It's in my blood.
Since I was given my first camera, when I was a little kid, I have always been fascinated by capturing in a shot what my eyes were seeing around me. The beauty of nature or the smile of a friend, an event or an emotion... Precious pearls to be framed in a photo. Whether freezing a movement or moving the stillness, looking at normality through a different angle or portraying the exceptional, I can choose different perspectives, I can catch reality. I think this passion is in my blood, I inherited it from my Grandpa and then from my Dad, and it has always had a great influence in my life. Come and follow me in my journey searching impressions of life.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Bull Elk in Grand Teton

It was our last day in Grand Teton National Park and we decided to take it easy and drive around the area, instead of going up all the way to Yellowstone. 

For the whole trip we hadn't seen large mammals that often: just a deer, a couple of encounters with elk, and bison... yeah... bison are indeed large and actually I saw quite a good number all together, but when I saw them it was a very bad photographic situation, in back light, almost at noon, one of the worst possible conditions... Sometimes I don't realize I grade everything from a photo opportunity point of view... sorry. I actually was happy to see them, but it wasn't in the beautiful Hayden valley in Yellowstone, it was in another, less attractive, location, not far from the road in a plain area – and Denise was not with me (I had got up before dawn to go and photograph the beavers... but that is another story). Anyway, back to the point, up to that moment we hadn't been able to take good pictures of large mammals. OK, I said it.

But while driving along one of the main roads, we saw one large animal resting in the shade of some trees. At first we thought of a moose, but getting closer we saw it was a large male elk.

              381mm f/6.3 1/500sec ISO 1250 +0.33

                            200mm f/6.3 1/500sec ISO 1000 +0.33

At least 6 years old, as we could see from the big antlers. The animal had recently stripped the velvet off them and a few signs could still be seen on the antlers surface. The rut time was close and the male were getting ready "to perform".

After staying some time in the shade, the animal decided to stand up and move so I followed slowly – actually I was walking backwards as he was walking towards me – always maintaining a distance larger than what recommended by the park rules, not only to be safe, but not to bother the animal, that in fact was peacefully eating grass and plants in the sagebrush prairie. The telephoto helped getting close ups without disturbing him.

              225mm f/5.0 1/1000sec ISO 125

              88mm f/6.3 1/1600sec ISO 125

              400mm f/7.1 1/1000sec ISO 200

It was indeed a beautiful bull, with great antlers. It's incredible to think that they shed every year and then grow back larger and larger every time. Basically, they are too heavy to be carried around the whole time so after the mating rituals, the antlers are abandoned until they are needed again.

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