Rooting for the Little Guy

(© Ian Plant) As nature photographers, we know all about the “Circle of Life,” the path unwinding that moves us all till we find our place within, yadda yadda yadda. We see the Circle in action all the time, watching as predator strikes prey and animals succumb to sickness and cold, witnessing the endless cycle of death and rebirth play out in scales large and small. And even though I know we’re not supposed to take sides, sometimes I can’t help but root for the little guy.

On a recent photo shoot in Yellowstone National Park, I saw a sight that would reduce even the most hardened soul to tears: a lone bison calf, frantically running back and forth, separated from his mother and his herd by a wide river crossing that he alone did not have the courage to make. His mother, on the far shore, made some encouraging groans, until the terrified calf finally plunged into the deep waters, swimming for the first time in his short life. Although he made it across in a matter of moments, it seemed as if the entire world stood still, waiting to see if he would reach safety. Finally reunited with his mother, the calf thrust himself between her legs, seeking the comfort of her embrace.

Way to go little guy. I hope you beat the odds and grow up to become a mighty and fearless bull. Then, even the Circle of Life will be afraid to mess with you, if only for a while.

Technical details: Canon 1DII, 500mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/500th second.

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