Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bald Eagle Boxley Mill Pond 12/31

This eagle is pretty cooperative. He has been hunting the mill pond for a while now. The mill pond has more fish than the river and I think the hunting is easier. I had the impression this morning he was watching the otter to see if they might miss an injured fish.

Bald Eagle at the Mill Pond

12/31/13 Elk Herd Locations -- Otter in Mill Pond

Elk end the year in remote locations.  The bull herd that has been about a half mile north of the mill pond was visible today, but back against the cane line.

In the deep south end, the herd has shifted to the southernmost field south of the trail head. They have been moving around from the Smith Creek field, so I would expect they might be back there in a day or two.

The big news this morning was 3 feeding in the mill pond. I am pretty sure this is the juvenile group I photographed earlier in the year. This was about 8:30 AM if you are trying to get some otter shots, though otter are never very predicable.

There is also a bald eagle hunting the mill pond. This morning he was there for over 40 minutes rotating between different perch locations. All of them were close to the road.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

12/28/13 Elk Herd Location Map

Very good elk viewing this morning. The biggest herd was down by Smith Creek in the south end, numbering roughly 50 animals and still showing a rutting pattern with a herd bull.

North of the mill pond about a half mile was a pretty good sized bull herd. To see them I recommend getting to the valley early, they seem to leave before 9 am.

A handful of young bulls were up by the Ponca Access.

Herd Bull "Chaos" Rutting by Smith Creek

It's pretty late but the herd bull "Chaos" was rutting this morning. You can see the sod tossed to the right, and grass on his antlers. His herd was down by Smith Creek this morning and had roughly doubled to about 50 animals overnight.

Late Rutting Bull by Smith Creek

Friday, December 27, 2013

15 Minute Workshop Series -- Leonardo da Vinci on Post Processing

Recently I have been reading the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci to understand painting theory. Back in his day, painters argued over how to create the best compositions based on theories about light and perception -- pretty brainy stuff and they fought like tigers over it.

Post-processing is where photographers become painters. "Post" is where we manipulate light, color, focus, and sharpness to get to our final creation.  My images might look different than what I took, but I may well have had a different visualization of the final image in the first place.

Post processing is makeup, not makeover. My bias is that the results of post processing must be plausible, not fantastic.

Most images are really improved in post processing, because no camera is accurate. I have really narrowed what I do in "post" and miss the last 5% to be gained by spending more time (unless I am grinding on an outstanding image). There are a few things I do that I think many do not do. Here is my short list:

  1. Noise reduction if the photo requires it. Sometimes selective to certain areas of the photo.
  2. I crop, and I crop shamelessly. I don't know why anyone cares if someone crops, and really, it is simply your choice (and none of their business). We sure don't need all the megapixels we have these days. Good crops make better compositions.
  3. "Values" matter more to me than anything else in post processing. Values are the tonal ranges in the photo, in my mind including saturation, sharpening and focus. In the old days it was dodging and burning, today we have more powerful tools like the NIK plugins and masking tools in PS and other programs to work selectively on areas in the photo.
  4. OK, what do I do with values? First, I subtly make the subject(s) of the photo lighter, more saturated, more contrasty, and sharper.  Second, I do the opposite with other aspects of a photo, the supporting elements and background, sometimes in stair steps from front to back. This pushes the less important parts of the photo "back". I will work with each part separately in many cases. This will give your photo depth, and make it more 3D.

    Think about this. Your final image is about both your subject and the background and supporting parts. The final quality of the image is about all these things working together visually, it is much more than the subject, good composition is the subject in context.
  5. I sharpen last. I also re-sharpen after I reduce or increase the size of a photo. I will sharpen selectively if it is indicated to my eye.  

What I found is that Leonardo's ideas on painting composition in the late 1400's tracked with what I have learned in hacking around in post processing. Guess I should have read his notebooks, would have saved me a lot of time.

I recommend reading books on painting to learn more about composition. Painters have been wrestling with composition for hundreds of years, they have a lot to teach us.

"Swiffer" is Cropped and Edited
Makeup, Not Makeover

Thursday, December 26, 2013

12/26/13 Herd Locations -- Elk Viewing Very Good

2 elk herds today, one in the first Ponca Field, a second down by Beech Creek. Yesterdays all-bull herds took this morning off, but they could not be too far away. The 2013 elk rut continues at the absolute bitter end. There seems to be at least one bull that hangs on this late. Any calves bred now will be born August or even September. If you pay attention, you will see very tiny calves during the rut now and then.

