Rocky Mtn Elk captured by Z 9 / Z400f4.5

It was one of those classic Yellowstone scenarios, fall cold temps, a hot springs steaming like a train engine and the king of the Rocky wilderness, a bull elk. This Rocky Mtn Elk bull was busily replenishing his fat reserves after a night long bugling contest. He was looking for any grasses left that hadn’t turned yet, munching ever green blade he could. When we first came upon him, it was long before the sun had kissed the skies, he and we were all alone. Yellowstone is empty, basically having the park to ourselves permitting us to photograph to our hearts content with no one pushing the critters. We’ve been able to just watch the critters, letting go about their lives as we click away. The bottom shot, this was the case. The bull calmly munching away, the morning frost still on his back. For about twenty minutes we stood by the van up on the road enjoying his company as he did just the one thing. Then …

A truck went by, slowed down, slammed brakes and pulled in in a very big hurry. I knew it was a photographer. Argh. Dressed in camo (why I don’t know cause just his driving told the elk trouble was coming) rushing up passed us, who were there first and for a long time and very respectfully just watching and shooting, to get his shot. The top shot was the bulls reaction to the photographer. He was a classic example of a panic photographer moving here and there trying to get what he thought I’m sure would be the award winning shot. The elk reacted by trying to find an exit to get away from this photographer who was running from one end of the parking area to the other. We just stood there, it was obvious that our calm encounter has been thrown out the window. Finally, the bull just made a beeline for the trees. I not only regretted the total lack of ethics of the photographer, total lack of field craft, my shooting with the Z400. I needed to have a zoom to deal with this elk being pushed about by this other photographer. Oh, we never got any kind of aware winning photograph (neither did that other photographer) but we were rewarded with an amazing experience before the sun rose with the best signal of fall!


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