Exploring Elk Island National Park

Exploring Elk Island National Park, Alberta, Canada
(Recent Images)

I’ve made several posts about my excursions to Elk Island National Park, located just 45 minutes east Edmonton. It provides me with the occasional escape from city life that I require. On this most recent trip I was hoping to photograph bison during the rutting season (aka mating season). I was surprised to find that the rut hasn’t quite started yet. The big males were still lumbering around in isolation grazing on wet grasses (it’s been raining more than usual). Females and their calves were still clustered in their own little herds on the fringes of the landscape where they find solitude from the park’s human visitors.

I did have a few good encounters with bison and even spotted a few elk. At one point, I was filming a herd of bison cows and calves when they suddenly started walking toward me. I gathered my tripod and gear and walked back to my vehicle. The herd soon caught up with me. Soon I was pinned to the side of the car with only my tripod separating me from the herd! Dozens of bison were gathered around me close enough to touch! I was afraid to move. I was concerned they might stampede if I spooked them. They seemed calm enough at my presence, but I’ve seen them cut and run before at the sight of a human outside of their car.

After a few tense minutes, the herd moved on and I was able to film them a little while before they moved into the bush for the night. The ironic thing about this experience is that I had a 500mm lens on my camera, but the bison got so close I couldn’t even photograph them for most of the encounter.

Below are a few images from the last couple days in Elk Island. For more info and images, check out my other posts about this natural gem in the middle of Alberta:
Alberta’s Elk Island Bison
Elk Island National Park - Mini Guide
A Frozen Landscape: Winter in Elk Island National Park