The great prairies of North America had to have been one of the greatest wildlife theaters on the planet in the early 1800s! You read the Lewis & Clark Journals, Edward Warren or Jedediah Smith and you can’t help but drop everything and head to our midwest to see what’s left for yourself. The one critter they talk about a lot in great reverence and romantically is the Pronghorn. I think it was that and knowing it’s our fastest mammal in North America first took me out to the Black Hills and Custer State Park to spend time with this majestic animal.
If you receive our BT Journal, you know who much I love to spend time with these critters since I have a whole issue on them. They are so connected to the prairie that everyday they live a slightly differently than the day before or they will tomorrow. This flow is what makes them great to just watch. It’s what makes photographing them not on a challenge, but incredibly rewarding. Now you can find Prong in many places throughout the US but I prefer Custer because the restrictions are not restricting. If a Prong walks right up to you, you don’t have to run, you can enjoy the moment and photograph them. And it’s very common when you stay in your vehicle and simply give them a moment, they will do just that! And they have great eyes!
Photographing Pronghorn I turn to my favorite combo: D4 , 200-400VR2 mounted on a Wimberley / Gitzo for the video. For the stills, I was inside the truck so handheld the rig. Still wanting to do a romantic video with zooming while shooting was in my mind but as you will see, I didn’t achieve that goal. But getting more serious about my video, I continued to use the DP-6 which makes a HUGE difference in following action and smoothly. This is an edited down video from the hour of video shot to just 5min. I did the editing on the iMac with all the vid residing on the ioSafe N2 and doing the editing right in Premiere Pro CS7. My only regret is that my video panning skills are not even up to the running of the Prong. I was stubborn and kept trying to do it with the long lens which is difficult, especially compared to shooting with a shooter lens. I’ve not given up though and with more practice, I’ll get that video I want to express the grace of these prairie critters. Mother Nature is just amazing!