Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cades Cove Wildlife: The Past Revisited

Fog Rises From The Smokies

Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the premier destinations for the serious wildlife photographer. This is a large valley with an 11 mile long loop road that runs through an area of mountainous woodlands , and meadows that are often alive with whitetail deer.

I visited the park each November during the years that my daughter attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Today's photos were taken during the 2004 trip. At that point I was shooting a Canon 10D Dslr and my most powerful lens was the 100-400mm Canon L.

Whitetail photography in the park can be extremely frustrating at as the animals are often found in short mowed grass, which does not provide a truly natural or wild looking background.

8-Point Buck In Lawn Type Grass-Near Hay Barn Lower End Of Cove

Other areas have been planted in native, grasses that provide perfect backdrops if the grass is not too tall, but in many areas it is so tall that it obscures the animals. These stands of grass are maintained by prescribed burning in the spring.

Buck In Ideal Habitat-Hyatt Lane

Other species of wildlife are also frequently seen. I saw a lot of bears some years, but this was not one of them. I did get my first eastern coyote photographs that fall, when I found a young one hunting for rodents in the meadow near the hay barn.

Young Eastern Coyote

Even though I was very happy with the performance of the 100-400mm, this trip was an important factor in deciding to get the Canon 500mm F4 for the added long range capabilities.


sweetbay said...

Beautiful shots! The 8 point buck is magnificent.

Ranger said...

Great shots bud. Some day I will get there.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy seeing fog over the mountains.
Neat photo of the deer peeking over the grass.
I have never seen a coyote in my life, nor have I heard any in the mountains. Great picture!