This was one of my earliest elk photos, taken years ago during the first snowstorm of the season in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was also the first time I experienced, so close, the haunting bugle of the rut … the magic that is this ancient, elkish ritual. The bulls, some of them old and magnificent as the one pictured here, round up their harems and, in the process, bathe the valleys in an operatic flourish. The elk bugle is like nothing else. It’s a literal call of the wild, as iconic and as cinematic as the cry of a Red-tailed Hawk over a canyon.
This image — as still as that silent, snowy moment now elapsed — is a world away from the times we find ourselves in right now. I miss that winter. I miss that normal. I miss my old life.
[Photographed from a respectful distance w/600mm equivalent lens]