Four Tule Elk, Point Reyes. Point Reyes National Seashore, California. May 30, 2011. © Copyright G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Four tule elk in the meadows at Point Reyes National Seashore.
When the day started I had no idea that I might be photographing wildlife today, much less tule elk! In fact, today was meant to be primarily a photography day. We decided to spend the day on a coastal drive, starting with breakfast in Santa Cruz and then heading north to… wherever we ended up. We had a vague idea that it might be interesting to end up at Point Reyes Station perhaps, where there was an open art studio event going on.
By mid-afternoon, that is indeed where we ended up. We stopped in town to get coffee and a snack and wander about just a bit. With no specific plan in mind we sort of decided to head on out to Point Reyes – the actual “point,” not just the general park. On the way back we took a detour down to Drakes Bay for a quick stop. As we drive back up from there to the top of the hill near the main road we saw some strange shapes in the distance behind a fence. The looked like antlers, but that didn’t seem right – this particular area is dairy country and the elk that I had heard about were in a different area of the park. But as we reached the top of the hill it became completely obvious that a small herd of tule elk were grazing right on the other side of the fence. We pulled over and I grabbed my long lens. The elk were kind enough to occasionally look up from the business of grazing and pose dramatically in the low late-afternoon light from the west.
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