Michael A Siebold

A Nervous Landscape Photographer


“I see people put their faces up to these things all the time. I don’t see what the big deal is?”

Saturday, I made it to the top of Clingmans Dome around 3 am. Just like the last time I was there for night shots, it was cold. My watch said 46 degrees, but it felt colder than that. A 20+ mph wind was going, too. I timed it so that I got to Cataloochee Valley just in time for sunrise. I was rewarded by a nice sunrise in the valley, plus a good amount of time with several elk with a calf. I hadn’t gotten to see the spotted little ones before, so that was quite a treat. But after the light was off the clouds, things got interesting. The elk (all cows) decided to come and check out the old barn next to me. That was nice. I even got some shots of them interacting with the old structure that I’m looking forward to processing. The elk then start licking one particular spot in the gravel parking area around halfway between me and the barn. Also made for some interesting shots. I figure someone had dumped a coke out of their car before leaving last night. Now, as the elk had left the field, I moved my landscape rig to right by the car figuring that was safe. As they moved forward in the gravel I kept my wildlife rig with me, but left the wide angle where it was. Then two of the cows started nosing and licking the wide angle rig and then started bumping it. I was really glad it was steady tripod. After everything calmed down and they had all moved on I went over to see how the landscape rig was. There was a mixture of gravel and elk spittle all over my circular polarizer and my nd grad. Fortunately, it all came clean with no scratches.

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