Two male Elk battling it out for their place in the heirarchy of the chain! Sure was quite the sight to see!

Two male Elk battling it out for their place in the heirarchy of the chain! Sure was quite the sight to see!
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Behind The Lens

This photo was taken on the Elk and Bison ranch that my Mum and Step-Dad used to work on just south of Calgary Alberta. The ranch is called Canadian Ricky Mountain Ranch and they cater to big restaurants and resorts across Canada like Cilanto, The Lake House, Buffalo Mountain Lodge, Deer Lodge, and Emerald Lake Lodge. The ranch itself is available for people to do drive by views of the animals as well as caters to tours.
This was shot about 1.5 hrs after sunrise. The early morning light was one of the best times to catch the male Elk in their most active state during the Rutting Season.
The morning light was low enough to cast the shadows of other male Elk standing by, watching these two fight out fortheir place in the "pecking order" for breeding. It also showcases the snow in its usual white and a deep sky blue. It was not easy to capture the shadows in this vivid colour during such a lively competition!
I used my old Canon XTi DSLR and my Canon 55-250mm lens with a polarized filter lens protector.
I'd never seen Elk clashing their heads together without their antlers. I thought with everything else being great, I'd better take advantage of such a unique opportunity and it turned out spectacular! I also wanted to show others the magnificence of Elk in an action view instead of in a docile or alert state.
With this shot, I didn't need to do any post-processing or editing! It's not often I capture such a great, crisp, clear, vibrant shot. When those rare gems come through, I'm very proud of showcasing them as they are!
In my camera bag
I always have a spare lens, usually my Cano18-55mm 5.6. I also make sure to have a spare lens cap and cover, spare memory cards (just in case), a microfibre cloth to keep my new Canon 70D clean, as well as my two lenses (the 18-55 and 55-250), and even though it's not equipment, I ALWAYS keep a picture of my Dad in my camera bag, because he always encouraged me to take the risky shots, to always be creative, and to never let anything stop me from getting what I want. Now that he's passed away 3 years ago, I keep his photo with me for reminder of that and inspiration for new shots.
Patience is HUGE! I may have gotten this photo about 1.5 hrs after the sun rose... but that was 1.5 hrs of being in an open kaboda, in -34 degree Celsius weather waiting on animals who live by their own wins and timing. Always carry at least two varying lenses of distance, so that if one doesn't get you the closeness you're looking for, the other will. Never leave your house without dressing appropriately and being properly prepared for weather! I figured I'd only need a heavy sweater when I went out for this photo shoot. In the city, it was only -16. I thought, just in case, I should bring an extra pair of pants, my big winter coat, and 2 pairs of gloves, just in case. Boy was I glad I did! One thing I like having, is a polarized lense protecting filter to screw into the end of my lens. It helps minimizes glares and over exposures most of the time, and it also helps bringing out better, more vibrant colours in the pictures. TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES!!! One thing I've noticed is if I take my time to line up the "perfect picture" I NEVER get it because I miss it. If you have an old film camera, then by all means, take your time! If you have a DSLR, you can sift through all the pictures to find that perfect one you DID catch. Also, don't take one pic, then look at it... you just might miss that even better shot! Keep taking them until the action is done, and look through them later on your computer!

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