That Mona Lisa Smile

Mike Oxley

Cornwall Ontario, Canada

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Wapiti
Parc Omega, Montebello, Quebec, Canada
April 3, 2011

Give the “view larger” thingie a wee click – but only of you feel like it!

An enigmatic smile. Perhaps a smirk directed at all the gullible tourists who have forked over $2.00 for a small bag of carrots, just for the privilege of feeding these guys. But I tend to think it’s a suppressed grin directed at his pal who had just poked his head into the open passenger side window of my car, scaring the crap out of my nephew and liberally coating him with elk spit while he was at it. Now where on earth did Colin learn such flowery language?

From the Park’s website.

Originating from Montana and Wyoming, these are the largest of our deer (1,40m at the withers). They are recognizable by the huge appearance of the adult males and by the dark red-brown color of the neck and chest. The mating season lasts from mid-September until the end of October. The females, who generally give birth to only one offspring, do so between the
end of May and early June. The males are more aggressive during the mating
season, and therefore you must be more cautious.



It is the second largest species of deer in the world, after the moose, which is, confusingly, often also called “elk” in Europe. Elk are one of the largest mammals in North America and eastern Asia possessing an even number of toes on each foot, similar to those of camels, goats and cattle. It is a ruminant species, with a four-chambered stomach, and feeds on grasses, plants, leaves and bark. During the summer, wapiti eat almost constantly, consuming between 4.5 and 6.8 kg

Only the males have antlers, which start growing in the spring and are shed each winter. The largest antlers may be 1.2 m (4 ft) long and weigh 18 kg (40 lb).16 Antlers are made of bone which can grow at a rate of 2.5 cm (1 inch) per day.

While actively growing, the antlers are covered with and protected by a soft layer of highly vascularised skin known as velvet. The velvet is shed in the summer when the antlers have become fully developed.

Sony Alpha 700, Sigma 28 to 300 at 135 mm, circular polarizer
iso 400, spot metered, F6.3, 1/160 second
Shot from the car window.

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