Bald eagle this morning at the mill pond.

Herd Bull "Chaos" by Beech Creek

This morning a new herd popped out from the outback. This second tier bull is one I call "Chaos". He is atypical x 3, absolutely the oddest rack I have ever seen. In this picture he is "nose up" preparing to turn the cow in the foreground to the right. This is an absolutely standard rut move -- herd compaction. I doubt there is more than one cow in his harem that is estrous, if that. Note the mud on his rack --  another marker of his rutting behavior.

So what is going on now? We are at the very end of the rut. The big bulls are gone, and the second tier bulls have taken over. This is in keeping with the very end of the rut. There will be some breeding that goes on, but this is the very end of it all. Calves sired in this period arrive in August.

What Lies Ahead
Great elk viewing and photography is far from over. Bull elk retain their antlers until the end of March. All-bull and all-cow elk herds will be very visible in the winter and often all day, although I prefer morning and evening photography.

Many of my very best pictures are from this period. The very first elk crossing I ever shot standing on the Ponca low water bridge was shot on December 28 and it made the cover of the state elk brochure. What I am saying is don't dismiss the period from now until the end of March, it can be amazing.

arkansas herd bull
Herd Bull "Chaos" at Sunrise by Beech Creek

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

12/25/13 Elk Herd Locations in Boxley Valley

There were 2 small bull herds and 1 small cow herd in Boxley Valley this Christmas morning.  All together there were maybe 30 elk in 3 locations. 

Merry Christmas everyone and best wishes for 2014. 

Christmas Morning Bull Elk

bull elk herd in Boxley Valley
Christmas Morning 2013 in Boxley Valley
This morning there were more bulls than cow elk in Boxley Valley. This was shot down by the 43/21 intersection. There was another group of bulls just a half mile further north toward Ponca.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Grazing by 43/21 Intersection -- Compos With 2 Elk

Compositions with 2 elk can be hard to get to look right. One strategy is to overlap the elk to kind of convert the picture to "2 gets you 1 subject". In this case, the biggest elk, Box is in the foreground, the smaller behind is behind him mostly, and mostly in the shadows.

Morning light cutting across the bodies of these animals animates their contours. I cropped this to a vertical 12x8 so that the tree would participate in the compo more effectively -- it reinforces the lines. It is pushed back, so the traditional rule concerned about it growing out of the elk has no meaning. In fact, in this case, it seems to point the elk. If I had cropped to 10x8, I don't think it would be as effective.

Arkansas Bull Elk
Make 2 Elk into 1 Subject by Association

Bull Elk Herd by 43/21

Bull elk herd at 43/21 field. I chose this image because "Box" was looking at the other elk with the shag grazing. The eye contact between animals that happens now and then matters a lot. Viewers read human emotion into these moments. In the background you can see the mill pond lit up by blue light from the sky.

I had the place to myself. When I left about 9:30 the bulls were still in about this position. To get this compo, I stayed south of the herd so that my shooting angle took in the mill pond. I could have got a lot closer, but then the background would have been a farm field.

Arkansas bull elk
All-bull Post Rut Herd by 43/21

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Winter Bull Elk Pictures -- Post Rut Bull "Box" at 43/21 Intersection

"Box" is not my favorite bull, he is a second tier bull with square looking antlers. This morning he and 2 buddies were real close to the fence just north of the 43/21 intersection. This picture took me 35 minutes and a tiny fraction of a second. 

I spent some time lining Box up in front of the tree in the background, then spent more time waiting for him to pick up his head. Patience is a big deal if you want to get the best poses. This is a "field shot", but it is at an angle to grab an interesting background. If you want to take better pictures, don't neglect to pose the background. It places the animal in context and is more interesting visually. 

Arkansas Bull Elk
35 Minutes and 1/500th of a Second

12/18/13 Elk Viewing Good, Bulls Close to 43

After a 2 week break due to snowy road conditions, this map reports December herd locations resuming on the 18th.  My guess is that these locations have been pretty good for the last week.

This morning some pretty nice bulls were close to the road at the 43/21 intersection. Got some pics, will post them today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

12/4/13 Ice Storm Coming -- No Elk This Morning

Wild animals will let you know when something is up. For 2 days now the elk have been holed up in the woods. Now we know why.

