Witness one of the West’s best wildlife events during Jeff Parker’s all-inclusive Rocky Mountain ELK RUT Photo Tour 2024.
You’ll be there in the early mornings to photograph the bull elk bugle emerging through the mist to make declarations of dominance. From the unique bugle sound to capturing the action when these big boys battle over “harems” of females, the elk rut is an experience like no other.
Rocky Mountain National Park is the go-to spot for elk-rut photography. That’s where we’ll spend our mornings and late afternoons capturing the drama of mating season.
When not occupied by rutting elk we’ll go in search of other wildlife and landscape shots. With some luck we’ll also train our lenses on the world’s biggest deer species (Alces alces), better known as moose. (No promises, but we’ll look hard!)
Limited to FIVE (5) photographers ~ ALL-INCLUSIVE (SINGLE-occupancy) ~ ONE spot left
*** We are an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service. ***
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is an estimated schedule & we’ll do our best to stick to this itinerary, but certain conditions may necessitate changes. Good photographic experiences & plenty of chances to view wildlife remain goal at all times.
Wednesday September 18:
Get settled in your Estes Park hotel. Your tour includes SINGLE occupancy so enjoy having your room to yourself. Then we’ll meet up for our Welcome Dinner.
This dinner — as well as most of your other meals** — is included in your ELK RUT Photo Tour 2024.
** Please refer to meal information below.
September 19 & 20:
We’ll head out in the pre-dawn to catch the elk as they wrap up a night of carousing. Mature males (“bulls“) have spent the night bugling and bargaining in the hopes of adding females (“cows“) to their “harems.”
Bull elk challenge one another by bellowing and walking back and forth to assess one another’s prowess. If neither backs down, the challenge is on! We may get to watch — and photograph — them battling one another with their antlers.
Once the elk fade back into the forest we will seek landscape photography opportunities. This time of year, brilliant yellows, golds, and oranges paint these scenes in shades of autumn. Deciduous aspen and cottonwoods nestled into evergreen conifers make for some great images.
Come afternoon we’ll stake out our spot for the evening elk party.
Overnight: Estes Park, Colorado
Saturday September 21:
The morning begins as did the 19th and 20th: with an elk-rut photo shoot followed by shooting landscapes & any other lens’ worth sights.
After breakfast, we’ll head up the famous Trail Ridge Road.
Plan to stop along the way for photo ops and also at the top where marmots and pikas hang out. The mountain vistas are breathtaking here!
Overnight: Estes Park, Colorado
Sunday September 22:
Our final photo shoot of the tour takes place this morning. After the elk hit the sack and the sweet light fades, we’ll eat an early lunch, our final meal together.
Be sure to exchange contact info with your new friends before we journey back over the mountains and home!
WHAT YOU CAN LEARN ON THIS TOUR:
- How to do pan blurs
- Tips for wildlife photography
- Techniques to get images featuring silky smooth waterfalls
- How to get a starburst in your image
- How to master manual exposure (& when it’s better than priority exposures)
- How to understand what your histogram is telling you
- Tips for landscape images
A note about instruction on my photo tours:
Since skills levels vary so much on photo tours, I tailor my teaching to individual needs. Please do not be shy about telling me what you need.
- SINGLE occupancy accommodations for four (4) nights.
- Most meals (see meal info below) & non-alcoholic drinks from the first night of the tour through breakfast the last day of the tour.
- Ground transportation, including airport pick up & drop off for those who fly into Denver.
- Jeff’s guidance, instruction and image review throughout (online assistance after you return home, too).
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:
Any lodging outside the tour dates. Travel insurance, alcoholic beverages, medical expenses, laundry service or any other personal items.
LOGISTICS, EQUIPMENT & SUCH:
There are minimal physical requirements for this tour. Some shot locations may be on inclines or rocky terrain. You may need to walk through grassy meadows. It will depend on the elk activity and the fall foliage.
Estes Park is at an elevation of 7500 feet and most of our shooting will be around 7500 to 8000 feet.
Click on this EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST (PDF) to see what equipment I suggest you bring along. You do NOT have to own it all nor bring it all.
If you have any questions about suitable or minimum equipment needed, please do not hesitate to contact me.
The nearest airport is Denver International Airport (airport code: DIA).
We will provide airport pickup & drop off if you’re flying into Denver (in addition to other ground transportation during the tour).
If at all possible, please book a flight that arrives between 10:00 am & 1:00 PM on Wednesday, September 18. This allows time for Jeff to get you & the others to the hotel in time to check in before our Welcome Dinner.
Please schedule your return flight for a departure that takes place after 2 PM on Sunday the 22nd. If you have a choice, aim for a 3:30 pm flight as that both allows you not to be rushed while not having to spend a lot of time waiting around.
LODGING, MEALS & TRANSPORTATION:
This tour is all-inclusive, SINGLE-occupancy. (Sorry; no discount for double-occupancy.)
Meals are provided from dinner the first night to lunch on the last morning.
IMPORTANT: Due to shoot times & logistics we’re unable to go to breakfast before our morning shoots. We will provide healthy snacks (e.g. apples, KindBars, nuts, etc.) in the field, but highly recommend you pack yourself something as well in case you need more for breakfast. We enjoy an early lunch/brunch as soon as the morning shoot is over. The timing of dinners depend upon evening shoot activity & locations.
Ground transportation — including Denver airport pickup and drop off — is included. Please plan to arrive in Denver by 4:00 pm.
GENERAL INFO / SIGN UP:
- DURATION: 4 nights, 3 full days & 2 partial days
- DATES: Wednesday, September 18 — Sunday, September 22, 2024
- PRICE: $3370 ~ ALL-INCLUSIVE (SINGLE-occupancy)
- SPACE FOR: FIVE (5) ~ ONE spot left
- DEPOSIT AMOUNT: $500
- PAYMENT DUE DATES: A total of half the cost of the tour due 6-months before departure. Remaining balance due 60 days prior to start date of tour.
Please read our Cancellation Policy before purchasing.(Follow the provided link or go to link under “MORE” on sidebar to the right.) Thanks!