I guess I am a purist of sorts. Perhaps it was the education I received at Temple University when I earned my communications degree back in 1987. I like my photography to depict real-life situations and tell the story exactly as it was seen by me. For example, I never use Photoshop to remove a collar from an elk. I know some photographers who do this extremely well and they are definitely better in Photoshop than I. And I don’t knock them for what they do, I just prefer a different route in my own photography I guess. To me there is no right or wrong here–just a preference, and I prefer to keep my photos as they were captured. I do some crop some of my photos once in a while, but to me this is a little different from removing part of an image that is seen as the main subject. Go ahead and call me a purist and I promise not to knock you for removing a collar in Photoshop.
Those of us who photograph the Pennsylvania Elk see these collars often. They are radio transmitters used by the Pennsylvania Game Commission to assist in tracking the elk herd. This research tool is quite helpful I am sure, but as a photographer, I prefer to see elk without the big yellow or brown collars attached to their necks. Again, I am a purist. However, the collars some elk wear are part of the elk story and culture on Winslow Hill. So documenting and even photographing them makes sense to me even though I usually prefer to show only those elk without collars.
So yesterday, when I saw a blog entry by my photo friend, Brad Myers, and a comment by Coy Hill; I did a little digging. Brad and Coy were discussing the 8A bull, which is a beautiful bull this year! He garnered a lot of attention during the rut. I went back through my photographs and found these photos of the bull known as 8A, since that is the description on his yellow collar. I am kind of embarrassed that I did not post any photos of this bull earlier. And I most likely would not have posted any photos of him without the prompting of Brad’s and Coy’s blog conversation. I hope these photos help tell a little more of the Pennsylvania Elk story and help to show just what a magnificent bull is 8A!