Caught the local herd out a few days back, and the herd bull and his leading lady were getting a bit ..umm..frisky, and right in front of the children...
1/100s f/7.1 at 300.0mm iso1250
I've been working hard at improving the quality of my photo's, and am pleased with the results from this outing. These were all shot in fading light, and with the 70mm-300mm ED/VR at an estimated distance of 125m - 150m.
Posted a pic of this fellow a few weeks back, and since that time he has rubbed off the rest of the "velvet" covering on this years set of antlers. He even went so far as to polish the tips to a nice ivory luster..which in elk language means he's ready to fight for dominance over the harem of of about 20 cows (gals) he has gathered. He is most definitely "The Boss":
1/160s f/5.6 at 300.0mm iso1000
1/160s f/5.6 at 300.0mm iso1000
When the elk are involved in their breeding season (aka: rut), the bulls get very aggressive with one another in order to establish dominance over the cows. The strongest of the bulls generally wins the fights (which can get nasty mean at times), meaning that only the biggest and strongest of the gene pool gets breeding rights. This insures that the progeny will be strong, healthy calves that can withstand the harshness of a cold winter, and that will continue his bloodlines to strengthen the herd.
In this last pic the Herd Boss was getting a bit vocal, but unfortunately the light was about completely gone. I really wanted a shot of him bugling, so took a chance and cranked the ISO up to 2000 and snapped this last shot off-hand while he was mid-bugle.
Click on the link below the pic and you can hear what they actually sound like.
Pic is not very good, but considering the conditions (near dark and shot off-hand) I was very pleased to capture it at all. There is a cow on the left side with a calf nudging her side, and she has a collar from the Dept. of Wildlife. They use these to keep track of the location of the herd.
(Short side note : Last Saturday morning I went up to the remote mountain area where I get the best views for shooting the sunrise. It was still quite early when I arrived, so I set up the tripod and got the camera properly mounted and ready to shoot photo's when the Sun started glowing on the eastern horizon. As I sat there in my chair, sipping my coffee and gazing into the fog filled valley's below me, the dominant bulls from the various elk herds began singing their "challenge to battle" bugles to one another across the valley floor. As one would bugle to the North, another would answer the call from a mountain side or canyon perhaps as far as a mile away. Still another would respond from another valley to the East, and one even bugled from high above and behind me to the South.
In all I counted 8 different bulls, all challenging each other for their harems, and have no doubt that one or two sought out their competitors and engaged in battle with each other before the days end.
As the Sun rose they soon grew silent, however in all the years I've spent living around these animals, including the many years I spent hunting them with stick and string, that was without question the most magical, bugle filled half-hour I've ever had the good fortune to experience.)
These are also the first images I've processed with the Adobe Lightroom 3. Have to admit I was a bit upset when I opened the box and out slid a CD, but no instruction book whatsoever. Guess I'm just "old school"..LOL.
Plenty of tutorials on the web, however, and there is little doubt that it's going to take me awhile...(make that a couple of "awhiles").. to get anywhere near proficient with all the bells and whistles this program has.
As always, your comments and, dare I say criticism's are greatly appreciated; any suggestions made will be put into practice.
If interested, there are more elk pics on my PBase page at: http://www.pbase.com/dizzygazer/all_elk_photos