A bull elk feeds peacefully in a misty meadow on a brisk, fall morning. (Note cards available here.)
Behind the lens.
Most professional photographers only look for the biggest horns or antlers, ignoring everything else. I tend to see animals in terms of ecology and behavior, and my images tend to reflect this different view.
So my bull elk image is as much a peaceful landscape as it is a wildlife photograph. As the first light of day creeps across the meadow, lighting up the steam from a creek, this elk just moves along slowly and chews contentedly.
When the chill turns the aspen to gold, bull elk are busy battling other bulls for the right to breed the females that come into estrus.
Elk antlers are designed to disengage when combatants back away. But they are easily damaged while velvet-covered and spongy-soft inside. Fortunately for this spike elk, these damaged antlers will be shed over winter, and both of his new antlers should grow normally next summer.