Jul 082014

The increase of the wolf population and the decrease of the Coyote population at Yellowstone has created the opportunity for the increase of the Red Tail  Fox population.  Up until only a few years ago coyotes were found around almost every corner.  It is not the case any more.  I would typically take away from yellowstone thousands of Coyote photographs.  This last trip NOT ONE photo.  Not even one Coyote sighting.  The Fox and the Coyote have similar hunting and scavenging technics.  The first time I saw a coyote jump up and dive straight down on a mouse I about lost it.   Since that first time I have watched coyotes for hours hunting.  Much less time has been spent with the fox.  They are not a public critter. They run when greeted by US two legged weirdo’s.  With more fox I had more opportunities this trip.  I had to plan better for the shots than with the coyotes.  High on Mount Washburn I found a hunting fox.  I was much lower in elevation than she was so the opportunity to get a nice ridge shot presented itself.

This cute gal was hunting but not having much luck finding a snack.  I was hoping like crazy for her to do the jump-dive thing on a rodent.  For a video of a Red-tail Fox diving into snow click here.  If that does not make you laugh?    Finally she started her approach and then up she went.  At that point I remembered I was shooting with my Nikon DF not the D4s.  I keep the D4s on the 600mm lens.  The D4s shoots at 11 frames per second.  The DF shoots at best 5 frames.  DANG IT!!!!  At least I got the  dive shot….

This next shot was the killer!   I never got the belly shot before. All I could think was that must really hurt.  They must have a nose made of steel.  Unlike diving into snow (like in the attached video) to dive head first right on it’s nose?  OUCH!!!!

Another great adventure that day.  And big laughs.

Here is link to Wikipedia about the Fox.

(By the way I need to edit my blogs better for spelling, grammar and mistakes.  My last post I said I had taken 300,000 photos this trip.  Uh 300,000?  It was more like 30,000.  Still a ton but more closely to what really happened)

 Posted by at 8:21 PM
Jul 042014

A little over a week ago I had another great adventure in Yellowstone.  Wow what a week.  All day.  Everyday capturing scenics, critters and some videos!

My adventures one day was with a Yellow Bellied Marmot family.  With a week to play I could take my time and  wait for the best shots.  The Marmots did not disappoint.  I was laughing more than anything.

Marmots reproduce when about two years old, and may live up to an age of fifteen years. They reside in colonies of about ten to twenty individuals. Each male marmot digs a burrow soon after he wakes up from hibernation. He then starts looking for females, and by summer may have up to four female mates living with him. Litters usually average three to five offspring per female.  Only about half of those pups survive and become yearlings.  Marmots have a “harem-polygynous” mating system in which the male defends two or three mates at the same time.  Female offspring tend to stay in the area around their home. Male offspring typically leave when they are yearlings and will defend one or more females.

Yellow-bellied marmots spend about 80% of their life in their burrow, 60% of which is spent hibernating.  They often spend mid-day and night in a burrow as well. These burrows are usually constructed on a slope, such as a hill, mountain, or cliff.  The hibernation burrows are can be up to 5 to 7 metres (16 to 23 ft) deep, but the burrows constructed for daily use are usually only 1 metre (3.3 ft) deep. Their hibernation period varies on elevation, but it is typically from September to May. Occasionally, they will climb trees and other flora, but they are usually terrestrial.

My experience this day with these curious critters was entertaining.   Though my efforts did not produce images of the young.  Their antics is burned into my mind.

As more time went by the adult male was less intimidated by my presence.  In fact he seemed to be playing with me a little!

The very best part was when I placed met GoPro near the den.  At first I set it a reasonable distance from the den.  Then as the big male got more familiar with it I would move it closer.  Until finally I put it on a rock next to one of the dens.  Click Here for the video of the curious dad.  When I finally got back to the trailer that night, I about laughed my head off.  They really are curious little creatures.

 Posted by at 5:10 PM
Apr 042014

Many mammals survive the harsh winters by putting on a new coat.  Thicker, warmer and at times lighter colored outerwear.  When spring arrives the same mammals shed their wither gear and often look disheveled. I ran across this Fox hunting for her meals to put some fat back on.  She has beautiful eyes but her attire is really casual friday at best.  What a beautiful animal to watch and admire.


With great backlight she takes on an artsy look.


Best of all spring often brings out the “little ones”.  It’s an event to witness these little characters.  It’s a laugh a minute.  I waited from 1-1/2 hours before sunrise until about 8:30 am before they stopped long enough to capture a couple of photo’s.  This is another one of the mornings when out enjoying photography that I will never forget!

 Posted by at 5:17 PM
Jul 102013

They are everywhere.

In abundance!

The humorous thing is to watch new visitors as they see their first Buffalo.  Not knowing that around most corners are more buffalo, the new park visitors are thrilled to see their first wild buffalo.

One could spend days on end photographing these behemoths.











 Posted by at 10:17 PM
Nov 232012

Ever tried driving in reverse, looking out the drivers window, with the camera and lens over the left arm, photographing a running Coyote?

