Elk Guarding Harem

I shot this on a recent trip to Yellowstone. I liked the way the elk were outlined by their own frozen breaths and the rim lighting on most of them. Since there was little color in the image, I felt BW was a better option. Look closely at the right border about mid high. You can see the other bull that has caught the attention of this male. Panasonic G9 and Panasonic 100-400 at 1/1000, f/5.8 and ISO 200.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

I processed this with lots of contrast to make the darks and lights really pop. What do you think of this approach?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any pertinent technical details:

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Good choice to go B&W here, Richard, and the high contrast processing works well to show the breath of the animals. Just curious, is that another bull lurking over at the far right side?

Richard, I really appreciate the approach you took to editing this image, it works very well for me. I echo Bill’s comments.

Terrific Richard! The steamy breaths and backlighting make this for me. Your decision to go BW emphasizes those elements, further strengthening it. This has all sorts of commercial potential for folks dedicated to elk.

Great subject and atmosphere, never seen the steamy breaths of this magnitude!
Instead of going pano, I may prefer to have some more BG, as it is in harmony with the mood of image. The bright foreground grasses don’t appear so friendly but I won’t crop them as you have given them the right cut, retaining the shadows. So I may go for some selective burning.

Jagdeep Rajput

Richard, I think it looks great as is. This was my favorite moment from the tour and you captured it quite well. To be honest, I hadn’t even noticed the other bull in the background… I’ll have to check my photos for that!