elk

All posts tagged elk

I tend to think I’m a social (sociable) guy. But I know I also love solitude. I love to go out by myself, to places where I know I’m alone, where no one can hear me, where I can hear no one.
When I was in the Rocky Mountains with my Buddy Wayne we had an absolute great time, spent together of course, mostly. But there was one moment when we were supposed to shoot the sunrise over Grand Lake, but replanned because there was too thick a fog. We went out on a hike instead and at some point I ventured one way and he the other. I veered off the path and walked about half a mile or so into the bushes, until just at the edge of the forest line.

D800, ISO800, 1/1000 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 70-200mm

D800, ISO800, 1/1000 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 70-200mm

See, not very good for sunrise, or what? 😀

Got some surprising company in the end:

D800, ISO800, 1/1000 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 70-200mm

D800, ISO800, 1/1000 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 70-200mm, Nikkor TC2 III

D800, ISO800, 1/1000 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 70-200mm, Nikkor TC2 III

D800, ISO800, 1/1000 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 70-200mm, Nikkor TC2 III

 

It was awesome. Yeah, it could’ve been a black bear, I realize. In which case it would’ve still been awesome, but things may not have ended in the same way as they did 😀
It’s a completely different feeling than when you pull up behind the other 10 cars with people (and their pockets / cellphones with flash).

There’s plenty of it. I’m not going to say we saw it all. Or that we got the best pictures ever. There’s plenty we didn’t see, and there are plenty of better pictures out there, but still… We did get some nice stuff.

Surprisingly, no moose. I’m not really mourning the lack of moose. We have them plenty here. But it would’ve been fun to have seen some in a different environment than the Finnish.
Elk in abundance. Elk was new the first day. You see a herd, you grab the camera as quick as you can and you go clickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclick. And you have 300 pictures of elk. I deleted about 60 of them to make space on my card when I found out that the other two Kingston cards didn’t work. When I got home I deleted another 200. That was my first day “in the office”. I guess that’s how it goes all the time. You go to a new place and you get all excited and think you’ll never see those things again, so you just keep the finger on the button. I should’ve known better, after about 15 years of traveling with camera gear.
The funniest thing was all the other photographers. Elk is easy, they’re on the side of the road, shy, but not so shy that they won’t venture closer to the road. So wherever you see a row of cars parked on the shoulder, you can be fairly certain there’s a herd of elk roaming around. And the driver/passengers of the car are standing either behind, beside or in front of the car, taking pictures with their pocket camera and flash, or even better, with their cellphones, of elk standing anywhere from 200-500 meters out in the field, in semi-dark, foggy weather.
I was shooting with a D800, 70-200mm + 2x teleconverter. Below is what I got (this is the average scene you’ll see, in a few variations). Keep in mind with what gear it’s shot, and add to that, that I shot it at 400mm (the 2x TC), ISO3200, 1/500 sec @ f/5.6

Herd of elk walking along the treeline in the Rocky Mountains

D800, ISO3200, 1/500 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 70-200mm, Nikkor TC2

A crop from that scene looks like this:

Herd of elk walking along the treeline in the Rocky Mountains

Crop of the previous picture

So that looks already quite noisy and soft. And the above picture was already cropped and adjusted in Lightroom from its original, which looks like this:

Herd of elk walking along the treeline in the Rocky Mountains

The original, much darker. Even at ISO3200 I still had to adjust the exposure with almost 1,5 stops to get up to the first image.

So I believe that people standing outside their cars with their pocket cameras and cell phones, all with minuscule sensors and a basic wide angle lens on it (hurray for digital zoom!) would see something like this when they download their pictures at home to their computers (where the white area is more grass and trees, because that’s what you get with wide-angle):

Herd of elk walking along the treeline in the Rocky Mountains

The herd of elk taken with compact camera or cell phone

I guess it wouldn’t strike as very funny to people who aren’t photographers or know about photography, but this just always gets me going. Shooting wildlife -which is already almost out of reach of a professional camera with a zoom lens- with compact or cellphone. And flash… 😀 😀

Anyway… I’ll get me coat.
More wildlife in the next post.