"Ed, it's time for you to Change Lenses" by Ed Shanahan

Photo credit Erica Knox Photography.  On our recent trip to Yellowstone one of my fellow photographers observed that it seemed that good things happened (i.e. wildlife appeared or did something interesting) right after I changed my camera lens.  They were right.  After a while it became a rallying cry when things were slow: "Ed it's time for you to Change Lenses".  I learned to keep lenses on both camera bodies so I was caught less often changing to the "wrong" lens.  Want to see what happened after I changed lenses here?  Coming soon.

Photo Credit: Erica Knox Photography

Photo Credit: Erica Knox Photography

Elk "Love" by Ed Shanahan

The Elk rut is a highly ritualized affair that leaves nothing to the imagination.  Bull elk bugle to call cows, build and protect their harem from other bulls and perform the rituals associated with the rut (how is that for PG?).  The bulls get exhausted over this period as their services are in high demand and they aim to do their best.  When they approach cows in their harem they are very affectionate and the cow may accept or reject their affections.  When they accept them, well you know.  

Here are a bull and cow in mid-mating ritual.  And yes I think they will be parents in the spring!

Yellowstone 2016 and the Elk Rut by Ed Shanahan

Last Saturday I arrived in West Yellowstone MT for a week of shooting with seven friends from across the USA.  Many of us have shot together in Zion National Park UT, Page AZ, Iceland and other locations.  All are accomplished photographers and just great fun to be around.  As with other trips this has been a "get up at 3AM or so, drive and shoot all day, eat when and what you can, go to bed late and exhausted and repeat the next day" type of trip.  We have been out in sub freezing weather, severe rain storms, warmer afternoons with blue skies and have experienced the beauty of nature and wildlife in an intense and memorable week.  Special thanks to Jeff Pederson of Red Cliffs Photography (http://redcliffsphotography.com/), one of the hardest working and most gifted photographers I know for arranging this trip and serving as our tour guide.

One of the reasons we picked this time of year to come to Yellowstone, a park teeming with wildlife, is that this is the season of the elk rut and the time when all animals make their final preparations for winter, which at this altitude is coming very soon.

I plan to share some photos and thoughts in blog postings over the coming days.  For now, here is a photo of a mating bull elk which I took on Monday.  More to come!