Photographers who shoot similar equipment and share a passion for elk photography often strike up an acquaintance while discussing the craft of nature photography, which in turn often leads to long-term friendships.
Each year several of us spend large amounts of time discussing the merits of different cameras and lenses, and the mysteries of Photoshop. This in turn has led to us going on shooting expeditions together.
Ron Saffer, better known as "Buckwheat" is the unofficial leader of our group and is highly respected because of his meticulous craftsmanship with his cameras, and his extensive knowledge of the natural history of elk. He, along with Billie Cromwell provided much appreciated input when I was writing portions of the script for "The Truth About Pennsylvania's Elk Herd".
He consistently has photographs published in "Bugle "-the official magazine of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and several of his photos are featured in their calendar.
Randy Quinn is an outstanding photographer who has spent a lot of time in Cades Cove in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He has amassed an amazing collection of superb photographs of bears and whitetails while working there. He is a super bird photographer and has been published in Birds and Blooms magazine. He also has a fine collection of Pennsylvania Elk Photographs.
Odie Swartz, loves photography and is an all around great guy and excellent photographer. He has built several computers and as best as I can determine was the first of us to work with Photoshop and print photos with a computer and printer.
I am the oddball in that outfit, in that while I own and frequently use an excellent battery of still photography equipment, when it comes down to the crucial moment, I usually opt to carry the video camera on the tripod for the serious work and carry a DSLR with a lens that is image stabilized and rest this rig over top of the video camera in hopes of getting sharp shots.
This violates Buckwheat's statement that the three most important things in photography are: tripod, tripod, tripod, but he understands my addiction to video and excuses my malfeasance in this instance. (After all I always use a tripod with the video camera)
My brother Salty has been published in The Game Commission Calendar and writes the popular rural interest blog "Country Captures". This is his second year of photographing elk.
This is an up and coming young bull which many call Crazy Legs, Jr. because he has the same rack configuration as that famous bull had in his early years.