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Joseph Marc Photography's picture

King of the Rockies

A bull elk in Rocky Mountain National Park.

I sat and watched this bull laying in the grass for about an hour. Finally he stood up and posed with the mountains in the background.

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Most excellent! I especially love environmental portraits like this, that show the critter's habitat in such a grandiose fashion.

I am interested in knowing - were you lying prone on the ground for this image, or did you take it from a kneeling or standing position?

I am also interested in knowing what date you took this photo on. Timing is key for environmental portraits there in RMNP, as the Elk migrate down to the lower elevations for the rut at some point in September. I'm trying to figure out exactly what point that is, so your data would be useful to me.


Thanks Tom!

I took this shot sitting down with a nikon D850 and 24-120mm lens.

The shot was taken at the very end of August (I think on the 21st, I'd have to pull the raw image to be sure).

When I came across this bull he was just laying in the grass, and i knew i wanted a shot with the mountains in the background, to show his habitat. Once i found the shot i wanted i just sat down and waited until he finally stood up. Once he got up i still had to wait a little longer for him to pause from grazing and pick his head up.


Thanks for replying!

Just two weeks ago I recommended to someone that they go to RMNP next year BEFORE the Elk rut, because that is when the Elk are still up high, providing environmental portraits such as this one.

Having specific dates as to when the Elk were still above treeline is extremely helpful. Elk migration behavior is more stable from year to year than most people seem to think. It relies on the calendar a lot more than it does on the weather, making it easier to plan for. That is why I was interested in the specific date.

The best is to get Elk in hard antler, and NOT in velvet. But yet get them when they are still up at high elevation. You accomplished this at the most perfect time, based on those two objectives. Great work!

I was up in RMNP a few weeks ago and could see a big bull with his cows from the trail ridge center, so they were still up there as late as mid sept.

A beautiful photo! You caught the subject at the perfect moment and I love the view.

Thank you Marcus!
It took a while to get that shot. He was being lazy and laying in the grass, so i had to sit and wait for him to get up.