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Bighorn Sheep, Elk, Wild Horses — All Are Moving Up to Summer Habitat

About 2 weeks ago I photographed bighorn sheep, elk, and wild horses in the Gila National Forest south of Flagstaff AZ— all were moving up to summer pastures at the 7000' elevation level on up. It was warmer that week, then it cooled but they’re moving on up still, eating last year’s dead grass, all exposed from lack of snow. Large herds of deer (50 or so) can be seen near Zion National Park this week, at around 6300' elevation. Caution advised driving in these areas.

Below, images taken as a herd of robust rams, all with big curls moves upslope, feeding as they go. The about $2998 Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 on the about $1999 Olympus E-M1 Mark II worked great and is so tack sharp that color aliasing in the hair/fur becomes an issue.

Bighorn sheep are not skittish, wild horses are moderately skittish and harder to approach, elk are very skittish and suspicious and difficult to approach.

I’ll be publishing these images and many more at full resolution as I get back to it. For now, both stamina and horribly poor LTE bandwidth in southwestern Utah make it impossible to do more than post these moderate resolution images.

Bighorn Sheep ram with 1/2 curl
f5.6 @ 1/1250 sec, ISO 200; 2018-04-07 13:48:17
Olympus E-M1 Mark II + LEICA DG ELMARIT 200/F2.8 @ 415.1mm equiv (200mm)

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Bighorn Sheep ram with half curl, posing for camera
f5.6 @ 1/1600 sec, ISO 200; 2018-04-07 13:48:45
Olympus E-M1 Mark II + LEICA DG ELMARIT 200/F2.8 @ 415.1mm equiv (200mm)

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Bighorn Sheep rams with 3/4 curl
f5.6 @ 1/2000 sec, ISO 200; 2018-04-07 13:44:42
Olympus E-M1 Mark II + LEICA DG ELMARIT 200/F2.8 @ 415.1mm equiv (200mm)

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Wild horses including foal, Gila National Forest
f2.8 @ 1/1600 sec, ISO 200; 2018-04-07 14:25:39
Olympus E-M1 Mark II + LEICA DG ELMARIT 200/F2.8 @ 415.1mm equiv (200mm)

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Cow elk grazing first shoots of new spring growth
f4.5 @ 1/800 sec, ISO 200; 2018-04-07 15:15:38
Olympus E-M1 Mark II + LEICA DG ELMARIT 200/F2.8 @ 415.1mm equiv (200mm)

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Yellow-Headed Blackbird 'Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus' at Pintail Lake
f2.8 @ 1/3200 sec, ISO 200; 2018-04-08 05:43:13
Olympus E-M1 Mark II + LEICA DG ELMARIT 200/F2.8 @ 415.1mm equiv (200mm)

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Bluebird in leafing-out lone tree, Pintail Lake
f2.8 @ 1/500 sec, ISO 200; 2018-04-08 06:06:33
Olympus E-M1 Mark II + LEICA DG ELMARIT 200/F2.8 @ 415.1mm equiv (200mm)

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