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Thread: Elk Portrait

  1. #1
    terrib's Avatar
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    Terri

    Elk Portrait

    I had a glorious morning driving alone on a National Forest back road for the sole purpose of finding wildflowers to photograph. Don't do this very often as I am not very confident about getting too far from civilization by myself. But hubby was out of town and I was determined... I prefer to have him along because I enjoy sharing with him. (it's also nice to have a driver. ) But there is also something exhilarating and calming at the same time about being completely alone with only the sounds of nature around you.

    Along the way, a herd of elk crossed the road in front of me. By the time I could get stopped and step out of the car, they were retreating into the woods. I managed this clear shot through the trees. I'm quite happy with it considering the spotty lighting in the forest. My main self-criticism is that, once again, I went straight for the 400mm focal length which is usually needed for wildlife. It's possible a nice shot could have been made with a wider perspective.

    Elk Portrait

  2. #2
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Elk Portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by terrib View Post
    I'm quite happy with it considering the spotty lighting in the forest. My main self-criticism is that, once again, I went straight for the 400mm focal length which is usually needed for wildlife. It's possible a nice shot could have been made with a wider perspective.
    Terri, it's a great photo, nice detail. Regarding the quote above...I agree that in some cases a wider view can be great for wildlife, but I would not be too hard on yourself in this case, because, IMO, if you would have opted for a wider lens/view you would have included more of the non-ideal contrasty background. I think the tight shot you have here is the best you would have got with any lens. Nice work!

  3. #3

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    Re: Elk Portrait

    Terri, I agree with you 100%. Close-ups are great to show off detail, but the truely great images(I find), are the slightly wider one's.

    When I started shooting whitetails, I went for the close-ups...............now, I much prefer the wider shots. There is a fine line, as to how wide though. Too wide and the subject is too small in the frame. I use a 85mm alot now, but I get really close to the subject. Sometimes I shoot longer range, with the 300mm for a wider angle. In my opinion, you can only shoot so many close-ups, without getting the same shot over and over.

    One tip for shooting wider shots........................find the backgrounds first, and then shoot the wildlife that shows up in the area.

  4. #4
    kaneohebud's Avatar
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    Bud Ralston

    Re: Elk Portrait

    Terri:
    Don't beat yourself up. This is a very nice close-up. Clear eyes and nice fur detail.

    When you're driving around and an animal (or herd) crosses the road in front of you, you are lucky to get anything in the spur of the moment. I can't count the number of times I've had deer, bear, elk, coyotes, etc. pop up and vanish in a moment. You're lucky if you can get one keeper under those circumstances. When I drive around in wildlife areas, I keep a bean bag on the driver's side window and my camera in my lap with my 70-400mm ready to go. Sometimes shooting at 300mm (450 equiv) will give some background for context. Just stay out there and keep shooting. You've been posting some very nice photos lately.

  5. #5

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    Re: Elk Portrait

    I have not had much success shooting wide in the woods, I like the shot you have here and think 400 was the way to go. I find myself using my 200 a lot more for deer and elk, but like Steve said I try to find the spots they like then wait on them in the ones I like. I agree with Bud lately you have been posting some really great stuff.

  6. #6
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Elk Portrait

    Beautiful capture... Love the expression you caught.

  7. #7
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Elk Portrait

    Thanks everyone for your kind comments. In reality, in this thick woods, a wider shot probably wouldn't have worked well but I would like to remember to think about it.

    I agree with Steve and James that knowing habits and waiting for them to show in nice backgrounds is a great way to go. This, however, was just a shot of opportunity. The best views were through the windshield but that's a lost cause so I didn't even try. No shots out an open window. I had a heck of a time with some birds later on the drive. I'd see them out the front windshield. I'd drive SLOWLY to try to line up with the window but before I'd get there, they'd fly forward a few trees. One bird kept that up with me for 4 times. Same thing with the Abert's squirrels. I'm going back next week to try to sit in one spot and wait.

  8. #8
    Cantab's Avatar
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    Re: Elk Portrait

    Terri, congratulations on a really good shot and on being able to grab the opportunity.

  9. #9

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    Re: Elk Portrait

    Really great detail, Terri. And it sounds like you had fun making the capture. Nice job.

  10. #10
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Elk Portrait

    Thanks, Bruce and Dan. And yes, I had a wonderful morning.

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