Elk at Sunrise

pixeldawg

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I'd taken my family to Las Vegas a year or two ago and we decided to make the five hour trip down to the Grand Canyon while we were there. I decided that I wanted to get up early and shoot some sunrise shots of the canyon itself, so armed with fresh coffee for myself and the rangers, I went to the main entrance at 4:30 in the morning intent on picking the brain of the ranger on-duty.

He was thrilled with the coffee because their coffee maker had died the previous day (I happened to be there when they were talking about it, so knew ahead of time). I explained to the ranger that I was looking for something spectacular to shoot at sunrise. He pulled out a map and said "Don't go here- that's where all the tourists go... If you go here, the other rangers have said that there's a herd of Elk that show up on this ridge every morning right before sunrise." The spot was within the park, but about ten miles up the road. I found the place that he was talking about and set on another ridge that jutted out into the canyon and was next to where he was talking about. Fortunately, I was facing east here as well.

I sat in the dark for quite a while without another person within miles of me. The sun started coming up and I suddenly saw about 30 Elk grazing on the ridge ahead of me. I saw this one fellow all by himself and started shooting. It is one of my favorite images from that trip. Hope you enjoy!


 

Sim

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Wow, what a picture! Beautiful. I'd say that extra cup of coffee paid for itself handsomely.
 

Big Mike

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That's a lot of work to get your shot...but it was well worth it, well done.
 

Synnove

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That's a beautiful shot and well worth the cup of coffee to get the right information. Congratulations.
 

Overread

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Definatly worth the early rising and coffee :)
beauty of a shot - definatly one to be proud of!
 

jaharris1001

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wow, I like everything about this shot, your composition is great, colors are great, I wonder if cropping just a little off the top would help ?
 
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pixeldawg

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You know, I'd tried the cropping thing and it took much of the blue out of the frame, and changed the whole mood of the shot. I found it too "warm" with all of the orange and yellow. If you still think it would look better, let me know and I'll post a cropped version.

BTW, shot with a Nikon D100 and 300mm F2.8 Nikkor lens. 1/125th at F4 at 200 ISO in RAW file format.

Thanks to all of you for your kind comments and interest. I really appreciate reading them! :thumbup:
 

Antarctican

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Stunning shot. And what a moving moment that must have been, to be all alone with such a beautiful show of nature before you. Wow.
 

LaFoto

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Oh yes. I am enjoying this one! Thank you! It was very worth the coffee, worth getting up in the dark, worth the wait!
 
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pixeldawg

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Thank you, one and all. I truly appreciate your kind words and interest in my images! :)
 

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