And this was the year.
I was near Clam Lake Wisconsin and stopped by a small lake to make a few images.
There were good clouds and reflections,
and the tamarack trees were turning gold.
After leaving the lake I found a patch of milk weed along the road.
The sun was in and out, sometimes hiding behind big clouds,
and sometimes beautifully lighting the milk weed pods and seeds.
While sitting on the side of the gravel road waiting for the sun to come out from behind the clouds I heard, 'tromp, tromp...tromp, tromp....tromp, tromp. When I looked over there were six elk; four cows and two calves, about 30 yards away behind trees at the edge of the forest.
The light wasn't good, and I didn't even attempt to photograph them. I just watched as they came up, looked at me and my camera on a tripod, paused for less than a minute and then trotted down the hill and deeper into the forest.
I smiled, felt lucky, and went back to the milk weed.
About four minutes later I heard another large mammal walking through the woods coming from the same direction the elk had come.
I suspected it was a bull elk following the cows, and I was right.
The bull walked to within 25 yards, looked at me, sniffed the air, and walked down the hill the same way the cows had gone.
I made a few more images of milk weed seeds and then lost the sun to overcast skies. I put the camera in the bag, took down the tripod and walked back to my car.
I was smiling as I drove away, thinking how lucky it was that I had stopped for some milk weed and chose to wait for the sun.