Saturday, June 20, 2009

Camera Critters: The Calf Elk Are Born



As mentioned in the last few posts, this is the time of year when the young elk and whitetail deer are born, so I traveled to Pennsylvania's elk range this past week to photograph the young elk, known as calves. Some of the cows were still pregnant, but many had given birth. Several calves were sighted, but they were often too far away for still photography. I arrived in time for the evening's photography on Monday. There were beautiful weather conditions that evening and the following morning, but by Tuesday evening the clouds were thickening and rain was in the forecast. There was intermittent rain during the rest of the week and lighting conditions were less than ideal for still photography, but that being said, I still had some excellent encounters.


In a few cases, calves were found standing by the roadside. There was actually a herd of cows with four calves in this encounter where I used the 70-200mm at 200mm and ISO 640 to capture a portrait of the young animal.

Calf By The Roadside

The best encounter was when I saw well-known local videographer, Tom Murphy standing on the river bridge behind Benezette store pointing his camcorder at something in the grass beside the bridge. It turned out to be a beautiful calf. Its' mother was nearby and periodically ran other elk away from the area where the calf was resting. This too was difficult lighting conditions and I used ISO 400 to get a shutter speed of 1/80 at f4.5.

Calf At Benezette River Bridge

It is always a welcome treat to encounter bulls and I had several encounters. Perhaps the best was early Wednesday morning, when I found two bulls grazing in a meadow by Winslow Hill Road.

Grazing

Neither of these animals were mature bulls, but the largest will have a very respectable rack once growth is completed.

Curious

The elk on Winslow Hill are wild to the extent that they are free ranging and go wherever they please, but they have an extremely high tolerance of humans. At this time of year the cows may be very shy at times as they are extremely concerned about any threat to the young, but they become very trusting later in the summer.

It must be emphasized that one should not approach a young calf, not only to not frighten it, but for your safety as while. While ordinarily very docile, the cows may become extremely aggressive when protecting their young and may attack the intruder.

For more Camera Critters photos, click Here!

27 comments:

Indrani said...

Such fantastic shots and informative post too. The munching deer has won my heart.

Snap said...

Wow! The *curious* shot is out of this world. Wonderful photos of beautiful animals and beautiful scenery. Thanks!

Carletta said...

Awesome shots! I had no idea these little calves would be so cute. You bring a wonderful part of the wildlife world to our doors each week Willard.
My post is here: Carletta’s Captures</a

Michele said...

Fascinating information as always.. such impressive photos.

Faye Pekas said...

Willard these are such great shots. That first one is fantastic. I would love to have a place like this to get out and capture these gorgeous creatures.

Cezar and Léia said...

wow very interesting post!
Fabulous pictures!
purrs and love
Luna(from Brazil)

Martha in PA said...

Magnificent!

My Camera Critters

Sara G said...

Great photo's Willard. I had never seen an Elk calf before. They are just beautiful!!
Thanks so much for sharing these excellent photo's with us!!

Dianne said...

the wee ones are so sweet and the elders are magnificent

Louise said...

These photos are awesome!

This DVM's Wife's Life said...

You are really liking that lens aren't you? I tried the Sigma brand as that one, didn't work out.
Great shots. Very sharp and clear. Thanks for sharing your captures!

Susan said...

Great info- totally amazing photos. Gorgeous!

Joy said...

They are so unbelievably handsome!

Beautiful Creation said...

Glad to read that you had a good trip. You certainly captured amazing shots! I have not seen many photos of them this young. Thanks for sharing. I wonder if any of them are Fred's children? I think it would be amazing to know who his children are, and be able to follow them for many years to come. Any sign of the World's Greatest Elk?
Again, great photos!

Willard said...

I saw the world's greatest elk twice and will post photos of him soon. He is growing a quite respectable rack this year and looks to be doing well for his age.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

What a beautiful post Willard. I did not realize that elk had spots on its rump when born. Maybe I have just been unovservant.

Karen said...

Beautiful shots of the calves!!!

That rack on the bull, will certainly be impressive...it looks pretty good right now..

Great captures !!!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Willard, you were right. My doe did have twins! My daughter saw them in the yard this evening, but they were gone before I could get the camera. I'm hoping to see them soon. I've actually wondered if they'd been in the flower bed. Something is sleeping in the middle of my daisies flattening them down. Not so great for the appearance of the flowerbed, but I'm delighted to have provided such a pretty resting place.

Your captures are awesome, as usual! :) Have a great week!

itsmynature said...

Excellent series, Willard. You seem to have a way with the elk. Know where to find them. Know how to photograph them. Nicely done.

T and S said...

Magnificent images of these deers, the best thing I like about these images is the fact that you have included the right mix of habitat in the images. Awesome

Bradley Myers said...

Great photos and post Willard, you mentioned in a previous post that the end of July was a good time to view and photograph the elk calfs. I am hoping to go north the 3RD or 4TH week of July. Any chance you will be there around then?

Abe Lincoln said...

Really great shots, Willard. I like the curious fellow very much. What a photograph.

The Birdlady said...

I am dying here, Willard! That's what I was talking about!! Beautiful!

Tom said...

Show and Told as only you can Willard... I have been looking forward to this and I am not disapointed... great post once again.
Tom
My post are: Reddish Vale and Horse And Poem

fishing guy said...

Willard: Wonderful captures from nature, thanks so much for sharing these neat photos.

Shellmo said...

This was amazing photography! WOW~!

Ken Conger Photography said...

Exceptional post. Great shots considering the lighting conditions. Even though the calves have the cutesy factor I really like the bull in velvet shot with grass in his mouth. Blue Skies.