Friday, September 13, 2013

Tutorial -- Scene from the Rut

If you are going to take great elk photos, you need to understand their behavior. Because I have been taking elk pictures now for many years, I know what to look for, and many of the basic behaviors of Arkansas elk.

This picture was taken a couple of years ago, but I never bothered to process it. This is the very end of a river crossing.

Remember this basic fact. When elk move, virtually all the time the herd bull will be last in line.  He is protecting against bulls that hang around the edges of his harem. This gives you plenty of time to prepare for the bull's arrival. I always use the cows that precede the bull for test shots to get the exposure and composition just right.  Be thoughtful, the best tool in your photographic arsenal is your mind.

In this picture, the herd bull JYD, is "looking off" a satellite bull that has averted his gaze.  This is behavior is typical of herd bull behavior in the rut.

From a photographic perspective, I like this picture pretty well. I like the crossing light, and the way the elk are organized in the composition.  JYD is a fine bull and his "looking off" pose is classic. You can see the power in his back.

I have found that many elk photos benefit from a "pano" crop.  This is cropped 12x6  or 2:1.   I do bullfights in 3:1 quite often.

Herd Bull JYD "Looks Off" a Satellite Bull

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