My trip to Yellowstone this year was for the purpose of capturing the Elk (Cervus canadensis) rut. From what I'd read online, the last week of October and first week of November was the optimum time to view the rut. That didn't hold true for this year.
I heard bugling off in the distance somewhere in Grand Teton National Park, and in Yellowstone National Park the only Elk I saw was a tired stag limping slightly along the Gibbon River near West Yellowstone. Of course, there were always the living lawn ornaments at Mammoth Springs and in Gardiner, but I draw the line at taking photos of Elk sleeping outside someone's home!
Every morning as I entered the park at Gardiner, I would hear bugling off in the dark, and on my last day there, my headlights illuminated a magnificent stag standing off to the side of the road at the park entrance.
After a week, I still had no Elk photos, aside from a few distant ones I took of the stag limping along the Gibbon River. On my last day, I quit early and headed back to Gardiner. As I rounded a corner outside of Mammoth Springs, I got lucky. A handsome young stag was servicing his sizeable harem in a meadow by Lava Creek, right next the parking area. An audience of people had gathered, sitting comfortably in their vehicles, protected from the drizzling rain as they watched the performance outside.
I donned my hat, put on my coat, set up the tripod, and had a blast in the light rain for the next 30 minutes. I called it quits when it really started to pour, but watched the show for a while longer from inside my car as I dried off my camera gear.
I was a happy camper, having finally got my Elk photo!
Where To Buy
Canvas & Prints: Pixels Images
Licensing Info: Pixels Licensing
Lens: 150-600 mm f/5-6.3
Focal Length: 460mm
Shutter Speed: 1/400s