Driving conditions could prevent me from checking the herd tomorrow morning and maybe for a couple of days. It is not clear exactly when things will be getting bad Thursday, but if the forecast is only half correct this will be a tough storm.

On the mountain tops we really get hammered with ice storms. In 2009 we were without power for 8 days as I recall. Our 21 acres is only now recovering from that ice storm. Yesterday I bought 50# of sunflower seeds. The birds will need it for sure if the forecast holds.

I will be writing something for sure one way or another so check back.

2009 Ice Storm, Beautiful But Scary

2009 Ice at Sunrise

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

12/3/13 No Elk This AM

I did 2 tours of the valley this morning and there were no elk to be seen. This included a trip to Steel Creek. I did see some deer there. Today the animals seemed hunkered down.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Boxley Valley Eagle

We are in eagle season now. Locals will tell you it is from Thanksgiving to Valentines Day. We do have a year round population of eagles, but there are clearly more now. 

The two best places to see eagles in Boxley Valley are the low water bridge at the Ponca Access, and at the Mill Pond. 

The picture below is not the best on a foggy day, but you get the idea. I spotted this eagle by looking for the bright white of his head.  

Eagle viewing is stronger in the lower reaches of the Buffalo River because there are more fish and it is a bigger river.  

December Bald Eagle, Boxley Valley

12/02/13 Elk Herd Map & Report

Not much going on this morning.  There was an all-cow herd down by Beech Creek and some scattered bulls elsewhere. The herd in the Ponca Access field moved into cover again. Perhaps it will return tonight or tomorrow.

The next couple of days the weather will be very good for outside activities. This morning was very foggy.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

12/1/13 Ponca Rutting Bull Elk

Bugling herd bull still in rut near Ponca Access. This morning he bugled like it was October.

Bugling Bull 12/1 at Ponca Access

12/01/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

December is getting off to a good start with an elk herd returning to the Ponca Access field. There was a pretty good crowd this morning, maybe 20 cars that got a good look at this herd for the couple of hours I was down there. Lots of bugling for this late in the season. This herd is still in the rut pattern.

Elsewhere in the valley there were some stray bulls.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

11/30/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

The Ponca field was empty this morning, but elk showed up in the lower valley area, and the all bull herd moved a bit north.  They left pretty early.

Conditions remain pretty dynamic. Gun season ends this weekend and hunters are making one more push. Next week things will be more settled, colder and perhaps more typical of this time of year.

Friday, November 29, 2013

11/29/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

Elk viewing was good this morning in the north end of Boxley Valley.  Many cars observed the herd near the Ponca Access.  Down the valley there were stray bulls but nothing much else to report.

Absolutely great hiking weather. The trailheads are loaded with the cars of hikers and some deer hunters at the end of modern gun season.  Orange up if you hike.

Late Rut / Post Rut Photography Good This Morning

Great conditions today for relatively close viewing and photography. Viewing should be good tonight as well. 

This Morning in Boxley Valley

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Donkey

Sometimes I treat myself to normal light and an easy subject. I shot this on the way home. This baby donkey was pretty cooperative. For some reason around here my neighbors are suddenly raising donkeys. They are a nice subject and appreciate a nose scratch once in a while.

Baby Donkey on Old Erbie Road

11/28/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

This thanksgiving morning most of the elk were back under cover. I am confident the herd locations noted yesterday remain valid, it is really a matter of when herd movements are into the grazing fields.

The one herd visible this morning was the medium sized bulls just north of the mill pond. There are stray elk other places, usually bulls.

Have a great thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Morning Sparring By Mill Pond

Morning sparring just north of the Mill Pond. This is the medium sized all bull herd that has formed recently. This behavior will continue until the antler drop at the end of March 2014.

Morning Sparring Medium-Sized Bulls. 

11/27/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report -- Elk Viewing Very Good

After a few day break due to pretty lousy weather, the elk were out today in force. I saw 4 herds this morning, 2 herds still in a rutting pattern, an all cow herd, and an all bull herd.  The elk are concentrated in the south end from just north of the mill pond to the Smith Creek field.

I expect this pattern to hold for a few days.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Whitetails Crossing the Buffalo Pano

Another cold, icy day.  Time to fiddle with more post processing. This picture is the 4th from the shoot I got from the Ponca low water bridge. Nice to get the deer all the way across the Buffalo. 

