Itty Bitty Wapiti

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..

Elk shot at Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

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.

Elk shot at Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

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!

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Wapiti – Not The Sound of a Spinning Window Shade

Keeping with the theme of ungulates and that home away from home they call Yellowstone National Park, I bring you the big boys of the park – the Cervus Canadensis which is sooo big they have two names.  Thanks to European settlers we have the moniker of the Elk where are native Americans (according to Wikipedia specifically the Shawnee and Cree) we have “it which has a white rump” or Wapiti.  Since the first days of hearing this original name I’ve always associated it with a snapping window shade – do those even still exist?  If you recall, when one of them recoiled (typically never when you want it to!) first you will involuntarily twitch as the piece of wood in the bottom goes whipping past you and then your ears are barraged with Wapi Wapi Wapi Wapi as it cycles around the cylinder.  Ironically, whenever I get the opportunity to see these creatures I also twitch except in this case it is with excitement.   They are fairly docile (at least in Yellowstone) and are great subjects for us wildlife photographers.  Here is a younger one that was more than happy to pose for me.

If you haven’t noticed yet (which means you haven’t been looking close enough at about every animal set featured in this blog), I’m partial to the turn back across the body pose.  Just my thing I guess, but it is something I set out to do on each outing.  Personally I think it quickly distinguishes the prey from the predator.

If you can see the full eye, you should feel a little more at ease since you are not looking at an aggressive animal.  I also find that Elk have a tendency to pose which is a self serving description of animals that tend to have an intense curiosity.  Case in point.

Hit the jump to see a whole bunch more pictures of Yellowstone Wapiti

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