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on Aug 24, 2012 in Wildlife Photography

It’s Coming up on Big Game Season!

That’s how my good friend, a biologist in the Rockies started his email to me yesterday. We call fall that because it’s in the fall that big game, moose, elk, deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and bears (though they are not big game) grow out with their gorgeous, new winter coats. It’s also the season when I think about getting out in the forests and photograph these majestic critters. For most big game, this is the season of love, what most normal folks call the rut. This annual ritual of life is a fascinating right of passage to watch. You see the classic battle of the big boys going at it. And then the younger, faster males shoot in while the big boys are fighter and mate and get out before the big boys know what happened. Then the big boys get all sexually frustrated and do things I’m not going to mention on this family blog. And the next day when the sun comes up, it starts all over again. It is an amazing, fascinating, ancient call of biology that is just a great show!

When it comes to photography, it’s a slam dunk! Really!! All you need is a lens in the 200 to 400 range, my favorite choice is the 200-400VR2 and this fall I can’t wait to take the D4 out with its 6 stop range. Why? I like the dramatic light, a spot light on the critter surrounded by darkness. While I like it, I don’t always get it but at least this fall when it is served up to me, I’m ready. But generally, fall presents the best light for wildlife photographers, especially in October. If you do your homework now, looking for where the big game are gathering in open areas, you can easily get great shots using just a 70-200 lens. All these photos here where taken with just a 70-200!

Now you might be looking for some big racks in a blog post about fall big game. Well, I thought I would give the moms a little call out today. Typically ignored, when mom has a kid in tow, they make for a great subject. One of these photos was taken in the spring. You know which one? And while I have your eye, I want to call your attention to something on NPR today, part of the reason of my friend’s email yesterday. It’s something we’ve been talking about for years and now more science is showing what we thought was happening actually is. It directly effects big game and our photography!