The Bison King | Plains Bison Photography

by on August 3, 2013

The bison king of 2012 …

Alberta wildlife, Plains bison bull during the annual bison rut at Elk Island National Park has an intense stare at those in his surroundings.


With the bison rut in full swing, I’ll be spending every spare moment photographing and documenting this fascinating time for the next few weeks. The rut is a critical time for any species, but especially for an extirpated species, like the Alberta plains bison. It’s also critical for the conservation efforts that start here in Alberta and are carried out in other parts of the world.

I’ve been going through notes and photos, looking at what I have photographed in the past and how I can improve. I’m really hoping to accomplish a few things this time, as my focus has shifted somewhat, so it’s going to take hard work, good timing, and a great deal of luck from nature to pull this off. Whether I do or don’t this season, it’s such a treat to be out there amongst one of the most unbelievably cool wild species on earth.

As I was searching and flagging my inventory, I came across this photo. I had not marked it for editing, but I also didn’t mark it for reference. At first, I felt it wasn’t sharp enough for a regular print, but it was clear I had kept it for a behavioural reference and just didn’t label it this way. Looking at this plains bison bull and his expression, I just thought he was a perfect representation of what I’ve seen of the annual bison rut from the perspective of a bull bison. They are highly hormonal, hungry, exhausted, stressed, and have one thing on their minds — to mate.

A quick romp with the ol’ edit-cruncher, Silver Efex Pro 2, a wee more tweaking and I came up with this bad boy.

You can always check out more of my plains bison photography. I do have more photography and stories to post over time … stay tuned!


See you in the field!

2014-2016 update: My local printer chap has printed this photo several times in different sizes on cotton rag, metallic paper, and standard Epson paper. The results look bloody fantastic! I love to be proven wrong about things like this.  


Photographer. Podcaster on hiatus. Edmonton Oilers lovah. Cinematic Star Wars fan. Fond of wildlife conservation, animal rescue orgs, and all things Johnny Cash. Gen X. 

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