Getting stir crazy to get out and shoot. These gray skies can't last forever. 

Whitetails Crossing the Buffalo River at the Ponca Access

Sunday, November 24, 2013

11/24/13 Elk Locations & Report

The bitter cold of this morning is only now abating. This morning, while there were no elk herds to be seen, there were quite a few bulls scattered around.

These conditions will flip pretty soon, they always do. I am visiting the valley less now, but still 3 or 4 times a week.

No need for a map today.  If you visit just check the whole valley. A herd could pop out -- they are not very far away.

Why Not Black and White?

Days like today are great for working on your ideas and learning some new things. I took the river crossing image into my preferred  BW plugin and played around with it.

I applied a red filter to bring up the deer. Took the tree trunk and roots behind the deer down darker so the deer would pop out a bit. I lightened up the deer still more. I burned down the foreground water, again to lighten up the deer.  No formula, just eyeballing the end result.

Why not play with black and white?  It will teach you about how to work with darkness and lightness in the same composition. What you learn in black and white readily translates to your color post processing.  In some ways you might find experimenting with only black and white will help you better manipulate color values. There is the chance you will get hooked on black and white, not a bad problem to have. Whatever makes your photography enjoyable is what matters.

Whitetails Crossing at Ponca Low Water Bridge BW

Making Photo Cropping Choices

There are actually people who think cropping photos is a sin against photography. Seriously? Isn't the point of photography visual expression? Cropping is a fundamental tool. There are a lot of rules created about photography, especially by those who can't figure out composition and visual expression.

The picture below is a crop of the one I posted previously. I don't think it is better or worse, just different. There is no reason to prefer one over the other. I did lighten up the the photo a bit and saturate it slightly. If I were printing this I would spend more time fussing over it.

Note that there is "negative space" in front of the lead deer to the left. That is very deliberate. It is a pretty standard composition strategy to leave space in front of the direction of movement.

This photo is also cropped vertically. I try to place a linear subject along the 3rd lines. Also there is the two tree trunks with roots on the right. I will generally place the vertex of the intersecting 3rd lines between 2 elements that are participating in the composition. These 2 trunks meet that criterion.  Note also, there is not only movement right to left, these trees and roots reinforce the right-to-left sensibility of the composition.

Are these cropping ideas rules? Nope, they are suggested starting points, ways of thinking. If you think differently that pleases me. My concern is that you think about what you do, not whether you agree with me.

The final crop came in at 288 dpi. That is good enough for a pretty good sized print, bigger than most people might want. Might be fun to hack this around in black and white.

Whitetails Crossing the Buffalo (Crop)

Whitetails Crossing the Buffalo at Ponca

I got to the valley late today, almost didn't go because it was so cold.  After a talk with myself, I went -- it was 17 degrees.  No elk to be seen except scattered bulls that offered no great photo opportunity. 

As is my habit, I kept grinding. I made a second visit to the Ponca Access and saw a group of 7 does and fawn north of the low water bridge. Experience has taught me to wait and see what might happen. As it turned out they piled into the river fairly close to my parked car and gave me a nice series of crossing shots. 

Don't underestimate the Ponca low water bridge as a setup spot for wildlife crossings. There are trails close to the bridge both upstream and downstream, and others further on both directions. I have shot deer, otter, white winged crows, bald eagles, green herons, blue herons, king fishers, and elk in the river from the bridge. It is worthwhile. I usually stop there twice on any visit to Boxley Valley, sometimes 4 times if I make a double survey of the valley. 

Whitetails Crossing the Buffalo at Ponca Low Water Bridge

Friday, November 22, 2013


Nights like tonight I dig into my archives and hole up waiting for the next photo shoot. As a rule I don't really remember a lot of what I have unless it is amazing. Around home here there are plenty of subjects sometimes pretty amazing light.

This picture is of one of my two roosters. I call him Checkerbird, he is the last of a line of crosses of the American Java and Black Breasted Red Phoenix chickens I have had.  

I think if you concentrate when you take pictures, you learn a lot. I will never tire of studying light of all types. In this picture I got Checkerbird in filtered light coming through my oak trees. I waited a long time for this picture. Timing the moments when your subject is in these beams of light is a worthwhile skill to sharpen. 

