One great aspect of shooting outdoors is witnessing the unexpected. When it involves elk, just plan on the unexpected.
I’ve had the privilege of watching elk spar, and herds merge and split. It’s always fascinating to watch the pageantry, usually from a safe distance, or at least a safe place. Watching from a road usually provides that distance and safety.
This year, the experience was much closer than any of the past. One early morning a friend and I found two bull elk sparing within a few yards of the road. By a few yards, I mean from about ten yards to 50 yards. We set up next to the car to photograph the spectacle, keeping the car between us and the dueling bulls, mostly. The bulls engaged each other in fits and starts for several minutes. Some of the engagement was much more energetic. Describing it as 'fierce' would not be an understatement. One of these instances brought the elk quite close, a little too close for comfort when you can see the raw speed, strength and power of both of these large animals.