Monday, September 12, 2016
I realize that most elk enthusiasts are mainly interested in the elk rut that is now underway, but for today I wish to post a short film featuring highlights of the mid-August trip to Pennsylvania Elk Country.
It opens with a Beaver and Cedar Waxwings feeding one evening in a remote wilderness area, then shifts to a large bachelor group of whitetail bucks and a bull elk that has not yet shed the velvet. Next, you get to see clips of a calf elk that show how the spots are fading, and bulls in various stages of shedding the velvet.
It then returns to the wilderness area. As noted before, the evening began with filming the Cedar Waxwing's and the Beaver. As it grew late a few whitetail deer appeared but at this point it didn't seem likely that elk would be seen, but then I noticed a deer feeding in an area of bushes and tall grass beyond the meadow. While looking at it through the lens, I was startled when a set of shining, bare elk antlers came into the finder as a bull came walking through the brush toward the meadow. I pressed the record button and began filming. Soon a larger bull and a cow came into view and then in a few moments a herd of elk came pouring into the meadow.
To show how rapidly it was growing dark, I began filming at ISO 1600 at 8:21 p.m.and I was using ISO 5000 when they came into the meadow at 8:27 p.m.and a short time later I was at ISO 6400, which is the maximum for the Panasonic GH4. I like to keep the ISO as low as possible and when I get on 1600 I will drop to 1/30 sec. shutter speed if necessary before changing to a higher setting. 1/60 is the recommended shutter speed for shooting video at 30 frames per second, but I have found that if action is not too rapid that it is possible to get reasonably good footage at 1/30.
For those who are interested in such things all of the footage shown today except for the still of the shed velvet and the non-typical bull horning bushes were taken with the GH4 with the old model Canon 100-400mm L lens and either the Metabones Speedbooster or Smart Adapter.
Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.