Dall Sheep Ram, Denali National Park, Alaska

The minimum goal was seemingly simple. Capture one great (to my eyes) photo of a dall sheep ram in Alaska, and I allocated eight days to accomplish that goal.

Dall sheep are usually found high in mountains, where accessibility becomes a challenge. This challenge was furthered by the weather, and primarily rain and snow prevented climbing into sheep altitudes for five of those eight days.

Fortunately, the success enjoyed on those three good days ranged from good on the first ascent to outstanding on the last. Ironically, weather, snow specifically, was part of the reason for the incredible photo opportunities on that last ascent. In this case, a snowstorm creates a clean background, while brighter clouds behind the camera created a strong, yet soft, light.

This huge dall sheep ram surveyed its environment as it walked over the alpine ridge, with continuous shooting providing a full range of head positions, including this direct glance.

The Canon EOS R5 and RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens got the call for this outing. The R5 was chosen for its high resolution, AF performance, and ease of use, and the RF 100-500 was selected for the optimal focal length range, including 100mm for environmental portraits and 500mm for tighter framing or distant subjects, and outstanding sharpness over the range, backed up by an optimal image stabilization system. The relatively compact size of this combination proved ideal for the climb.

I expected the sheep eyes on white hair to be an easy eye detection target for the R5, but the camera sometimes preferred the round black nostrils over the eyes when the sheep was facing the camera. Still, the eyes are sharp in an extremely high percentage of the sheep images, impressive performance.

Camera and Lens Settings
0mm  f/  s
5464 x 8192px
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