It’s that time of year again! The best time of year. Well, my favorite at least…
This year I decided to haul myself up to Cataloochee Valley again. I’d visited once in the past, but I didn’t really come equipped to photograph the elk. This time, however, I was prepared! I also rented a campsite at the NPS’s campground so I could shoot later in the evening and earlier in the morning than I normally would. Unfortunately, it poured down rain all day Monday, so the shooting conditions that day weren’t ideal. I rented the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 zoom lens, once again from the good folks at LensProToGo, after reading several good things about it online. I was not disappointed! First of all, the lens is a beast. It’s way larger and heavier than my 300 f/4. The VR is also a godsend – especially since I neglected to bring the appropriate tripod foot for the lens. Oops!
I snapped several shots of this big beautiful boy on Monday morning. The rain was pretty relentless, but I managed to perch my lens on the open window of my car to get this photo. The rut had pretty much ended by this weekend, but a couple of the males were still bugling infrequently. I wasn’t able to get quite close enough to get any shots of that, even at 500mm. I had hoped to hook the zoom up to my D300 for a bit of extra reach, but I ended up needing the extra ISO range of the D750 since it was so dark. This shot was at ISO 6400 wide open, and I was really only able to get around 1/300 shutter speeds most of the morning. VR and being able to stabilize on the car window saved me in this scenario. I took a couple shots completely hand held the night before, and it’s really amazing how good the VR on that lens can be.
I also hiked around and took some photos of a waterfall in Pisgah National Forest (the Avery Creek Falls), as well as just general shots of fall things. Enjoy!