Photographing in the Wilderness at Grand Teton National Park

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The Grand Teton National Park provides a friendly home for elk and moose. In this video, pro wildlife photographer Doug Gardner and senior biologist wildlife guide Kevin Taylor discover an elk herd in a vast valley of prairie grass surrounded by mountains. The men settle in behind the vegetation in order to stay hidden from grazing elk. It’s rutting season, and a huge bull elk tends to his harem of cows. Doug shows you how to capture wide shots of the herd as it moves through the valley. With his telephoto lens, he creates single elk portraits and shows you how to adjust your camera settings and why it’s best to use a shallow depth of field to soften backgrounds.

As always in wildlife photography, patience is the key, waiting for that moment when the animal moves into the right light. In portraits, you want to adjust your exposure for only the elk and ignore the ambient background light. Finally, Doug captures what he calls the classic photo of a bull elk. Before moving on, Kevin explains the habits of the elk through the seasons as the animals adjust to the changing weather.

Later on, Kevin guides Doug into the woods where they discover a young North American moose among the pines. Doug sets up his tripod at a safe distance and makes portraits of the animal surrounded by trees. Kevin explains the feeding habits of moose and how their long legs and dark fur allow them to adapt to the long winters. Later on, Doug captures images of a moose standing in a pond and eating algae. Moose tend to stay close to water because their favorite food is willows. Trek through the Grand Tetons with Doug Gardner and Kevin Taylor as they explore the wilderness in search of wildlife photos.

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See all videos in our Exploring Grand Tetons National Park: Part 2 Course: