Two bull elk (cervus elaphus) battle on a cold winter’s morning in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

My family took a trip to Banff National Park this March and my dad and I decided to get up early one morning to try and find some wildlife to photograph. We headed out into the backcountry before dawn, and spotted these two bull elk bedded down in the deep snow, covered in frost from the cold night. We hiked out for a better angle to photograph them and got lots of great photos as the light began to break over the mountains.

Suddenly, they both got up and started battling! I had been shooting vertical portraits of the bigger bull with my camera and 300mm lens and 1.4X teleconverter on my monopod, so I reached forward to switch to horizontal, but my fingers were too frozen to release the lens collar and the snow was too deep to back up quickly, so I just shot! I tried to time my pictures so both bulls fit in with their antlers as the main focus, and was really happy with the way this one turned out. You can even see a little bit of snow falling off one of their antlers!

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