Plains Bison Bull | Know When To Walk Away With Your Camera

by on September 5, 2016

That Cinematic Feeling


The leaves were falling and there were several plains bison feeding in the woods. I kept my distance at first, and as I got a bit closer, I thought how perfect this would be to capture the beautiful gold and orange falling leaves as bison ate and moved around the woods. I armed myself with my old lady Canon 1D Mark III and the Canon 300mm ƒ2.8, ready to snag this wonderful autumn wildlife environmental portrait. Oh, how things can change …

I took another good look at this plains bison bull and instantly knew it was time to part ways and we would not be spending any real time together. Understanding when a wild animal does not want you around is crucial to your safety, the safety of others, and the safety of the animal. It has not been too often where I have only made a single frame when being around wildlife, but this was one of those times. It had to be. 

Black and white photo of a Plains bison bull, rustling in the trees at Elk Island National Park.

No Regrets


As Kenny Rogers so brilliantly sang back in 1978, sometimes you need to know when to walk away. And I did just that. No falling leaves. No killer portrait of the pair closest to me. No video. Just one frame. And a memory. I close my eyes and I see the falling leaves in what could only be described as in a cinematic fashion (think of those huge snowflakes slowly falling down; the kind we used to try to catch with our tongues when we were kiddies). I hear the crunching of the fallen leaves and snapped twigs. I knew I was in the presence of one of the most incredible wild species, a plains bison bull, aka the Bison King of the prairies. Sometimes that’s all we need.


See you in the field!


Photographer. Podcaster on hiatus. Wildlife conservation and animal welfare advocate. Edmonton Oilers lovah. Cinematic Star Wars fan. The fifth Golden Girl. Fond of all things Johnny Cash. 

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