The time of year has come again where the large resident ungulates at Elk Island National Park participate in their annual rut (mating season). Over the last few years, I’ve spent many hours photographing, documenting and observing the rut. There’s a lot to be told about the mating season, and it’s rather fascinating, drawing wildlife photographers and enthusiasts to the park. I thought between shooting the rut and my regular safety work, I’d blog about the experience a bit, and if anything, educate some folks about the rut. The rutting season is serious business and needs to be treated as such! Saying this all aside, there are lots of exciting times ahead at Elk Island!
On a side note, I’ve been having techie issues the past couple months since upgrading to OS X Lion. Though there are still glitches to iron out, I thought I’d post again and just deal! I actually miss my time in the editing cave! Hurry up, Mountain Lion!
To kick us off on the bison rut, here are a few images from the past few years. Stay tuned!
I’m in the midst of gathering some older wildlife images for a project and I came across this image taken about 2.5 months ago. As I have described in a previous post, elk are rather elusive at Elk Island, so it was a definite treat (who needs the Dairy Queen kind, right?) to come across so many elk at once. This image was taken before the sunrise and the higher ISO left this image a little too grainy for my liking. I did like the scene which played out in front of me though, so I ran this through Silver Efex to see what I could come up with. Possible young love with this bull and cow elk (in the middle)? Unlikely, but it made for a cute moment regardless. It’s always interesting to see nature in action – even when it’s just a regular Saturday morning with not too much going on.
See you in the field!
Have I really been this lax with posting? Whoops. I have many blog posts in drafts and many ideas, so it’s just about finding time to get it all done. I thought I’d dig out a couple images from my archives because I will hopefully be able to sneak away for a couple days next month to Jasper, and there are a few things I plan on redoing (see below)!
This image below was taken at 630am on a rainy Jasper morning in May, 2010. I was expecting hoards of photographers, as this is a hella coveted area, but I was the lone photographer on a mission that morning. There was no visible sunrise and the lighting was nothing to write home about, given the rain, but there is something I still like about this photo. Maybe it’s because I had the entire area to myself this morning. I decided just to grab the camera and walk around on my own for a bit before heading to Maligne Lake. No tripod, no heavy camera bag – just me and the sounds of nature. Something about these rainy mornings make me happy, even when the photos are more of a snap shot in time from a particular moment, and not much else.
These images were taken as a group of tourists and photographers (such as myself) were fawning over an eagle resting in a tree over the Miette River. Almost impossible to capture unless you had a very long telephoto (even on my little 300mm, I could barely capture her). As the excitement finally died down and I was getting ready to head home to Edmonton, I saw something long and brown out of the corner of my eye and I ran back and there they were, 2 bull moose crossing the Miette!! No time to think, no time to do anything but shoot from the bridge and try not to jump up and down so much between shutter clicks. The composition leaves little to be desired in the bottom two images, as I had to crop them in half in order to ditch all the trees out of focus. Ah well! These images served as one crucial component for a wildlife geek like me, and that was an insight into their behaviour. It was dead brilliant to watch these bulls, especially this one below (the other scurried off into the woods rather quickly). From seemingly simple images, combined with what I witnessed, provided me with a little bit of behavioural data for these elusive Canadian Rockies residents, and that makes this day anything but a bust. My question to you is: when shooting wildlife, are you more focused on the final image itself or do you take the time to observe and record wildlife behaviour for future reference?