Hearing the bugle of an elk in the wilderness is a primal experience not to be missed. This male in Yellowstone National Park was in prime condition and was announcing his presence to any rivals who might be tempted to invade his harem. He had begun gathering females for the fall breeding season, and was determined to keep them all for himself.
Even though there is no sound coming from this image, his lowered stance, curved neck, and open mouth convey the moment of his echoing call.
When shooting wildlife we have no control over where the animal is in the landscape, but we can still do our best to create a strong composition by changing our camera position and its height (if there is time and the animal is not moving). I was sitting on a low log for this shot which helped to line up his antlers perfectly, as well as provide separation between his belly and his shadow. In addition, a bit of cropping (in post-production) helped to make this image stronger.
As you can see in the uncropped version here, a scruffy hillside at the top of the image was cropped out, as well as some excess grass at the bottom and along the sides. Those decisions were based on the need to eliminate extraneous elements and use what was there to enhance the composition.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: If you interested in getting out into the wild for birds, check out this photo workshop coming up in January in Bosque del Apache, New Mexico. It is being run by Hunt's Photo and Video. My travel schedule prevents me from attending, but I have found this location to be great for photographing thousands of Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes. Info here
Shutter Speed 1/500 sec. Aperture f/13. ISO 200. Lens: Canon 400mm f/5.6L. Camera: Canon 5D Mark III. Handheld.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "The idea of wilderness needs no defense. It only needs more defenders." -Edward Abbey