time to study them proper then so called back to feast my eyes over the post again.... excellent.. It really is a pleasure visiting here and I'm so pleased you join in each week with Sky Watch.

lv2scpbk said...

Great shots and yep that is our sky, mostly cloudy.

lv2scpbk said...

P.S.

Come see the great catch of the day, for me and someone else.

dot said...

Williard, these are really nice photos and I enjoyed looking at them.