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Uploaded 11-Jul-07
Taken 19-Aug-06
Visitors 805

14 of 82 photos
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Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:bull elk, colorado wildlife, elk rutting, elk sparring, elk, elk, rocky mountain national park, unguled, wildlife
Photo Info

Dimensions5000 x 3347
Original file size19.6 MB
Image typeTIFF
Elk in the Clouds, , Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Elk in the Clouds, , Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

One morning last fall I hiked in off of Trail Ridge Road for about an hour. It was very cloudy and I saw nothing for a long time. I was in jeans, my Merrel moc's and just carrying a shoulder camera bag. I wasn't prepared for a long hike above treeline in the mountains. Just as I was about to turn around, I spotted something on the very cloudy horizon that looked like a small, dead forest. I knew I was above treeline so knew it couldn't be trees, so I slowly kept walking. The clouds rolled in, obscuring my view, then rolled out to reveal a herd of bulls casually resting on the tundra. Each time a new wave of clouds rolled in I walked, each time they rolled out, I stopped. This went on for half an hour, until I wound up at shooting distance-I'd guess around 20-30 yards. I set up my 70-200 and tripod, spread my jacket on the damp tundra and hunkered down to wait for the clouds to roll out again. When they did, a few bulls got up, faced each other and started clacking their racks together. The sound was amazing. It wasn't violent, it was more like two buddies sparring with each other to get ready for what was to come. I shot nearly 100 photos over the course of the next hour. Thank goodness for digital-I'd have run out of film.