Yellowstone Safari Day 6 The Final Hurrah

With a fresh blanket of snow covering the ground we were anxious to head out to Lamar Valley and see what opportunities presented themselves to us however, it was not to be. The night before it had been blizzard conditions and the road was closed while they plowed it. After waiting for a half an hour the ranger told us that the snow plow was pushing 12-18 inches of snow and it was going to be awhile. Not wanting to waste any time we headed towards Gardiner in search of wildlife. To say we were not disappointed would be an understatement. Our first encounter was with a good sized herd of bighorn sheep that had come down from high ground to graze. With the snow covered ground it was a photographer’s dream come true. A nice RAM paused to look at us…

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A pretty Ewe paused to give us a shot…

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And the lambs were busy frolicking in the snow…

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After photographing the Bighorns for about an hour we moved on. We didn’t have to go far before we found our next subject…some Pronghorn returning from the river where they had gone to drink. A doe cooperated for us nicely coming into frame filling distance.

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She then meandered up the hill where she paused once more for a final shot before dropping over the other side.

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We figured the road to Lamar Valley should be open by now and off we went to see what else we could find. A herd of Bison were blocking the road so we took the opportunity to stop and photograph them. I particularly liked this big bull with a snow covered face.

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With a great day under our belt we headed back to the hotel but didn’t make it far when we encountered four bull elk. They were at a distance to begin with but, we set up anyway and sure enough, within no time they moved closer.

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And closer still as the last golden light fell upon them.

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As the light fell behind the mountain we packed up and headed home with our hearts filled with a warmth that overshadowed the cold in our fingers and toes. I’ve photographed more wildlife in one week than any other winter visit to Yellowstone. This is the reason I keep returning. What an amazing week spent photographing the wonders of Yellowstone with a really great group of folks.

Images captures with Nikon D3, AF-S 600mm, TC-17E on Lexar Digital Media