In The Yard
I have mentioned in some of my previous posts that I do a lot of driving to make photographs, and while that’s certainly the case, there are times when the images come to me. I live in a cabin on a river in north central New Mexico, so it’s not uncommon to see wildlife on my land. I use a long lens when photographing wildlife both for their comfort and my safety, but, long lenses aside, there have been times when I have gotten quite close to my subjects.
This doe was browsing along the edge of my road and she posed for me as I drove by. I like the contrast of the gourds along the bottom edge of the frame and the sere grasses in the background.
Nikon Df Nikkor 24-120mm F6.3 1/125
There are several bucks that frequent the area where I live. They use my property as a corridor to access the river. They are a part of a family which also include as many as eight does, their fawns and an ever-changing number of yearlings. As is typical with mule deer, the males only congregate with the females and young during the rut. For the remainder of the year, they live a mostly solitary existence.
Nikon D500 Sigma 150-600 F8 1/800
I made this photograph in late September. Mule deer coats become darker, a greyish brown, going into the winter months. You can see the difference in color if you compare this with the previous image. I’m pretty certain it’s the same individual in both photos.
Nikon D500 Nikkor 80-400 F8 1/160
When the males are young, they sometimes travel in small bachelor groups. These two showed up together regularly through the summer, but as fall arrived, they went their separate ways.
Nikon D500 Sigma 150-600 F8 1/500
This bull elk is a frequent visitor. Here he is in early March looking pretty rough after a hard winter. His fur is matted and almost mangy looking; his antlers have just begun regrowing after shedding those of the previous year.
Nikon D 500 Nikkor 200-500 F 8 1/500
A month and a half later, the same bull is looking much better with a healthier coat and a sizable spread on his antlers. Being in such intimate contact with these animals always leaves me with a sense of wonder and privilege.
Nikon D500 Nikkor 200-500 F8 1/400
In My Yard
I live in a small village in north-central New Mexico and the Jemez River runs through my yard. There is one apple tree; I don’t harvest the apples. In the fall when they begin to ripen, the deer make my yard their own and feast on the apples.
They also come through to get to the river. There is a drainage that runs from the mesa top five hundred feet above and the deer use this as a conduit to move to and from the river which is the most reliable source of water for miles.
The deer: bucks, does, and fawns have become a regular source of enjoyment for me. Just looking out and seeing them browsing at the tree or grazing in the grasses gives me a sense of connection to them and their world–my world.
Last week while editing some images and trying to pick one to post to my Facebook page, I went to my coffee pot to pour a cup, then to the door to survey the yard. I was greeted by this majestic bull elk. There are plenty of elk in the Jemez Mountains and I’ve seen many on, or near the road, especially in the high country; but this was the first time I had seen one in my yard. He was nervous and I had to move slowly to get into position to get a decent line of sight.
I managed to make eight exposures and the two I have posted here are my picks. I hope this guy makes my place a regular stop in the future.