Todd Grivetti  

Bull Elk by Todd Grivetti

April 2021 - Bull Elk

About the Image(s)

Camera: Canon EOS T3, Personal Landscape settings programmed.
Lens: Canon 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 USM
Settings: Av Priority, ISO 800, f/5.0, Tv 1/200

October 2018, fall hike to Fern Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. On the way up, we saw a few animals, but nothing significant. On the way back to the trailhead, we came upon this Bull Elk grazing along the trail. Well, we couldn't just walk behind and say excuse me... Needless to say, we had to find an alternate round through the trees to get around the trail. We actually watched him for about a half hour or so and he was very content to the point of this photo. By this time, I was able to get back around the other side of the trail and set up my spot behind a rock, trying to be as quiet and calm as possible, all the while planning where to escape if he were to come and say hello with those antlers. I also have a profile of this shot from behind him to the right as I was behind a group of trees.

This truly was a I was there type of shot, but with him being relatively calm and there were limited people on the trail, I was able to move to another location directly across from him to capture these images. I was able to shoot all hand-held. I didn't bring my tripod on this hike. I did use the rock as a stable surface to limit camera shake.

Post Processing:
This image in its original state is almost 57mb. This is cropped nearly 2/3 from left and right. Utilizing Lightroom, I utilized the Camera settings profile. On both of my cameras, I have add my personal settings for Portrait, and two landscape settings for Picture Styles. I like this as I have these set according to the scene I am shooting. I also utilized the enhance feature in Lightroom- Light: Maintained normal exposure, decreased highlights, decreased shadows and increased white/black. No changes to the color sliders. Effects: Texture +20, Clarity +13, Dehaze +14, No vignette. Detail slider: Sharpening 26, (increased detail to 54); noise reduction 12

7 comments posted

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
I've been trying to count the points- but can't decide if that is a 12 or a 14 point bull. That one on the left looks broken and I can't find a match on the right. Do you happen to know?

I agree with the I was here kind of shot, but it does make for a nice environmental capture. The white vertical points help to greatly draw the eye and then you also got the eye to come out sharp. that makes the difference. while you didn't get background separation with the lens--you did make it work with the composition The elks bright coat do certainly make him pop.   Posted: 04/04/2021 15:30:02

Todd Grivetti   Todd Grivetti
I was able to count 14 points on him. He had been grazing on the trail and then decided to lay down. I have a profile shot and will look at that this to further detail the count.

Background separation was difficult since he was lying close to the rock and trees. I also tried to mask the people behind the trees as best I could. This was right at an outcropping on the trail.

Here is the profile. This shows 14 points.   Posted: 04/06/2021 06:52:03
Comment Image

Michael Weatherford   Michael Weatherford
Hello Todd. You got a good shot of a magnificent animal. You mentioned that you did a pretty heavy crop. I think I would have tried cropping a little less, giving the subject more space. To me, the image looks a little too contrasty (is that a word?) probably from going too strong on the dehazing. So my suggestion is to crop less, back off on the dehazing, lower the contrast a bit and increase the clarity. There's something about lowering the contrast and increasing the clarity that brings out detail without making the image look "brassy". Thanks for posting.   Posted: 04/09/2021 20:56:03
Todd Grivetti   Todd Grivetti
Michael, Thank you for those insights. I did struggle a bit with post-production. Lot's of shadowing from the trees and there was a dead tree to the right of him. I will go back and play a little more with contrast and clarity as well.
  Posted: 04/19/2021 23:11:43

David Kepley   David Kepley
Todd, what a wonderful capture! The head and eyes are sharp. You've cropped it very well to have the elk fully in the fram, but not bumping into the sides or top! You's get the whole set of antlers with room above them. Great composition! Boy it shure pays to take your time and work the subject. Bravo!   Posted: 04/15/2021 09:11:03

Todd Grivetti   Todd Grivetti
David, Thank you for your feedback. It was definitely a challenge to capture, especially as there were other people on the trail and I did not want him spooked.   Posted: 04/19/2021 23:09:52

Richard Matheny   Richard Matheny
Wow Todd, a great capture of such a majestic animal. I wish the Bull would have been looking more in you direction with the profile shot. I think I would have liked it a little better. Maybe only one eye but you could have seen all the antlers. I see your concern about the bull being so close to the background but not much you could do about that. I do not mind the environment at all. It's his house. I may have not cropped as much but I don't know what was in the rest of the image. I would have liked a little more room above the antlers and in front of the bull. I noticed the blue on the hoof that is a little distracting, problem from something resulting for the post processing. All in All a great image.
  Posted: 04/20/2021 12:20:25


Please log in to post a comment