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
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
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
Manual exposure, 1/1600 sec @ F8, ISO 400
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
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
1/2000 sec @ F7.1, ISO 800, spot metering, +1 exposure compensation, 700mm, with minimal cropping
This bison was found in a snowbank and plowed his way to the road. Very sturdy beasts for sure. At this stop, I started out using my 500mm lens on a tripod and then switched to the 100-400, which was a good move. Ended up with a good variety of shots.
Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 100-400 II lens, handheld
Manual mode, 1/1000 sec @ F6.3, ISO 400, spot metering off the snow
Since the colors were muted in the snow, converted it to B&W using NIK Silver Efex Pro II
One of the highlights of my recent trip to Yellowstone was the red fox. Our workshop leader, Jared Lloyd, knew where to find him as we headed to Larmar Valley on the north side of Yellowstone. He was sitting on top of a snow covered boulder that helped keep track of potential predators.
We spent about 2 hrs photographing him in the morning and came back in the afternoon. He had moved off of the rock and was sitting near his den along side the rock. Got a couple of shots of him and then, in my infinite wisdom, I stepped away from my camera to see where the rest of my group was. Of course, a snowball came rolling down the hill and spooked the fox and he quickly got up. Missed that shot but got him as he stopped and turned towards us before entering his den under the rock.
He ended up coming out the other side of then rock via the back door and climbed on top of the hill adjacent to the rock. We got several shots of him in that position. Some of us were thinking that we were going to leave at that point but Doug came walking up the road from parking one of the vehicles and said that we were going to stay put. That was a great decision as the action picked up. The fox finally got up, yawned several times and headed back to his rock.
He then got into position and jumped back onto the snow covered rock. I was able to catch him in midair during the jump.
Sorry that I’ve been away for a while but a recent trip has kept me somewhat preoccupied. Finally checked going to Yellowstone off of my bucket list. Decided last spring to take the plunge and register for a 10 day trip to Yellowstone in the winter. Goal was to avoid the crowds and to see the raw beauty of Yellowstone in the winter.
Ended up spending the rest of 2016 buying up warm clothes for the trip. More on that later.
I’m still working on my photos and it will take some time to go through all of them. Here are a couple of teaser shots.
More to come…
Frosty Bison: it was – 20 deg F on the first day that we entered the park from the town of West Yellowstone. We headed towards Old Faithful looking for “frosty” bison. We found a herd along the way and were rewarded with some great photo op’s.
Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X teleconverter mounted on tripod with Wimberley II gimbal head.
Manual mode, 1/1600 sec @ F9, ISO 3200, spot metering off the snow with adjustments from there, 700mm
Red Fox yawning: We found this red fox sitting on top of a snow covered boulder, which he used as protection from coyotes. He was one of my favorite targets on this trip. We spent about 4 hours photographing him that day.
1/800 sec @ F7.1, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 2 1/3 exposure compensation, 700mm