Sunday, January 4, 2009

Published Photograph-Pennsylvania Bull Elk

The 2008 Pennsylvania Game Commission Calendar features photographs by both current and retired employees of the Agency. I have contributed to the calendar for the past several years. This year I was pleased to find that one of my submissions was chosen as the cover photograph for the calendar, along with being the photograph for the month of September.

Bull #35-Canon 10-D: 300mm F4 ISO 100 1/180 f4.5

The photo was taken at 5:58 p.m. on September 20, 2007. It was a warm evening and the elk were somewhat lethargic acting on this occasion. A large herd of cows had just passed through a newly reclaimed strip mine and the bull was following behind. I was standing inside the woods at the edge of the meadow, looking up at the animals. When the bull stopped and looked at me, I pressed the shutter.

This was the great Bull No. 35, which I videotaped for the first time in 1999 or 2000, and photographed for the first time with a DSLR during the rut of 2004. In short, he was in at least his seventh year as a mature, branch antlered bull, and time was running out for both the bull and the Canon 10-D.

The 10-D was replaced with a 40D in early October and by late winter or early spring Bull 35 was found dead near the village of Medix Run. The bull was wearing a radio collar and the biologists noticed that the signal was no longer moving. There was no evidence that he was the victim of poaching. It seems most likely that he was injured at some point during the rut and never recovered, contracted a fatal disease, or perhaps simply died from old age. The latter does not seem too likely, considering how active he was during the rut of 2007.

Whatever the reason, another famous Pennsylvania Bull Elk is gone, but I am glad that many will be able to look at his photograph this year.



12 comments:

The Birdlady said...

No wonder it was selected for the cover! What an animal, and what a photograph!

Kerri said...

I am sorry that another one is gone.
Congratulations on getting the cover shot!! What an honor!!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Congrats Willard!! Well done!! That is a magnificent creature. They seem so stately and proud. I hope you had a great vacation.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Wonderful photo of the bull looking at you. Glad you had the chance to catch such a great photo of the handsome fellow before it was too late.

Leedra said...

Can see why you got the cover and a month. Great photograph.

Abraham Lincoln said...

Excellent Photography, Willard. You deserve all the attention your work can get and a calendar is a good place to begin getting it.

Travis said...

What a shot. Great work!

Bradley Myers said...

Congratulation Willard, it is just one of many great photographs you have taken that could grace the cover.

I am always looking forward to your next post and what I can learn from them.

fishing guy said...

Willard: It is really nice that your great volume of work with the Elk is recognized. I enjoyed your DVD's so much and am glad I got to share your love of the elk herd in PA.

Stacey Huston said...

A well deserved cover shot. congrats willard

T and S said...

It surely deserves to be the cover page. What an awesome composition!!!

1Green Thumb said...

Great capture!!!