Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Photo Accomplishments

Today I would like to share two images with you that were published in 2014. Both were somewhat unusual images.  The first is of "Limpy" the great Pennsylvania bull elk that thrilled numerous wildlife watchers and photographers for years before being killed in this year's elk season.  He was most likely the most photographed bull in the state in recent years and his images graced  several publications. This year I submitted a photograph of him to Pennsylvania Magazine for consideration in their 2014 Photo Contest.

Limpy-2013: Canon 70D-Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS II @ 200mm-ISO 400-1/800 sec. f 5.0
The photo was taken in The Saddle at 6:47 on Wednesday September 25, 2013 as the sun was about to set.  Many will recall this evening as a lot of elk enthusiasts were there to witness the dramatic events and stunning scenery.  At the time I recalled how the  crew from Wild Horizons, who filmed in The Saddle a few years ago, preferred to film in dramatic light and I worked to exploit the situation to the best of my ability as this was definitely dramatic light.  I have never been sure that I made the best choices in the situation.  Perhaps I should have exposed for more detail on the elk, but the way it is shown above is the outcome I had in mind when I pressed the shutter.

Whatever the case, it captured second place  in the Wildlife Diorama category, while Ronald Kauffman of York won first place with a dramatic photo of an eagle flying from a nest and Donald Biresch of Ottsville captured third place with a dramatic photo of wolves photographed at The Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania in Lancaster County.    Winning photos and those earning an honorable mention in the Wildlife Diorama category were published in the September/October issue of Pennsylvania Magazine.

I was also pleased when Bugle Magazine chose the Overlook Bull photograph that was feature in the September 29, 2014 post, "Elk Activity Is Now Spotty" to accompany a short article about the co-operative effort between The Pennsylvania Game Commission and The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to acquire the Woodring Property.

Overlook Bull:  Canon 70D- Canon 17-40@ 39mm ISO 100-1/60 sec. f 5.0
This is an unusual image and I have mixed feelings about it, but as one photographer pointed out it is a different type image than what one usually sees from Pennsylvania Elk County.  When I saw the situation I had no chance to change anything, I had to go with the camera and lens that was on my chest ready to go.  I have seen a lot of elk around this overlook, but never on it with the mountains visible behind.  The light was very contrasty and it would have been impossible to get acceptable quality with film or with a straight-out -of- camera jpeg image with a digital camera.  As it was, the original RAW file is washed out over the mountains and the side of the elk and tree trunks are deeply shadowed. Even though the mountains and sky were too bright the detail was not washed out and it was easy to bring it to the correct exposure in Adobe CC Camera Raw.  The shadows slider was used to bring out detail in the dark areas, and other tweaks were used as well such as dodging and burning, etc. The end result has somewhat of an HDR look to it. At any rate it is a photo that will always stand out in my mind because of the unusual circumstances under which it was taken and because it was published by Bugle Magazine.

I wish to thank the faithful readers of this blog  that have supported me on the issues through the years and to the many who have purchased "The Truth About Pennsylvania's Elk Herd" and "Running Wild In Pennsylvania Elk Country".  Also a special thanks to those who helped me in the making of the films.  Your assistance is deeply appreciated.  A Happy and Prosperous New Year to all.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.