Banff National Park is one of the premier places in the world in which to photograph elk. From big bulls in the fall to cows and calves in the spring, Banff offers up a tremendous variety of elk photography opportunities in all seasons. One of my own personal favourite times of year to find and photograph elk in the park is during the cold, short days of winter, when the big bulls congregrate along the Lake Minnewanka Road and the start of the Bow Valley Parkway, as well as along Vermilion Lakes Drive.
Winter elk are often a bit more docile, too, so while you don’t want to walk right up to them, it is often possible to safely photograph them from 50-75 metres (yards) away with a lens in the range of 200-400mm. Mid to late morning often provides the best light, as does early to mid afternoon (when it’s a bit warmer). Adventurous souls can also try the Kananaskis Lakes Road down in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park for more elk and fewer people.
PS – want to learn more about how to photograph wildlife in winter in Banff and Jasper? Then check out my Jasper Winter Wildlife Photography Workshop.