Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pennsylvania Elk Rut 2011-Part 1

I arrived  in Pennsylvania's elk country on the afternoon of September 18th, and returned home after the morning's activity on Friday September 30th. Weather conditions were less than ideal, but rutting activity and photo/filming opportunities were outstanding.  At one time I preferred bright, sunny weather for photography, but now I like to do a substantial amount of photography  and filming in weather which has "character".  Video is especially effective when it is raining or snowing as the falling precipitation contributes to the "wild" look of the scene. As usual, there was a lot of fog at times, but this too can result in dramatic photographs as long as it is not so thick as to obscure the subject.

Early Morning Fog Adds Atmosphere To Photos And Video
Distant Herd Bull And Harem
The warm weather was actually the biggest problem as rutting activity decreases during warm periods and there were some evenings that were very disappointing.  I recall one in particular where several bulls arrived at the Gilbert viewing area, only to lie down and do little except bugle intermittently until it was too dark for good photographs.  I actually do not have many good photographs from this trip as I concentrated on video and neglected to take stills in many cases.  I am currently in the process of rough editing and archiving the video from this trip and have almost completed that which was taken with the Canon XL-H1 and  I am now about  to begin working with footage taken with the T3i.  Considering the amount and quality of video taken, this was one of the most outstanding trips to elk country I have ever had. 

Another important aspect of the trip is getting to touch base with a lot of people that one only gets to see once or twice a year and it is always good to meet blog readers and those that have seen the elk film.  In what is hopefully to be one of many meetings, Richard Coy organized a gathering and picnic at the old Benezette School pavilion on Saturday September 24th for those that discuss the Pennsylvania elk herd on Facebook. He called it "Elk Rut Shoot 2011".  After the afternoon picnic, several members of the group went to the popular viewing areas on Dewey Road for an evening of elk photography.  I already knew several of the attendees, but it was good to actually meet the others I only knew as online personalities from Facebook or the blog,. .  In the past few years I  have met many people face to face that I have corresponded with in comments on the blog, e-mails, and Facebook postings and in most if not all cases, I find them to be exactly as one expects them to be.  Most that are interested in serious wildlife photography are truly good people and this shows through in their writing and when one meets them.

Pennsylvania Elk Rut Shoot 2011; Old  Benezette School
Photographers Meet In Elk Country: Paul Staniszewski, Odie Swartz, Ron Saffer, David Anderson, Randy Quinn
I thank all of those that have purchased "The Truth About Pennsylvania's Elk Herd" and that read the blog.  The video, which was released in the fall of 2008 continues to sell well and is still pertinent to most of the issues about elk management and the hunt today.  The PGC did eliminate the combined hunt zones, which did address one of the major concerns discussed in the film, but this year they  negated that by doubling the number of bull tags issued for Hunt Zones 2 and 8, which are immediately adjacent to the elk viewing areas, but that has been discussed in the past and will hopefully be a subject for future posts.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


Ruth Hiebert said...

That last image has a lot of money sitting in it. Equipment like that is not cheap.

Brad Myers said...

Willard, I want to thank you again for allowing me to tag along again this year. This was my third rut with you guys and it is something Ilook forward to every year. I hope we get to do it for many more years.

I love viewing and photographing the elk but I think I enjoy the company of great people even more.

I can't wait now for the whitetail rut.

Thanks Brad

Les Barr said...

Hello, Willard.

I have been reading and watching the Posts made by Richard Coy & Marci about the Elk Country area. What I'm going to try and do in the near future, is go here and see these magnificent animals for myself. Marcie sent me directions to get there. Seems like it will be a good 4 hr. drive from here in Reading. Since I don't have big Wildlife Lens's like the ones pictured above, I do have a telephoto Lens. I'll have to make do with what I have.

Willard said...

Ruth,You are so right, those are serious toys for serious boys!

Brad, you are always welcome and I feel the same as you about the company.

Corker2, I hope you do make it to elk country. It is a 3-3/12 hour drive for me, but well worth it. A 70-200mm or 75-300 easily fills the bill, but sometimes it is nice to have something a bit longer. I do most of my elk photography with the 70-200mm and the 300mm f2.8.

Heather said...

I really look forward to finally meeting you all at the next meeting, next to my little girls the elk are my next biggest passion and anyone that loves them as much as I do has to be a great person!

PaWingers said...

All are excellent pictures as always. I really do like the last one a lot though. We are so lucky to live near this piece of paradise.

V.L. Locey said...

What beautiful landscapes, and pictures of photographers as well!

Anonymous said...

Wow! The first photo is incredible!! Where was that taken? It seems to be a higher location than the viewing areas. Fog certainly adds to photos! Very nice.