Archive for October, 2011


Posted in Backgrounds, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Wildlife Photography, Winslow Hill with tags , , , , on October 31, 2011 by bobshank

Backgrounds are critical in photography. A bad background can ruin an otherwise excellent photograph. A good background can enhance even a mediocre photo. Backgrounds are critical, so learn to pay attention to the background when making photographs.

This background is nothing fancy. In fact, that’s why it works. The white clouds in the background help to eliminate any distractions and help the subject of the bull elk stand out in this photo. I do wish the blue sky was brighter, but otherwise I think this photo works. What do you think?



Bugling in an Unusual Pose

Posted in Bugling Bull, Elk County, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Wildlife Photography, Winslow Hill with tags , , , , , on October 27, 2011 by bobshank

This bull is bugling in the fall rut as many bulls do, but I was struck by his somewhat unusual pose in this photograph.

His back legs are spread out slightly, which created an interesting angle in his left rear leg. The bugling posture is typical, with antlers tilted backward. I am not sure exactly what it is about this photograph that I like, but I do like it. Do you?

It’s an Uphill Climb

Posted in Bull, Hill, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Silhouette, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , , on October 25, 2011 by bobshank

It is an uphill climb for the elk.

Now that the breeding season of the fall is nearly over, the elk have to regain their strength and gain much-needed energy and reserves for the winter. The winter season can be harsh on the elk range and survival depends greatly on preparation. If an elk does not prepare well, it will die in the brutal weather brought on during the cold winter months.

This photograph was captured on the last week of September and while it shows a nice bull elk starting to walk up the hill, I think it foreshadows the uphill climb required by all elk over the upcoming winter months. I do always find it amazing how one photograph can provoke us to think so much, and this photo is no exception. Is this merely a photo of one bull elk making his way up a hill in the fall, or does this photo have much more to communicate?


Flexibility & A Study in Depth of Field

Posted in Cow, Depth of Field, Flexibility, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Wildlife Photography on October 24, 2011 by bobshank

This photo shows the incredible flexibility of a cow elk. Her head is turned all the way around as she is licking her back. I guess to fight off pests and to keep clean, an elk just has to be flexible!

This photograph also provides a study in depth of field, a feature in wildlife photography that can be used to bring attention to the subject at hand. The method requires a large f-stop, which decreases the depth of field and only allows a small distance of the photo to be in focus.

In all honesty, I should have used a slightly smaller f-stop to include a bit more of the subject in focus. Look closely at the contents in this photo and you can see what is in focus and what is not. The forehead of the cow is in focus, but so are the leaves to the left of the elk’s head. Everything else, both the foreground and the background, are out of focus.

The technique is successfully used to highlight an animal and bring it out of its natural habitat in a photograph. Most animals blend right into their environment and this makes it hard to photograph them. Utilizing a shallow depth of field helps to do this.

I’m not sure I like this photo all that much, but it does provide some fodder for some photo instruction and it does show the incredible flexibility of a cow elk.



Google+ Rocks!

Posted in Google+, Networking, Photography, Social Media with tags , , , on October 21, 2011 by bobshank

I started using Google+ on July 31st. I saw other photographers getting really stoked about it and I wanted to give it a try. At this point, Google+ was only open by invitation, so I reached out and Martin Bailey was generous enough to give me an invitation.

I started using Google+ right away and haven’t looked back since. I love Google+! I like the way photos appear on this social medium and I like how it incorporates Circles of friends, family, acquaintances, and colleagues. You can really funnel down to whom you want to send messages.

But the best of all is the rapid growth my Google+ account realized since I started. In just 2 1/2 short months, the number of people that have me in their circles already exceeds all my Facebook friends! This is nothing short of amazing to me.

My conclusion? Google+ rocks!


Elk Silhouette

Posted in Bull, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Silhouette, Wildlife Photography, Winslow Hill with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2011 by bobshank

There is just something special about a silhouette that is fascinating to me. I am not exactly sure what it is, but I do like silhouettes.

Creating a silhouette is easy to do and with today’s digital cameras you get instant feedback to see if you got it right or not. One evening this fall we were watching elk and this bull appeared on the horizon line. The sky was a tint of blue and conditions were just right for a silhouette. The method for creating as silhouette is to expose for the sky, which is the brightest part of the image. Here’s how I do it most of the time: I tilt the camera so that the viewfinder is filled with the brighter sky, then I press halfway down on the shutter release. This calculates the exposure setting in the camera’s computer. Then, while keeping the shutter release halfway down, I recompose the photograph in the viewfinder to my liking. Then I focus using the back button and press the shutter release all the way down to capture the image. Easy!


Open or Closed?

Posted in Berries, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience, Spike, Wildlife Photography, Winslow Hill with tags , , , , on October 19, 2011 by bobshank


I came across this spike during my trip to Elk County at the end of September. He was feeding with a cow who both found some delicious red berries to feast on. It had just rained all morning and I was heading back to my cabin after yet another wet morning. I found these elk serendipitously within a very short drive of my cabin. My photo morning wasn’t over yet and I was thrilled!

I first took a few shots from out of my truck window and then slowly went outside to get some better photographs. The two elk accepted me or were so interested in those delicious berries that they didn’t mind me and my camera. After a quick, intense look at me, this spike went right back to eating. And I kept clicking the shutter release.

Fortunately, I captured this spike right when he was looking straight at me. Now here is the question: Is the photograph with his mouth open better than the one with his mouth closed? Which one do you like the best?