…morning light is magic…

Yellowstone in Winter 2018 – Day 2

Day 2 in Yellowstone confirmed our suspicion that the wounded bison didn’t make it as a new carcass was discovered about 25 yds from the tree where we left her the day before.  As we approached the area, several wolves were crossing the road in front of us about 50 yds away.  It was too dark to take photos so we got out our cell phones for some video.  They went up the hill to our left to bed down with their full stomachs.

We kept pushing forward in search of frosty bison as the temperature had dipped to – 18 deg F in the park just after sunrise.  We headed towards Old Faithful and found a lone bison with some decent frost on him and got some full frame shots.  Kept going and found several bison a little further off of the road so we stopped to take some photos.  Some hiking out into the now put us in position to get some cool shots of the group.  We later found a group of bison heading towards us walking down the road that were back-lit so we bailed out of the snowcoach again.  We worked along the Madison River on our way back to the wolves.

1/800 sec @ F6.3, ISO 2500, manual mode with spot metering off of the snow + 2 stops

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1/500 sec @ F6.3, ISO 800, manual mode

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We spotted a lone wolf at the top of the hill lying down resting with his head raised and paws out in front of him.  He looked like a big puppy dot and was sleepy from having a full belly.  We photographed him for quite a while until he got up and moved.

1/1600 sec @ F7.1, ISO 200, manual mode

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We headed back towards our vehicle and started eating lunch near our tripods.  Food wasn’t supposed to be an element in our shooting until Jared spotted a black wolf coming out of the woods right behind us.  We quickly spun around and started shooting as he moved towards the road.  Got the shots while operating my camera in one hand and holding onto the sandwich and lens with the other.

It was an amazing experience to see a black wolf in the white snow at that distance.  The first shot below is full frame with no cropping.  He could have cared less if we were there or not as he never lost focus on his awaiting feast.  Got 67 shots of him as he came down the hill and casually walked away from us down the road.

1/1600 sec @ F7.1, ISO 200, manual mode

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1/1600 sec @ F7.1, ISO 200, manual mode

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1/1600 sec @ F7.1, ISO 200, manual mode

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Thought that those were shots of a lifetime until he returned about 14 minutes later.  He ran up the hill only turning his head slightly to look at us near the top as he barely acknowledged our presence.  With his yellow eyes and black sculpted body, he looked like the wolves that nightmares are made of.  A literal once in a lifetime experience and I’m still fired up about it.

1/1600 sec @ F7.1, ISO 200, manual mode

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6 responses

  1. Consider yourself lucky to see a wolf that close. Nice images.

    February 4, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    • Thanks. A rare event for the Wapiti pack being in that area of Yellowstone. We were very lucky to see them for 3 days in a row. Great times…

      February 5, 2018 at 6:54 pm

  2. Your photos are spectacular! I love the bisons. Yes, the wolves looked like big old puppy dogs, until I saw the last two. Definitely frightening looking. What an experience, I can get why you’re still all fired up! 🙂

    February 4, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    • Thanks Donna. Thought last year had some once in lifetime experiences. This year topped those with the wolves. I could hit Yellowstone for the next 10 years and not get that close again. Very special times for sure.

      February 5, 2018 at 6:55 pm

  3. Great experience and beautiful photos.

    February 7, 2018 at 10:06 am

    • Thanks Cornell. It was a great trip.

      February 7, 2018 at 11:23 am

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