…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


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


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


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


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


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


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





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.











Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!!  Hope that all of you have a great holiday season.


B&W Sea Otters

Here are some more sea otter photos from Morro Bay, CA.  There were two pups in the group and it was difficult to get a decent shot of them.

Converted these to B&W using NIK Silver EFfx Pro 2.

1/640 sec @ F4.5, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2 exposure compensation, 500mm mounted on tripod


1/400 sec @ F8, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2 exposure compensation, 560mm with 100-400 II lens and 1.4X III teleconverter, handheld


1/500 sec @ F8, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2 exposure compensation, 560mm with 100-400 II lens and 1.4X III teleconverter, handheld


Sea Otters at Morro Bay, CA

Spent last weekend at Morro Bay in California taking photos of sea otters.  This was my second trip there in the last 4 1/2 years.  Got some time to see some old friends and make some new ones.  Love this small bay town and need to try to make this an annual trip.

Day 1 was cloudy with about 20 otters wrapped up in sea weed near the Morro Bay rock.  They wrap themselves in kelp to keep them from floating away at night while sleeping.

Tried to get as close to the water as possible, which meant positioning my tripod on the rocks and sitting on a rock for a few hours.  Had to shift position when the water came up with the tide.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II mounted on tripod with Wimberley II gimbal head.

Aperture priority, 1/800 sec @ F5.6, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, + 1 2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm


Aperture priority, 1/400 sec @ F5.6, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, + 2 exposure compensation, 500mm


Aperture priority, 1/640 sec @ F4.5, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, + 2 exposure compensation, 500mm 

Prairie Dogs

This is my 400th post since starting my blog in Jan 2011.  Thanks again Sheldon for talking me into doing it.  With 166 followers and over 67,000 hits, it’s been a very good time and thanks everyone for checking it out.

Here are some of my original targets from my trip to Lubbock, TX – prairie dogs.  They are cute little critters that I’m sure drive farmers crazy with all of their burrows in the fields.  They were very photogenic and would come out just after sunrise.

The youngsters were getting older but still fun to watch interacting with their parents.  I missed the money shot as one got too close to a burrowing owl and the owl attacked him.  Maybe next time…

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter, handheld out my car window

Aperture priority, 1/640 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation


Aperture priority, 1/640 sec @ F5.6, ISO 2500, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation


Aperture priority, 1/500 sec @ F5.6, ISO 2000, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation


Aperture priority, 1/640 sec @ F7.1, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation