Montana Outdoors

October 17, 2007

For its elements

I like this photograph, not because it’s a great photograph but because of the elements of the natural process that it contains.

The tree trunks are black from the fire in 2002 which killed about 50,000 acres of the forest which is sad, but:

  • New green pines can be seen which in due time will replace the dead ones and the clump of willows provides cover and food for the animals.
  • The blow-downs in the foreground will decompose and return nutriments to the soil.
  • The standing dead trees for several years now have been providing a renewable and economical energy source for many of us to use in heating our homes.
  • The traces of red are the fall color of huckleberry bushes which took advantage of the openings to the sky and are now growing where they could not grow before.
  • In the burned areas after a fire, the low growing grasses and shrubs provide excellent food for wildlife, and these four Mule deer are typical of those who use it to their advantage.
  • The bare, tan-colored stalks in the foreground are the stalks of bear grass which have provided beautiful summer blossoms in the burn area ever since the first summer after the fire.

Nature is quietly doing what She does so well.

Siegel Creek burn area

(This setting is at an altitude of about 6,000 feet in the burn area of the Siegel Creek fire of 2002. It is in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains of western Montana.)


  1. There is sure a lot of stuff packed into this enchanting photo. Makes me want to keep looking at it to see if I can find more layers.


    Comment by Pinhole — October 17, 2007 @ 5:02 am

  2. I wish I had a greater understanding of all the processes at work in an area like this. There are probably dozens more than what I grasp. And yet we think we can control or “manage” the wild country!


    Comment by montucky — October 17, 2007 @ 8:11 am

  3. Although the focus is clearly on the deer, I like how the bush in the background almost looks like a fiery explosion, but of green instead of red.
    Meanwhile, the deer on the right is clearly wondering what you’re up to.


    Comment by wolf — October 17, 2007 @ 8:49 am

  4. You’re right, wolf. The willows are part of the stage setting for the deer. Those are two does with their fawns of this year. When we first met that day it was at a range of about 10 feet but I couldn’t get my camera into action quickly enough to get a close-up of those beautiful faces. I finally convinced them I wasn’t harmful but I couldn’t get any closer and that one doe was only half convinced: she has one ear pointed toward me and one back the other way.


    Comment by montucky — October 17, 2007 @ 1:31 pm

  5. thanks for breaking this all down for us city folk. this is truly an awesome picture!


    Comment by silken — October 17, 2007 @ 8:54 pm

  6. It’s a scene that makes me feel good, silken!


    Comment by montucky — October 17, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

  7. Very cool Terry, the mullies are a great element in the image. Wonderful work.


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — October 17, 2007 @ 10:00 pm

  8. I love the mulies! Before the fire it was rare to see them in that area, but now I see them every time I get up there. Just a few years ago we were afraid the mule deer were vanishing around here, but they are making a really good comeback now.


    Comment by montucky — October 17, 2007 @ 10:24 pm

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