Yellowstone…Boys Club

Today began the third week in Yellowstone and I was wondering what we would find that I hadn’t already photographed. The first stop was to photograph three large male bison with their giant heads and crazy hairdos. They would pause occasionally from their constant foraging to watch us watch them…

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Our next stop was to photograph a small group of bighorn rams. One young male gave us a show as he gracefully hopped from place to place looking for the greener grass. His agility was amazing as he landed on his front hooves while his back legs were in the air. I love the way they blend in with their surroundings so well.

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A quick trip out of the park towards Gardiner yielded some pronghorn who went about their daily lives as we photographed them. This male turned to look right into my lens as I clicked the shutter…

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As we headed back into the park we found a threesome of spike bull elk. While not the big six or seven point beast that we saw off in the distance, who can resist when they stop as if to pose for our cameras…

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Once again, the lack of snow and cold temps did not hinder our finding great subjects to aim our lenses at.

Images captured with Nikon D3S, AF-S 600mm VR, TC-17E II, AF-S 70-200mm (elk) on Lexar Digital Media.

Yellowstone…Here A Horn, There A Horn…

It was a day of horns beginning with one of the bighorn rams that like to hang out around Soda Butte. There are normally three of these big guys hanging out together. This week we only saw one but, that’s all you need to make a photograph…

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The day was overcast and fairly warm, the wolf watchers were out in force and we were able to see the Agate Pack off in the distance. Not bothering to put our glass on them we simply watched for a few minutes until they moved off into trees before moving on.

A trip to the north entrance of the park yielded a small group of pronghorn. The male stopped to check us out before moving on. I just love the way they blend into their environment. Notice his coloring compared to the surroundings…

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After a quick lunch in Gardiner we headed back up the canyon in search of the bighorns that regularly hang out in the area and were not disappointed as we found three males vying for a females attention. While it’s not mating season, the ranger explained to us last week that this female likely did not take last fall and was most likely in heat again. I found this very interesting and will have to research it further when I get home. Meanwhile, we enjoyed the action for several hours while the dominant male kept the other two rams at bay.

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It was quite exciting to see what is normally fall rut behavior playing out hundreds of feet above us…

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They mostly stood on what to us is very precarious cliffs staring each other down but, every once in awhile, one of the rams would dart in trying to get to the ewe while the big guy chased them off giving us quite a show…

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We spent the remaining afternoon enjoying the show, marveling at the way they could stand one such small footholds. They certainly are creatures of the cliffs…

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It was a perfect ending to week number to in Yellowstone. Stay tuned…I’m in Yellowstone for one more week and can hardly wait to share the wildness and beauty with my next group!

Images, captured with Nikon D3S, AF-S 600mm, TC-14E II, D3X, AF-S 70-200mm, TC-17E II on Lexar digital Media.

Yellowstone…At Long Last…FROST!

We departed Old Faithful to clear skies and minus temps this morning. Talk about perfect timing…while the whole park is gorgeous with frost, I have a few favorite locations to photograph frost and we were positioned perfectly for one of them…the Geyser Basin areas! We hadn’t gone more than a couple of miles before we had to pull over and photograph the hoar frost covered trees perched on a rock cliff against the blue sky…

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Another mile or two up the road we photographed a herd of bison coming one by one through the trees along the river. Interestingly enough, the bison were not covered in frost but, the trees were…

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Tangle Creek is spectacular on frosty mornings and we had to stop yet again to photograph. I wandered down the road a bit and was happy to find a shot that I have long wanted to make but, never had the right conditions… backlit trees with long shadows coming towards me. The steam and rising sun made it perfect…

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Conditions werer also great for Grand Prismatic with blue skies and little to no wind the steam was not as thick as usual. As we walked the boardwalk I looked to the right as the steam parted providing a window into the distance…

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I am always fascinated with the edges of the pools with their colorful bacteria, crust and the blue of the water. I have been working the edges for creative abstracts the last couple of weeks and have another that I really like to add to my collection…

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Every day is different in Yellowstone. Today’s sunshine and cold temps made for great photography and happy photographers.

Images captured with Nikon D3X, AF-S 14-24mm, AF-S 24-70mm & AF-S 70-200mm VR II on Lexar Digital Media.

Yellowstone…Halfway Point

Today marked the halfway point of my amazing adventure in Yellowstone. We headed around the south end of the park from Old Faithful stopping at West Thumb for a bit and then working our way along Yellowstone Lake were we stopped for lunch. I did a pano while we were stopped. I love the vast expanse of nearly untouched snow covered ice that is Yellowstone Lake in winter. The sun came out and the clouds were just right giving us a classic Yellowstone image. Unfortunately, the constraints of this blog don’t do the image justice but, you can get an idea of the beauty anyway…

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It was another great day in the park and to top it off we encountered the Canyon Group of wolves at twilight. While the image is not the greatest, I had to go to 3200 ISO to even get 1/40 of a second but, who can pass up an opportunity when the wolves are near. The alpha female and beta male came right past our snow coach, the male even pausing for a minute to check us out. The alpha male (black) is much more skittish around people and skirted the vehicle through the trees. After a week along the Madison with three elk kills under their belts (literally), they were headed back home. It was good information to file away for tomorrow as we check the area for more sightings…

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Images captured with Nikon D3X (pano), D3S (wolf), AF-S 70-200mm VR II on Lexar Digital Media.