…morning light is magic…

Yellowstone in Winter 2018 – Day 1

Just got home last week from my second journey to Yellowstone National Park in winter, traveling on Jared Lloyd’s Winter in Yellowstone Workshop.  My first trip last year was one of those so called life changing experiences with it being an easy decision to go back again this year before the airplane wheels touched down in Houston.  Last year was very special with fishing coyotes, bull elk, jumping fox, frosty bison and a long-tailed weasel.  Also got to see wolves in the Lamar Valley about 1 mile away through a spotting scope.  This year changed that perspective, just slightly, forever.

Day 1 in the park started out with a slight delay with the snow coach but it all worked out with us entering the park at the West Yellowstone entrance around 7:30 a.m.  We had heard about a carcass near the road with wolf activity, so we were very excited to see what the morning would bring.  As we approached the location, we could see what was left of the carcass but no wolves, so we kept going in search of other wildlife along the Madison River.  We worked the river to the warming hut and headed back west.

Just past the seven mile bridge, we spotted two wolves on a hillside that were watching a young bison that was standing in the river.  The bison had apparently been attacked earlier by the wolves on her rear legs and was seeking shelter in the river.

Manual mode, 1/2000 sec @ F10, ISO 500, spot metering off the snow, +2 stops


Manual mode, 1/1600 sec @ F10, ISO 400, spot metering off the snow, +2 stops


We photographed the wolves for over two hours and they eventually moved over the hill out of sight.  The bison took that que to try to make an escape by walking along the river right in front of us and then up on the road heading east, limping along as she walked.  We found her later on the opposite side of the road lying down next to a tree.

We all knew what would likely be her fate by the next morning, which came to pass.  The circle of life is very hard to watch in person but inevitable in the wild.

Manual mode, 1/1000 sec @ F10, ISO 400, spot metering off the snow, +2 stops


Manual mode, 1/1000 sec @ F10, ISO 400, spot metering off the snow, +2 stops


Manual mode, 1/4000 sec @ F6.3, ISO 320, spot metering off the snow, +2 stops


Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Induro tripod with leveling head and Wimberley II gimbal head, some hand held.











11 responses

  1. Beautiful shots and commentary.

    January 28, 2018 at 11:29 am

  2. Carl Henry


    We ran into each other last year in Gardiner. I love the wolf photos. I am returning this year as well. I drew a 3 day permit to take snowmobiles into the park without a guide in a lottery the had back in October. This is the first year that I think they are allowing this and I am pretty excited just wish I had more than 3 days. We are staying at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. I am assuming you have left or moved on to Lamar Valley by then?

    Let me know how the rest of your trip goes. Hope you have good weather, lots of action and enough memory cards.



    January 28, 2018 at 12:19 pm

  3. Thanks Stephen. It was a great trip. Can’t wait to go back.

    January 28, 2018 at 12:58 pm

  4. Hey Carl. Good to hear from you. Congrats on the snow mobile trip. That should be a blast. I got home on Tuesday. The wolves have been hanging out on the west side for about 3 weeks now. Hope that you can find them. It was an incredible experience. Look for a carcass and the hills nearby. Best of luck.

    January 28, 2018 at 1:03 pm

  5. Joe Benzenhoefer

    Thanks for sharing your experience Tim. For some reason your “circle of life” story reminded me of work ;o) Joe

    January 28, 2018 at 1:16 pm

  6. Thanks Joe. I’m right there with you on the work comment. Going through some of those discussions now. It’s always interesting.

    January 28, 2018 at 1:53 pm

  7. Tolle Aufnahmen!

    January 29, 2018 at 12:09 pm

  8. Thanks Frank.

    January 31, 2018 at 6:31 am

  9. A wonderful story and fantastic pictures …
    Thanks Tim…

    March 31, 2018 at 10:58 am

  10. Diane

    Loved your Yellowstone photos and experiences. Yes the circle of life is sometimes tough as I experienced yesterday in my yard watching a huge hawk, about 8 big crows, and the hawk’s capture (which upset the crows but fortunately I could not tell what it had in it’s talons). Nature is never dull.

    June 21, 2021 at 8:57 am

  11. Thank you very much Diane. Can’t wait to go back again to Yellowstone. Magical place.

    June 27, 2021 at 9:40 am

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