Yellowstone Below Zero The Struggle To Survive

Every year I visit Yellowstone in the quest images that speak of the landscape and wildlife that make up this amazing ecosystem and each year I am rewarded with new experiences, new images and new knowledge of this giant caldera. I love this place, it gets in my blood and I can’t imagine not coming each year. The photo opportunities are abundant, the weather can range from 35 below zero (yes, below zero!) to the balmy 35 above zero. The snowfall can be light to down right bury you until spring deep. I get just as excited at a great wildlife spotting today as I did the first visit because no two days are ever the same and I never know what I’ll see each day. That’s part of what makes this place so special. I bring groups here to share the experience that is Yellowstone so that they too, may create some memorable experiences and photos to take home and share with friends and family. Yesterday was another day in the park and we were having a great time, as usual, when we came upon a pair of Trumpeter Swans floating along in the Yellowstone River. As we prepared to disembark from the snow coach, Arden (our guide) caught some movement out the corner of his eye and said “There are two coyotes fighting over there.” When we looked closer it turned out to be two coyotes eating a Signet (young swan) just off the road. Without any more encouragement than that we piled out of the coach, set up our cameras and the shutters began clicking…

After a short time, what appeared to be a female had her fill and wandered off a short distance to lie down…

…while her companion continued to devour the young swan…

All the while I was shooting, I kept thinking of how Yellowstone in winter is such a harsh environment for the wildlife. While we toodle around in our snow coaches or on snowmobiles, the wildlife struggles to survive each day. It’s an eat or be eaten environment and the one eating today may just as easily be the one eaten tomorrow. The wildlife struggles through each day trudging through the deep snow, weathering the sub-zero temps and are constantly in search of their next meal to survive. I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be able to experience this truly wild place, our first National Park and all the wonders of nature up close and personal…

With several more days left, I look forward to each moment spent in Yellowstone witnessing nature firsthand. Stay tuned.

Images created with Nikon D3S, AF-S 600mm f4 VR II, TC-20E II on Lexar digital media