Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tips for Elk River Shots & Crossings

Setting up for river shots is pretty simple, but one must be mindful that it is roughly like swinging for home runs -- you will strike out a lot, BUT when you connect with a river shot, you are hooked for life.

The photographer below was heading to one such sitting spot. He was hoping to get elk drinking at the river on the opposite bank. The formula for this is simple. Locate the field where the elk are, get behind them (or beside them) and wait. The will come to the river to drink, and they might cross too if it is possible (or not).

Going for an Elk River Shot
Fall color reflections can easily be brought into these photos. The key here is to locate a great river reflection and locate the elk trail that crosses it. Elk trails are easy to find. Good landscape compos are pretty easy to make. Bring the two together, add elk, and you have it.

Elk River Shots With Fall Reflections Can Be Dramatic
The crossing shot below puts an even finer point on the composition. This elk is cross lit by sunrise light cutting right down the trail toward him. This shot kind of looks impossible, but really it is about time of day, pre-visualization, and moving elk. If there are reflecting pools they add a lot.  

TIP: One thing that makes these photos much easier is that the herd bull is nearly always last when herd moves.  This give you plenty of time to think through your composition, exposure and timing.  You set these up with the cows that precede the bull. In this way, this is nothing like a snap shot, it can be very well planned. In the shot below, at least 20 cows that preceded this bull. They made it easy to get this shot and help me plan the final compo.

Think About Painting with Cutting Light -- Get Creative

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