Yesterday was a gloomy day, the day after the “bomb cyclone” that hit the West Coast of California. The day after a bad storm is always a great day to head to the Pacific Ocean – because the ocean is usually still wild and crazy.
I was in the mood to return to a few photo spots out at Point Reyes, like Drakes Estero, places that my field trip pal S. and I had already visited early in the summer. I had photographed them then with blue sky and calm water. This day I wanted to capture their gloomy and wild side.
Today was a day when the locals were cleaning up after the storm, and few visitors felt compelled to visit Point Reyes, I guess, because we had most of the National Seashore to ourselves.
After leaving Drakes Estero we continued further into the parkland to get to Drakes Beach. On the way we saw a few herds of cows, but what I was excited to see, and photograph, were the Tule Elk.
The tule elk is a subspecies of elk found only in California, ranging from the grasslands and marshlands of the Central Valley to the grassy hills on the coast. The subspecies name derives from the tule, a species of sedge native to freshwater marshes on which the Tule elk feeds.
In all of my years in living in California, I had never seen a Tule Elk in nature, only in photographs.
Over the past year there has been a lot of controversy regarding the management of Tule Elk out at Point Reyes by Park Management, which seems to favor historic cattle ranchers (those who hold long-term leases for their pre-existing ranches) over Tule Elk habitat.
By nature I am not a wildlife photographer, although I enjoy taking wildlife photos if they present themselves. I realize that my gear would need a major upgrade if I wanted to take it seriously.
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