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Working Rocky Mountain Elk

You know you’re not disturbing the the subject if it falls asleep. This may seem a little counter intuitive but if you’re working with wildlife and your subject falls asleep then that means that it feels safe. Critters are constantly on the alert for predators and a person gives off that same feeling of distrust to a critter as a predator would. It’s an unknown species in their habitat which can make them uncomfortable. So if they fall asleep then that means they don’t care about you.

Right now is a great time to be working with large mammals. Elk, Deer, Bison, Bighorn Sheep, they all have their winter coats on so they look bigger and more vibrant. They also all tend to forage around the paths of least resistance. Calories in versus calories out. One my favorite spots to go is Paradise Valley because the corridor acts a protective valley with lots of vegetation. Two important things to keep in mind when working out of vehicle, which is one of the best methods since it acts as blind, are be sure to pull all the way over and have the camera ready. Basic safety is essential for both you and the subject. Don’t stop unless you know that it is safe too. Secondly, if you’re traveling in an area where you think there will be good photo opps then be sure to have the camera ready. I had the D5 and 200-400 VR on my lap in case I ran into anything and in this case it was a herd of about 50 Elk with this juvenile male being the subject.

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