Sometimes all you see is an earRead More
During a storm an elk's primary senses, it's way of detecting danger, is diminished because the wind makes everything move making the movement of predators hard to spot, the sound of approaching danger is covered, and their best defense, their sense of smell, is destroyed because the wind is usually swirling so much it's impossible to tell which direction it's coming from. In the worst of storms elk will often be found together out in the open in a circle facing outward making the approach of predators impossible.
Here a herd is getting ready to move. Being out in the open like this makes it impossible for any archery hunter to get close enough for a shot. All those eyes watching making it extremely difficult to remain undetected. A rifle hunter will also find it hard to make a clean kill with them all bunched together as well.
A pretty nifty defense if you ask me.
This picture has become a popular one and I have been asked why it isn't for sale, simple, even though all the elements have come together for this image, a good story, lighting, context, etc. there is one major problem—this image is heavily cropped. These elk were so far away from me that even at a full 300mm zoom (450mm equivalent) I had to crop out most of the picture to get what you see here and as such I can't "embiggen" it. I will work on it some more and see what else can be done but for now it remains a smaller image that I quite enjoy.
From the Simpsons—
"A noble spirit enbiggens the smallest man"
- Jebediah Springfield
Edna Krabappel: "Embiggens"? I never heard that word before I came to Springfield.
Miss Hoover: I don't know why. It's a perfectly cromulent word.
Who doesn't love the Aspen in all their Fall glory?
Every time I'm driving or walking by a grove like this I'm always looking for wildlife. It's amazing to me how many times I've been close to elk or deer like this and other people going by never even look, their eyes fixed on the black pavement ahead. I've seen road "hunters", their trucks filled to the brim with people, going slow and looking for game and they go right on by never knowing that a herd of elk is just a few yards off the road. The elk just keep on eating, only waiting to see if the vehicle stops and then they'll move away.
I like this picture because of the memories it holds for me but the only story here is that a herd of elk is happy and eating—a nice story to be sure but not one that excites the imagination. Oh well, I'll keep looking through the trees trying to find that elusive photo where all the elements come together and I can make a print out of it.
This is a great tension scene-two bulls during the peak of the rut sizing each other up. These may be the same two bulls I caught on camera as they fought later this same morning in this same meadow, it's hard to tell for sure as there were so many elk in this meadow on this particular morning.
The funny thing about the Fall season high in the Colorado Rockies is how some groups of aspens lose their leaves while other stands are in full bright Autumn colors. Just to the left of this scene is a large Aspen stand with every single tree full of leaves. I would have loved to have those colors in this scene but wild animals most often do not cooperate. I will probably work with this image some more to try and bring out the few remaining leaves but I also like the ghost like qualities of the bare aspens.
One other thing about this photo that I wish could have been better is the lighting. As the sun came up the lighting was very dramatic but once it went above the storm clouds I was left with a bit of a bland scene. Well, you get what you get and you do your best.