They say there's only a couple "right" times of the day to do landscape/wildlife/magical photography. Ya got your blue hour, ya got the golden hour, ya got what ya get when you go out. That last one is an issue when the gating factor is a wife who likes to sleep late and eat as the sun goes down. Every once in a while I can convince her that God made sunrises and sunsets for photographers. The first evening we got out to Elk country (Benezett, PA which is literally in Elk County, Pennsylvania) we went up to "the" prime area for catching sight of elk. The sun was about a half hour from setting and as soon as we got there we saw three elk on the edge of the ridge. They were about a football field or more away, so they looking pretty small in the viewfinder. Twenty minutes before sunset the field started filling in. A couple yearlings trotted in from the right. Some cows came up over the rise. Calves began springing up as though they had been planted there. About fifteen minutes before the sun went over the crest of the far off hills the field was overrun with about sixty or seventy cows, yearlings and calves, Not one bull was in the mix. Seems bull elk are a tad chauvinistic in the early days of August and tend to hang out in some sort of elk testosterone driven boy's club. They, basically, don't have anything to do with raising they kids. But, to hear about what we actually did see, hit the "Read More".
Adult elk run about 700 pounds. They are apparently aware of this fact and they look at adult humans with distain. They knew we were in their backyard and also knew cameras were no threat. Now, elk aren't deer and they don't bounce around at high speed as a deer might. They just sort of amble along, giving you a look as if to say "if you don't move I'm just going to walk right over you. I weight 700 pounds and you don't."
A cow was walking through the field with her calf in tow. Seems mother elks are not that much different than mother/father humans. It looked like she had had enough of her frolicking youngster and just needed some alone time. She obviously knew of the apple tree across the road (she probably did not know what a road was) and as calmly as could be walked right past the gawkers (within fifteen feet of Doris) and lay down under the tree. In the mean time her calf was a little more leery of humans. The calf wouldn't cross some mystical line between her/him and the humans. Instead, the calf stood, toes on the line, and yelled out "mommmm, mommmm". I swear, that's what it sounded like the calf was saying. Mom, on the other hand, just sat there munching on the apples, facing away from her charge. I guess mother elk can get just as frustrated with uncontrollably exuberant kids as any of us.
The elk do tend to move from place to place. The next night the team meeting was held in someone's front yard about a half mile down the road. The third day it was by a cabin on the ridgeline across a small valley. If you get the chance, visit Benezette Pennsylvania to get an "elk experience".
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