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Posts tagged “Yellowstone National Park

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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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

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

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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

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

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

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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.

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Yellowstone Winter Trees

It’s getting quite toasty with the heat/humidity in SE Texas so I thought that it was time to cool it down a touch with a couple of photos from Yellowstone in winter.  My trip was focused on “wildlife” but we did stop a couple of times for some landscape photos.  Proof that I can somewhat take non-critter photos.

I wasn’t the best prepared traveling without my ball head but made

do.  Trying to use a 17-40mm lens on a gimbal head was a challenge though.  Plus breaking my 100-400 lens on day 1 didn’t help so the last shot was with my 500mm lens.  Next time I’ll have my back-up camera ready with my wide-angle lens for just such an occasion.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 17-40mm lens mounted on tripod.

Manual mode, 1/60 sec @ F11, ISO 200, spot metered off the snow + 2 stops

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Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II handheld

Manual mode, 1/800 sec @ F5.6, ISO 100, spot metered off the snow + 2 stops

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Bighorn Sheep

Another first for me was to see Bighorn Sheep in the wild on my Yellowstone trip.  We searched for a few days in the Lamar Valley looking for them with no luck.  On our next to last day, we found two of them just outside of town.  We parking along the highway and got several good looks from them.

One of my favorites was this face to face interaction.  Not the right time of year for head butting but it was cool to see.

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

Manual exposure, 1/1600 sec @ F8, ISO 400

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Manual exposure, 1/1600 sec @ F8, ISO 400

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Moose Encounter at Yellowstone

Here are some photos of my first Moose encounter in Yellowstone.  We found this one as we were headed to Cooke City on the north side of Yellowstone.  Jared spotted a female moose and made a quick turn around with his vehicle to try to find it again.  We ended up having to drive to the next turn-around as the snow was quite high along the road.  By the time that we got back, Doug had spotted this male bull moose walking through the trees.

We set up near the road as he walked out of the tree line right in front of us.  It was very exciting as he got into open ground in the virgin show.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter, mounted on a tripod with Wimberley II gimbal head.

Manual mode, 1/2000 sec @ F7.1, ISO 800, spot metering off of the snow

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Long-Tailed Weasel

Here are some photos of a Long-Tailed Weasel from Yellowstone.  He was originally identified as an Ermine but later was corrected to the Long-Tailed Weasel due to the length of his tail.  The black tip on their tails help them survive as raptors will go for the black tip and allow them to escape.

Meggi spotted him while will we were headed down one of the snow covered roads.  The snowcoach driver stopped suddenly, I grabbed my 500mm lens and headed to the door.  Of course, the driver was trying to grab some of his gear and hadn’t opened the door.  I started raising my voice and ended up yelling for him to “please open the door!”.  That got his attention and I started shooting from the open door.  However, the people behind me weren’t too pleased so I bailed out of the vehicle and the pursuit was on for this little critter.

In my haste to get at least a few shots before he disappeared under the snow, I forgot my hat and gloves.  Also forgot that my 1.4X was still on, so trying to quickly focus on this fast moving little critter was a major challenge.  He ran back and forth along near the road for about 20 min.  At one point he ran across the road and back and went straight for our workshop leader, Jared.  Thought that we was going to try to run up his leg.

Several other vehicles stopped while we were there to get photos.  It was lots of chaos but also lots of fun.  Had to sneak back to the bus at one point to grab my hat/gloves and take off the teleconverter.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III telconverter, handheld

1/2500 sec @ F7.1, ISO 800, spot metering, +1 exposure compensation, 700mm

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1/2000 sec @ F7.1, ISO 800, spot metering, +1 exposure compensation, 700mm, with minimal cropping

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