Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 In Retrospect-Part 1

Mature Bull Eating Apples

2012 was a challenging and rewarding year.  This marked my 38th year of photographing wildlife,my 21st year of video filming, and the fifth year of publishing the Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer blog

I was especially pleased to win first place in the Wilderness category of the Pennsylvania Magazine 2012 Photo Contest.  One is only notified if they place or win in the competition--they are not told the official reason why. I do have a good idea why this photograph was selected, however, and will pass those ideas along in hopes of helping other photographers.

First some technical information:  The photo was taken along Winslow Hill Road at 6:06 in the morning of July 14, 201. The lens used was a Canon 300mm f2.8 lens mounted on a Gitzo tripod with Wimberley Head.  The Camera was a Canon 7D, with ISO set at 400.  Exposure was 1/125 sec. f2.8, with the camera being set in manual mode. Evaluative metering mode was used with the reading being taken from the brightest part of the grass beside the elk.  I captured numerous poses that morning, some of which were portraits of the animal in the traditional alert pose, but most of my efforts were focused on capturing him getting apples from the tree.  In many cases he used the tips of his antlers to dislodge them and then ate them once they were on the ground. The photo above yielded the most pleasing composition as he attempted to reach an apple by stretching for it.

This reminds me of a piece of advice that PGC photographer/videographer Hal Korber shared many years ago.  He emphasized that one should try to capture wildlife doing something.  A certain amount of photographs of animals grazing, etc. are fine, but it is the ones that capture the animal doing something dramatic or unusual that are most likely to be successful.

In summary, I think this photograph succeeded because it captures an impressive animal in a beautiful natural setting,  the photo is technically acceptable, and most of all it captures the bull doing something unusual in an attractive way.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


7 comments:

Nancy J said...

You truly deserve "First Place" with that shot, and the details shared with us,you are generous and thoughtful,specially to us with Canon cameras.Yes, I agree, an animal just standing is good, but active, or picking apples... is so very very good. Congrats again, greetings for 2013 from Jean.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

It is a beautiful image and well deserving of recognition.

Lindsjö taxar said...

Beautiful! many times is the moment who counts.....hope to see more moments.
I had some great unusual moments last year too :-) wildlife is surprising...

marilyn wood said...

This is a great capture! I too enter that contest I've recieved every place but 1st even had a cover photo.Your advice is excellent they get hundreds of widelife photos some are very much a like so yours needs to be unlike the hundreds before yours it has to stand out from the crowd have great compostion and lighting and be differant. I'm still learning but always enjoy entering.

Willard said...

Thanks to all for the positive comments.

Thanks for stopping by Marilyn. It is good to hear from another contributor to PA Magazine. One of my favor tie aspects of working with photography and video is that one never runs out of things to learn and this keeps it interesting.

Larry W. Brown said...

Congrats on the achievement, Willard - a terrific behavioral image no doubt. I hope the new year holds lots of other good things in store for you.

Linda Gross said...

Congratulations on taking first place in the Pennsylvania Magazine 2012 Photo Contest. I subscribe to that magazine :-)