In honor of my birthday, I th0ught it might be fitting to add another chapter in the “Newborn” series. I’ve covered newbies from a number of the animal kingdom over the last two months including Bison (link here), Pronghorn (link here) and even Bear (link here). Today I get to add these..
Isn’t she .. well to be honest, it could be a he but “it” just sounds too cold for such a cutie. This young Wapiti (or Elk depending on your preference) was photographed while on our trip out to Yellowstone National Park back in May 2013. I am not studied up on these creatures beyond what is available in Wikipedia and such, so it is impossible for me to tell you how old she might be for sure. A quick search on the web indicated they give birth in late May and early June.
Our trip out there was the end of May and first few days of June so this one was at most a week and likely less. They will lose their spots at the end of Summer. To be honest, this shoot was at first exhilarating and then gave way to some serious concern. I had climbed up a small hill off the side of the road hoping the higher vantage point might give way to some interesting subjects. After looking around for bit, a rustling sound came from 50 or so yards away. After about 5 or 10 minutes of trying to stand as still as possible, this newborn came walking out from among the brush. That is the part that fits the exhilarating aspect – heart rate goes up, the camera goes up and the finger goes down on the shutter. 5 minutes later my brain kicked in and reminded me this could be a dangerous setting. Heart rate goes up, finger comes off shutter head swivels. Wildlife is no different than us – get too near the babies and the moms get understandably anxious – there are plenty of lessons to be had just checking out the Bear tragedies that occur out there from unexpected encounters with cubs. The fact I was alone only added to the concern. A few parting shots and I got the hell out of there! (never did see the doe, but can’t imagine it was too far away).
Hit the jump to see more pictures of the Elk of Yellowstone – and even shots of a younger calf!
At some point in the trip, we had the pleasure of seeing another addition to the park.
This time from a much safer spot – really too safe seeing how hard it was to get them pulled in even with the Beast equipped with the 1.4 tele. This is another example where I accept the softness of the shot in part due to the extender, but there wouldn’t be anything in the tin without it. At least we get to experience the very new offspring spending precious time with mom. Note, this one was having problems even standing. According to our friends over at Wikipedia, the does isolate themselves from the heard right before they give birth to provide safety until the calves can join back with the heard around two weeks – now large enough to hopefully escape predators. That has to be 14 days of sheer terror for the doe.
I love the following shot and keep thinking the baby is saying “Not the MOM!”
By the way, how about a few shots of the mom.
They definitely fill out as they mature. At maturity, they range in the 500 to 530 lb range. With the added size, their predators are few and far between – basically this leaves the wolf packs and the bears. Large healthy Elk are getting a bit large for coyotes to take down without serious numbers and determination. No matter, what, if the Elk can’t find successful relief through flight, they are going to use those powerful legs to unleash hell.
As far as humans go, they appear to have grown accustomed to our presence in the park. They generally just go about their business as they slowly graze through. They will take note of your presence.. maybe even turn back to tell you to stop looking at their ass.
The following two shots also fall into my favorite’s category. The odd thing is I can’t determine which one I like better. You probably have not noticed because it is filtered before you get to see them, but I try to pair down the shots, choosing the best from a series of similar poses in a particular setting. Trust me, if you like a shot but prefer a different pose – we likely have it in the tin. Everyone has their preferences and we try to accommodate where we can.
In this case, I couldn’t tell which I liked better – the more personable one above or the more stoic “On Watch” look below.
Would love to read your preferences in the comments – remember, UB season is nearly upon us.
You are now officially at the “end”…
… hope you enjoyed the shots of the Wapiti from Yellowstone National Park. My 3D printer just finished producing my castle – need to go get it off the plate before it sticks to firm. See you again soon… and yes, there will be at least one more young oriented post coming soon – stay warm!