Mornings are undoubtedly the best times to make images. Wildlife is most active in the mornings as they are coming out to feed, the air is crisp and cool, and best of all the crowds are virtually non-existent even during the busiest time of the year in Yellowstone. It is surprising that even at 8am there are very few people about, I guess after all people like to sleep in during their vacations.
Image making is all about the light, and the light always best at sunrise and sunset, but my personal preference is sunrise. Yes, mostly because I have always found wildlife to be most active in the mornings (vs. the evenings) but also because everything is just that much quieter, tranquil and new. This bit of advice not only applies to wildlife photography, this is even more crucial for landscape photography.
In this image I am in a way marrying both wildlife and landscape. It was early in the morning and while it was not particularly dark out my subject was backlit so I decided to take advantage of that and expose for the sky in the background making my subject and the foreground go nearly dark. This young elk buck is growing its antlers, while growing they are covered in velvet, not unlike deer. The velvet provides the blood and nutrients needed to grow the antlers. Come fall, in anticipation of the elk rut, the elk will rub the velvet off it’s antlers by scraping them against trees. Early in the spring, the elk will drop their antlers and the cycle will begin anew with the antlers growing bigger and bigger with every passing year.