Checkerbird in Filtered Light

11/22/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

There were quite a few bulls scattered around this morning, but I did not see one elk herd. Elk are very reliable weather forecasters. My guess is that after tonight's miserable weather clears out, conditions are excellent well past Thanksgiving, though much cooler.

Only the elk know for sure.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

11/21/13 Elk Update

Nothing to report on today. I saw one bull and a small herd way back on a private field.

We are now in a frontal change with rain and much colder weather begining tomorrow. This is a great setup for the weekend. Elk love the cold. Maybe they will show up.

Lost Valley will be closed for the next 2 weekends for trail repairs.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

11/20/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

Nothing to report this morning. No elk herds, and I only saw one elk the length of Boxley Valley. Gun season is still on and things are dynamic. Possible rain tonight and tomorrow could change things. This weekend's weather is predicted to be quite cold and sunny. This could change the viewing significantly.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Godzilla Steering His Herd

Bull elk steer their harems away from danger. This was taken a bit later when Godzilla had had enough of me and it was time to move his herd.

Compositions usually have negative space in front of a moving subject, in this case it is behind. This is because in these steering movements, the bull pivots toward the last cow as he walks back and forth moving them toward the tree line in this case.

Herd Bull Turning His Harem

All Bull Herds Forming

We are in the crossover period where late rut becomes post rut. These bull elk are functioning both as satellite bulls and seem to be an all bull herd. These transitions are never clean, they do overlap, and sometimes the animals will reverse for a few days. 

This group are second tier bulls, not big enough to be in the game. They do trail herds during the rut, but eventually group up roughly by size. They were quite near Godzilla's herd. 

Part of the joy of wildlife watching is to look past what the books say and observe what really goes on. 

Note the back bull's steamy breath. With 5 elk in a single frame it is useful to mix up movement, the line of heads, and eye contact. I have about 6 frames of these 5 bulls and this one is the most visually interesting for those reasons. 

All Bull Herds Are Forming

Godzilla and Harem 11/19/13

The big bull elk was in a front field this morning. I crept up on him at some distance, but he saw me anyway. He walked toward me on an upslope and picked his head up some.  This big bull is visible now just south of the 43/21 intersection, at least he was today.

Generally I will not center a subject, but in this case I think it works because it shows a "day in the life of elk". Godzilla is locked on to me as a threat, some cows are walking away, a couple are looking on. Crossing morning light makes this appealing to me.  Even though it is mid-November, Godzilla is still bugling and showing rutting bull behavior.

Herd Bull Godzilla Protecting His Harem

11/19/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

The biggest bull herd in the valley showed up this morning, and there were no other herds. It is headed by Godzilla. Some of the past herd bulls are now satellites, and they seem headed to create an all-bull herd. There was pretty good bugling for November.

Whitetail deer are still running everywhere. If you visit, be alert for them.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

11/16/13 No Elk This Morning

My guess is that the weather change pushed the elk back into cover, but only they know.  I did not see one elk this morning at 7:30 AM.

Weather and deer hunting make the situation hard to predict. It it possible tomorrow could be completely different. Only time will tell.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Calf Elk Feeding in Creek

Some days you get just one picture. I am sure there would have been more if I dug around and worked harder, but I had other things to do. I missed an opportunity to get a very big bull -- I spooked him off.

Calf Elk Feeding in Creek 

11/15/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

As I mentioned yesterday, poor viewing conditions could turn on a dime in modern gun season. That is exactly what happened.

The big news is a large herd that showed up this morning. I would say it is the largest I have seen this year and it is being led by Godzilla, one of the huge bulls. They are in the 43/21 field. My guess is that they were moved in by deer hunters. Another small herd was in the field just south of the elk pullout this morning.

Expect herds to move around a lot during whitetail gun season. The best course is to check the whole valley during this time. We are also in a weather change and that impacts the movements.

Watch out for whitetail deer, they are running everywhere now.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Getting Good Photos on "Off Days", Composition

Pretty sure this is "Hammers", the shag bull. He was grazing around the bridge at Moore Creek this morning and he gave up a lot of shots in crossing light. 

If I didn't tell you, you would not know this is a roadside shot, it is a crop. This composition uses negative space in the direction that the bull is looking -- a pretty standard composition strategy. It creates interest, much more than a centered shot. 

