I have been filming and photographing the Pennsylvania elk herd since 1995. From 1995 until 2006 my filming was done with a variety of SD (standard-definition) camcorders. This included large shoulder mount VHS and S/VHS camcorders, compact Hi-8, Digital 8, and min-DV units. The most impressive of these were the Canon L2 Hi-8 camcorder, and the Canon XL-1s mini-dv camcorder. Both of these units accepted the full line of Canon EOS lenses and were capable of delivering professional results at long range.
Times change however, and HD (high definition) widescreen video began making serious inroads in 2005. I bought a Sony HVR-A1u HDV camcorder in 2006, and realized that one had to go completely HD to have any hope of competing in the near future so I procured a Canon XL-h1 HD camcorder in Januray 2007. One of the major problems was that much of the wildlife behavior I had captured on SD was hard to obtain and it was going to be very difficult to capture equivalent HD footage in a reasonable time frame.
I had captured several bull fights with the Canon L2, which were included in the film "The Truth About Pennsylvania's Elk Herd",which was released in 2008. One of these fights, which was between the famous character bull Fred ( a.k.a. Bull 36) and a large 6x6, was selected as the fight sequence for the Elk Country Visitor Center theater presentation.
I have been working since 2008 on a sequel to this film, but in all of that time I have been able to only capture short snippets of fights except in one case I did capture a fairly lengthy fight between two collared bulls, but I did not want to use this as the featured fight in a new film, as it was shot under less than ideal conditions.
Fast forward to 2011 and again I captured only a few brief encounters that really didn't qualify as fights, but this time I was in luck as fellow elk photographers and videographers, David Anderson and John Koshinski came to the rescue with dramatic fight footage.
Today we feature a short clip of about one minute in length that is taken from the new film, which will likely be known as "Pennsylvania Elk Country".
David Anderson, a talented wildlife artist and photographer from West Newton, Pennsylvania filmed this with a Canon 7D and a 300mm F4 L lens and did an excellent job of following the motion. The fight is shortened considerably for inclusion in the film, but the most important moments are shown. This fight is between an aggressive 5x5 and a medium-sized collared bull.
Aside from dramatic action and the fine camera work, this clip is notable because it was taken with a DSLR--something that could not have been done just a few short years ago. It was the inclusion of the ability to record widescreen HD video on the Canon 7D that caused me to be among the first purchasers of this camera.
Look for "Pennsylvania Elk Country" to be released sometime in the third quarter of 2012, although the date of release name of the film, and content of sample clips is subject to change.
Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.