A Picture Worth 501 Words

Moments after our awesome bear sighting on the 4th, we were cresting the top of a steep rise further on down the same road…

“Deer”, I said.

“To the right.”

This is my typical shorthand way of informing my husband of impending wildlife on the road as he drives. It’s usually not necessary as he’s just as good at spotting the critters as I am, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to have two sets of eyes looking. Especially at this time of year, we encounter so many deer, rabbits, and ground or tree squirrels that you really have to drive slow and be mindful in order to avoid the unthinkable.

The deer around here seem to have any number of ways of reacting to our oncoming vehicle. Sometimes, they will bound swiftly off the road, boing-boing-ing their way off into the brush or up a steep hillside. Other times, they seem uncertain of what to do, meandering in the middle of the road or crossing one way then back the way they came. Then, there are those times when they freeze and just watch our slow approach.

The deer we were nearing at the top of the hill had a choice to either go down a very steep embankment behind her, cross the road and go up an equally steep embankment on that side, or run up the middle of the road in front of us. But, as she was a little ways off the road and (perhaps) imagined herself somewhat concealed in the high grass, she chose the option of just standing very still and waiting for us to pass. As we steadily inched our way forward, my camera still in-hand from filming the bears, I hatched an idea. I have photographed at the spot we were nearing on so many occasions and I could see in my minds’ eye the position of the deer relative to the view behind it. A view that overlooked the property where we live and beautifully showcased the canyon and the foothills beyond. I rolled my window all the way down, and as we moved past the deer, I managed to take this photo:

Mule Deer & canyon overlook


I have many, many images taken from this point on the road, looking out over the same view. But, none of them makes me quite so happy as this one. The Mule Deer in the foreground. In the distance, glimpses of the trails behind our cabin. Trails that I have walked thousands of times.

Some photos are more than the sum of their parts. They are a feeling that cannot be explained and may very well not even exist for anyone but the photographer. They capture not only the visual information of what the camera sees, but also somehow find a way to capture the essence of what it was like to witness the scene for yourself.

Well, anyway… sorry for the rambling and philosophizing.

Mostly, I hope you enjoyed the photo.

It’s better than my words.


Harsi / July 7, 2011 / hillsides, mammals


  1. John Pearson - July 8, 2011 @ 7:01 am

    Wow, very nice, Harsi. Again. Your notes are a pleasure to see each day, from artwork to ravens to bears (an especially big wow!) and still others… and now this. Wow indeed!

  2. Harsi - July 8, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

    Hello, John! So sorry for posting your comment this late in the day. We woke up to an ant infestation in our very large accumulation of recyclables (stored indoors and long overdue in being taken to the center). Not the sort of arthropod encounter I was hoping for today. *smirk* We do our best to try and simply remove whatever is attracting them rather than immediately killing everything in site. Thus far, it seems to have worked like a charm and they have already retreated almost entirely. Yay! Thank you, thank you for your extremely kind words regarding my blog. It means so much to me to know that you are reading along and enjoying my photos and adventures. It seemed perfect that I should happen to hear from you today because I was catching-up on your blog just last night before I went to bed. I drifted off thinking about a life dedicated to nature and about the joy of identifying species — both for yourself and others. Aaah… but I’ll save the rest of my comments for your blog itself. Must run to do a few errands, but looking forward to visiting more with you later.

  3. Lisa - July 9, 2011 @ 8:32 am

    What a special photo this is….simply *beautiful*! BTW – I think your words are worth just as much. LOVED hearing about your bear encounter….SO interesting 🙂 xoxoxo

  4. Harsi - July 9, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

    Thank you, Lisa. I’m so happy to share this special image and memory with you. *GRIN* I was thinking about you when I posted about the bears… I wondered what had become of the bears seen visiting feeders around your town… Still being seen?


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