Also, this was taken on a day when there were few elk. The day was carried by roadside bulls, small ones like Hammers, and a medium sized bull in the other picture I posted today. Today paled compared to yesterday with JYD. There were still plenty of elk pictures to get. 

Sunrise Light and a Crop Carries this Compo

Bull Elk Crossing 43 and Tourist Photographer

This is the sort of picture that is available often now. While today there were no herds, there were bulls scattered around and visitors got some pictures. This tourist is modeling the behavior we would like to see. She pulled over outside the white line before she shot the first picture.

Bull Crossing 43 November 14, 2013

11/14/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

The elk herds took a day off today, at least this morning. In contrast there were quite a few bulls at the roadside in the middle valley. These viewing conditions will turn on a dime so if you visit make sure you look at the whole valley.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

11/13/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

A pretty good morning today for elk watching and photography. With the colder weather there were few photographers and watchers.  The best shooting and viewing was early when the elk were closer to the fence.  JYD put on a pretty good show romping around close to the fence.

Good landscape weather too. Water-based compositions now have morning fog as an element. There are still plenty of colored leaves as well.

JYD November 2013

Nothing like the end of the rut to get big bull shots. A little steam too. He is still rutting and bugling.  I got within 30 yards of him today. Pretty much had the valley to myself this morning.

JYD November 2013

Smith Creek Sunrise 11/13/13

This is a pretty good example of late fall color.  With the reflections and fog off the reflecting pool, I think it is pretty good.

November Sunrise at Smith Creek

Monday, November 11, 2013

Roadside Bulls More Common Now -- Drive Carefully

Small roadside bulls like this one are feeding on the roadsides, and sometimes on the banks. Drive slowly in Boxley Valley. They are spooked now by the gun shots in deer season.

I shot this little guy at about 10 yards right out my car window. He seems pretty small compared to the full sized herd bulls, but he is still 5-600 pounds. Nothing you want to hit with a car or truck.

Small Bull Elk on Roadside 43/21 Intersection

11/11/13 Elk Herd Locations & Report

Elk viewing was good this morning, especially at the Ponca access with a herd lingering in the northernmost field until about 9 AM. Elsewhere in the valley were small herds and scattered animals.

The elk are clearly being impacted by deer hunters. When you visit be very aware while driving, the animals are nervous and many are feeding along the roadsides.

The big bull herd is in the middle valley area. These are the big boys that will provide great photos for months to come as you can see in my December 2012 photos. This is the emerging late rut pattern. There are still rutting bulls, and the possibility of a bull fight still exists but it is fading.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Boxley Stud and a Shag December 18 Last Year

The best bull pictures are ahead from now until the end of March. This picture is from last year on December 18, over a month from now. As I have said a few times before, the best bull elk photography is ahead. If you want big bull pictures, it is easier after the rut starts winding down.

This particular shoot was one of my memorable ones, the kind of days you don't forget. Great light, great bull, and plenty of chances. The frost made getting details in his neck easy. I had the place to myself.

Remember this. The bull elk don't drop their antlers until around April 1. If you are serious about wanting some amazing elk shots we are now entering the very best time of the year. This will be when you get your trophy shots.

The Legendary Boxley Stud Bull Elk (and Shag Elk)

Final Wildflower Photo for 2013

I live in a photographers paradise. There is no shortage of subjects all along the way from home to Boxley Valley. While it might seem I only care about elk, the truth is I often get pictures along the way. 

This wildflower, a black eyed susan, is very late.  In the next 2 days it will be killed by a predicted hard frost. It has managed to bloom and complete its life cycle. Just a month ago there were many similar flowers, now there is just this one. 

For many reasons this year was challenging and I had to set aside the camera during wildflower season. I missed a couple of months for very good reasons, but I really missed the amazing wildflowers around here. This flower was a very nice final gift. I would have been pretty happy with this flower in season, now so late I was very happy to get the picture in crossing morning light. 

The Final Flower for 2013

Watching Herd Bull "Tiny Forks" and His Harem

This group is at the first field south of the 43/21 intersection looking at the big herd bull "Tiny Forks" and his harem. It includes the smallest elk fan of the year. They saw a nice show. Great elk viewing is far from over.

This was taken around 7:30 AM when morning viewing is still pretty good.  Evening viewing starts around 3:30 to 4:00 PM after the time change.

Elk Fans 11/10/13