Elk in the Yard

These elk were in our yard, at the end of our driveway, about 80 yards from the house.

elk in the yard

I had been disappointed with similar shots taken of elk in basically the same scenario, because the zoom lens that came with my Pentax K10 (a fully automatic 18-55 lens) just didn’t zoom in enough to get any detail at that distance.

I took a couple of shots with it anyway, but the elk were tiny and indistinct. Yes, I can blow them up in post if I shoot RAW, but that’s only good for so much resolution.

Then I remembered that I still had an old Takumar (Bayonet) 135 mm zoom lens that I had bought 30-odd-years ago, to use with my old Pentax SLR film camera. The reason I have stuck with Pentax over the years is that all the lenses continue to be interchangeable on the newer camera bodies. Thank you, Pentax! I dug the old lens out of the camera bag, and snapped it on the K10, which disables all the automatic features and gives this very smart camera the intelligence of a brick. But hey, it’s 30 years old and it still fits this relatively new camera from the digital age….

All of a sudden I was back in the 80’s! It’s a very cheap and transient form of time travel to have to work the same exposure/aperture/focus/filmspeed problems you worked half a lifetime ago.

Let’s see – film speed? I learned long ago to always start with film speed. On my old manual Pentax there was a little ring you changed, to remind you of the film speed. It’s usually set to ISO 800 equivalent in the camera’s settings.

Camera Mode? Manual override, all settings.

Aperture? at this distance better make it wide open. 2.5 for this lens.

Shutter speed? 1/250 of a second. A generally safe speed to prevent blur.

Focus? My fingers have not forgotten how easy it is to use the smooth focus ring on this lens.

I whistled to get the attention of these two bull elk, and snick!

I love working with digital cameras: you get instant feedback and can see whether you got the shot you wanted, or whether you need to keep adjusting and keep shooting until you get it!

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