The Bison King | Know When To Walk Away With Your Camera

by on September 5, 2016

That Cinematic Feeling


The leaves were falling and there were several plains bison feeding in the woods. I kept my distance at first, and as I got a bit closer, I thought how perfect this would be to capture the beautiful gold and orange falling leaves as bison ate and moved around the woods. I armed myself with my old lady Canon 1D Mark III and the Canon 300mm ƒ2.8, ready to snag this wonderful autumn wildlife environmental portrait. Oh, how things can change …

Another look at the bison king and I instantly knew it was time to part ways. Our time together would be short. Understanding when a wild animal does not want you around is crucial to your safety, the safety of others, and the safety of the animal. It isn’t often when I leave the area, having only made a single frame, whilst being around wildlife, but this was one of those times. It had to be. 

Black and white photo of a Plains bison bull (aka bison king), rustling in the trees at Elk Island National Park.

No Regrets

As Kenny Rogers so brilliantly sang back in 1978, sometimes you need to know when to walk away. And I did just that. No falling leaves. No killer portrait of the pair closest to me. No video. Just one frame and a memory. I close my eyes and I see the falling leaves in what I could only describe as a cinematic fashion (think of those huge snowflakes slowly falling, the kind we used to catch with our tongues as kiddies). I hear the crunching of the fallen leaves and snapped twigs. It only took a moment to know I was in the presence of one of the most incredible wild species, a plains bison bull, aka the Bison King of the Prairies. Sometimes that’s all we need.


See you in the field!


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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