Not me!

That would be breaking the LAW!

 Posted by at 8:05 PM
Sep 282012

I hate traffic jams.

Especially in Yellowstone!

In the old days traffic jams were mostly caused by Bear sightings.  They still are.  But fewer bears means fewer bear jams.  With the Buffalo being everywhere, form Madison, to Lamar Valley, to Hayden Valley and even at the top of Dunraven pass you’d thing they weren’t such rock stars.  But yes I sat for 15 minutes in a buffalo traffic jam until I chose to go around the cars in front of me, drive the wrong way down a narrow two lane road, and push my way through the buffalo.  Yea! me.  I had enough guts to instead of sitting and waiting for the giant, behemoth and stupid as Donkey buffalo to move I plowed through them.  Yes they are afraid of cars.  May favorite thing is as I am passing close by them in my vehicle I grab a tuft of hair.  They jump every time.  It’s hilarious.

Photographically speaking they are somewhat boring to photograph. Ok a lot boring.   Unless they have brand new calves, are rolling in the dirt or fighting they are just huge hairy numbskulls.  Kinda how I looked to my Father-in-Law the first time I picked up my then girlfriend now wife for our first date.  Explains why he shut the door.


I visualized this photograph slightly different.  As they approached me they came up from a low area with the sun behind them.  Their lighter colored fur on their backs glowed.  I knew right off this was a very difficult shot.  Black faces and highlighted fur.  Lots of contrast.  And off course all backlit.  Then it hit me.  This may look good in black and white.  The buffalo will still have silhouetted faces.  But with their large humped backs and huge muscular shapes as the subject I went for it.  Took a few frames to the exposure just right.  Never to my memory took buffalo in black and white.  I like it.

 Posted by at 8:01 PM
Sep 192012

What is the chance of getting a pic of a Mountain Lion in the wild?

Slim to none.

So we seek out places like AnimalArk in Reno.  It’s an animal sanctuary for injured or parentless animals.  A small facility.  And not very photographer friendly.  That’s not what they are there for.  They rescue animals.  My only decent shot was a Mountain Lion that was hit by a car and just happened to have an animal biologist collect the injured animal and took him in to the animal hospital.  Now a few years later the Lion is healthy and fun to watch in it’s large and natural enclosure.   In post I turned down the highlights a bit.  Then turned up the blacks a little to add a little contrast.  I was shooting through glass late in the day with glare on the glass.  I also cropped the pic about 10%

 Posted by at 8:57 PM
Jul 282012

Laughing My Butt Off…..

In Denver the Real Estate rep took me around to show me properties we are considering to buy.  We drove all over the DTC region.  One location just cracked me up!  It is a pad location in front of a retail center.  The pad for sale is on a corner.  An area of about 150′ square is unfinished.  No asphalt, concrete or landscaping.  Just dirt.  And a billzillion prairie dogs!!!!!!  I busted up when I saw all these guys in the middle of town.  At a retail center.  Home the dogs is a pad that’s for sale.  I’ll bet nobody asked the dogs if this piece of land can be sold.  I’ll bet even more that the city or DWS won’t allow any development due to these little critters.  I went back today and laughed until my gut ached.  They are hilarious!









 Posted by at 10:49 PM
Jul 142012

My most difficult subject to find and capture in pixel form.

Thursday I received a call from a gentleman that introduced himself as an attorney.  Holy Crap!  Have you ever wondered why even with a clear conscience a call from an attorney inspires fear and self doubt.  Immediately he identified himself as an attorney for my employer.  And that he had a photographic question for me.  Ok.  I hope he has about an hour.  Get me talking about photography and there is no end to my enthusiasm.   In no time I met my match.  Though I had never met him before we were soul photography mates.  He loves wildlife photography.  Ok now we really clicked.  His question revolved around a purchase decision between two long lenses by Nikon.  Anybody that knows me knows that I have an opinion about everything.  Especially photography.  Quickly I poured out my photographic souls as to why one of the two lenses was the better choice.    Then we started to talk about photography in general.  And he mentioned he shoots Owls.  My bird nemesis.  Owls avoid me like the winning lottery.  With enthusiasm he mapped out several locations where I MAY find owls.  There was a slight caveat…. he had not been to the locations for a month or two.

Let’s see Thursday morning, Antelope island was one of the locations, it was going to be a very long day waiting to get out there and check out the sites.  Went out late and was skunked.  Went out very early Friday morning and was skunked again.  Went back Friday afternoon.  At the ranch on the island a volunteer worker said they had a barn owl in the Silo at the Ranch.  Christmas!  My heart was racing.  No owl at the silo.  Only an hour earlier a group was watching it.  My money says the spooked it out.  Oh well.  I’ll keep looking.

At the island there is an opportunity to always shoot buffalo. pronghorn, birds of all kinds and other critters.  In an hours time before I had to get home I found these friends and capture them so my time there wasn’t a waste…..





 Posted by at 8:42 PM