Today, I Celebrate…

Bison copy


 Do what you know to be right.

-Native American Commandment #6-


Story behind the image…

Winter is my favorite time of year to visit Yellowstone.  With the minus temps also come the frost covered wildlife.  Layers are crucial both for me and my equipment as we are in and out of our snow coach, from warm to cold, back and forth…a recipe for disaster when a lens fogs up and is rendered useless for the duration.  When it’s snowing or raining, it’s even worse as you become very damp and then get in the heated vehicle and melt all over creating moisture and thus steam!  So, here’s what we do…we leave the heat off or on very low inside the snow coach, we keep our equipment dry with rain covers if necessary and then we keep our equipment away from any heat source to avoid any quick heating up.

I also have layers to keep me warm and comfortable with thermal underwear as my base layer follwed by waterproof, windproof fleece pants, a t-neck and then a fleece top, Wind proof, water proof jacket(or a Canada Goose down jacket for extreme cold) 2 pairs of socks, North Face cod weather boots, SWIX cross country ski gloves and an ear warmer if it’s really cold.  I’m good to go and can peel layers off  or add them as needed depending on the weather.  Minus 40, no problem; both me and my gear have produced images in these conditions year after year.

So, when we found this lone male bison on the road out of Fishing Bridge one cold winter day we quickly pulled over, grabbed our long lenses, jumped out of the snow coach and handholding our long lenses had just enough time to make several images before we had to get back in the snow coach to let him pass by un-molested.  With the overcast skies, the even light helped with what could be a difficult exposure situation of a dark subject surrounded by bright snow.  Knowing that the bison was my subject and my primary focus, I dialed in +1 exposure compensation to brighten the bison up which in turn brightened the nsow.  I actually like the high key look.  It certainly keeps your attention riveted on the bison.  Nikon D2X, AF-S 200-400mm f4 VR @ 360mm  ISO 400 f5.6 @ 1/500 sec.  I chose ISO 400 so that I could gain a fast enough shutter speed to hand hold a long lens and capture images of a moving subject.  f5.6 provided just a slight bit more depth of field than wide open insuring that the whole head is in focus.