The elk were reintroduced into North Carolina about 10 years ago in the Cataloochee Valley of the Smoky Mountains National Park. Their numbers have grown to 150 or more but they are still a rare sighting as they have not really left the valley. Most of them have radio collars on but this male elk did not. I had made 3 separate trips to view them but this was the best outing of all that week.
The photo was shot with a Nikon D300 with a 200-400mm lenses at 400mm and cropped since he was over 200 yards away. Almost no postprocessing .
It was a crisp autumn morning when this bull elk walked across the meadow against the sunrise and created a backlit shadow. He started to bugle as I clicked on the shutter and I got immediate goosebumps because it was such a special moment to capture a rare photographic event in the perfect light.