Extreme Yellowstone… Dog Days

As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is much less snow in Yellowstone this year. In fact, there is less snow than I can remember in the last ten winters in Yellowstone. What has that done for the wildlife photography? The wildlife is free to roam greater distances without the hindrance of deep snow to plow through as they dig for food. It means that the wildlife has a better chance at surviving this winter as compared to last. How can anyone find fault with that? As for photography, it’s different. I have found and photographed subjects that have proven elusive to me in the past, I have had to work harder to find subjects. True, I have made less images than I have in previous winters but, I have filled my drives with wonderful images non-the-less.

The last two days we have worked several coyotes…

Nikon D3S, AF-S 500mm f4 VR, TC14-E II

 

Nikon D3S, AF-S 500mm f4 VR, TC14-E II

 

And, I have seen and photographed more foxes the last couple days than I had in several years combined…

Nikon D3S, AF-S 500mm f4 VR, TC17-E II

 

I have heard the same questions over and over this week…”Where is all the snow?” “Where are the critters?” It’s mother nature and we have no control over the weather or the locations of our subjects. Is Yellowstone a bad place to come this winter? NO! It’s different with new challenges and rewards and that is fine with me.

And, they are out there! I have many wonderful images in my drives that I have never made in the past. If it were easy we wouldn’t appreciate those magical moments of connection with wildlife that are presented to us. Snow and colder temps are in the prediction. I look forward to seeking out new images and challenges in the upcoming week. Stay tuned.

Extreme Yellowstone…The Beam

When the conditions are just right…cold temps at around ten below or more and a crystal clear skies and early morning there is a phenomena that happens in the near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone where the sun shines through the snow crystals creating a beam of glittering light. I have wanted to see and photograph this for years and the photo gods smiled upon us with just the right conditions…

The Beam

Nikon D3X, AF-S 24-120mm VR

Yet another reason to join me in an Extreme Yellowstone Adventure. Stay tuned.

 

Extreme Yellowstone…The Falls By Moonlight

One of the reasons I have wanted to come stay at Yurt Camp is to photograph Yellowstone Falls under a full moon. Unfortunately, the weather was a bit uncooperative and the skies have been cloudy the last two nights. With one last shot for this adventure we had all but given up hope when the skies cleared a bit. We threw on our snow clothes, grabbed our cameras and headed to the falls while the moon played peek a boo in and out of the clouds. We headed out to the viewpoint set up and the moon appeared lighting the falls. We quickly established the correct exposure fired off a few shots and the moon disappeared behind a huge wall of clouds. The sun never hits the falls in the winter but, the moon lit them up almost like daylight…


Nikon D3S, AF-S 24-120mm f4 VR

Turning 180 degrees was the view shooting itowards the moon…


Nikon D3S, AF-S 24-120mm f4 VR

It was a special moment to enjoy Lower Yellowstone Falls by moonlight; one that not many people have the opportunity to see in winter. Thanks Photo Gods for making it happen. Stay tuned.

Tech Tuesday…Winterize Your Equipment

Winter is upon us and I, for one, love photographing in the snow and cold. There is a magical quality to the world when it is blanketed in a beautiful white cloak…

By taking some precautions against the winter elements your equipment will perform beautifully providing you the opportunity to make some winter magic.

-LensCoat: One of the first things I do when I purchase a new lens, camera or tripod is to contact my friend Scott at LensCoat to get a cover for it. Not only do LensCoat covers protect your equipment from the elements to some degree, the LensCoat covers keep my equipment in tip top condition by protecting it from bumps and bangs that sometimes happen in the field. their leg wraps for tripods are great in cold weather. Even though carbon fiber does not transmit the cold as much as metal a little neoprene wrap certainly helps to take the chill of when handling my tripod in the cold.

-Rain cover: Whenever I am traveling to a location that may have inclement weather I pack my LensCoat rain cover. It is by far the easiest cover I have found and protects my camera and lens against the elements.

-Plain white hand towel: I have a clean towel close at hand to blot any moisture off my equipment should it get wet. Blot don’t wipe to avoid pushing water into your equipment.

-When I have finished photographing for the day, I remove my CF cards and battery from my camera and re-pack it into my bag. Once I go into the warmth of my hotel room I will leave my equipment in the bag for a couple of hours to let it warm to room temperature inside the bag to prevent condensation forming on (or worse, IN) my equipment. *Note: The same technique applies to those living in warm climates who go from an air conditioned house to the warm outdoors.

-Batteries: The cold saps our batteries. I keep a spare battery inside my coat where it is warm. When the one in my camera begins to show signs of exhaustion, I replace it with the warm battery and put the drained battery inside my coat where it will regain some of it’s power. I can switch back and forth as needed.

Take care of your equipment and it will take care of you when you venture outside into the winter wonderland that awaits you.