Photo of the Week - Bull Elk in Morning Light

It was a cool late summer morning in September in the Great Smoky Mountains. It wasn't cold yet, but there was no question that autumn was on its way.   A bull elk, tending his harem of cows, began walking toward a tree line in the distance.  There was about ten cows, calves and young bulls in this herd and they are just out of frame to the right.  September is the rut for the Rocky Mountain bull elk, and that means he is always on alert for other rival bulls and cows he can round up into his harem.  

On this morning, the sun was just breaking through the tree line and illuminating the bull and the meadow.  I really like this image for several reasons.  First, the head turn of the elk directly into the sun, really makes for great lighting on the elk itself.  Secondly, there is a layered effect running from the foreground to the background.  In the foreground, the last of the summer flowers draw the viewer's eye  to the golden layer of grasses.  The viewer then sees the dark background beyond the elk. 

I hope you enjoyed this week's image of the week.  The image of the week is selected based on the most engagement from the followers on my Instagram and Facebook accounts.