Oct 032010

This last trip at Yellowstone was a little different.

This article may explain a lot of what was experienced….

Yellowstone Wolves Teach Nature Knows Best

More than half of the third day photographing the “wild” at Yellowstone was spent with a Coyote.  Way off the beaten path.  He was hunting.  I was following.  Needed that perfect exposure.  Perfect background.  And perfect execution by the Coyote.  As one hour turned to two and soon four I was almost out of memory in my CF card.  A total of 98 GB had been burned…….

Then the shot was there.  It was late.  The ISO was turned up to almost 8000 (did that a few times this trip with great results..stay tuned).  Zing, Zing, Zing, Zing…four shots.  Literally the last four of that outing!

Coyote hunt1

Coyote Jump2

Coyote Jump3

Coyote Jump 4

I couldn’t resist the layer blend!!!!

Coyote Jump Pano

 Posted by at 9:30 PM
Oct 032010

From the house you can hear GUNFIRE!!!!!

Shotgun fire can be heard from my house again.  It’s waterfowl hunting season again.  The time when the wild fowl’s lives are in jeopardy.  I don’t keep track of what is in season to be killed….swan, pheasant, duck, geese?  All I know is that everyone that gets carried out in a bags has NO chance of being photographed.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am not jumping up and down angry at hunters.  No.  If it wasn’t for them there would probably not be as many places to photograph waterfowl near my home.  But it’s like this….

When leaving today after photographing a beautiful Western Grebe family the DNR agent stopped me near the gate.

“what did you pick up today?”

He asked referencing what fowl had I shot and was taking home for some reason.

“I shot a grebe family over and over and left them there for others to enjoy”

I said while pointing at my not so tiny lens sitting on the console.


He replied with a huge grin.

This Western Grebe family consisted of two “youngerlings” and a parent.   I watched as the parent would dive and bring up fish for the kids.  Pretty dang cool morning I would say.  Even if I felt like I was in the middle of a war zone!

Western Grebeborder7

 Posted by at 9:00 PM
Oct 012010

Hayden Valley has some good little hikes.

It’s dry to the west of the main road.  Lots of sage brush.  Probably lots of critters that like dry summer climates are out here.  Mice, snakes, bugs, buffalo, coyote, etc.etc.

Out for a daily walk.  In west Hayden Valley.  About a quarter mile from the road I had the living “heeby jeebys” scared out of me.  Always on  the look out for bears.  In Hayden you can seen far (at least where i go). All of a sudden about 200′ ahead, in the sage brush a Great Blue Heron POPS it’s head up.  Bout wet my pants!  What the heck is a Blue Heron doing out here in the sage brush?

Great Blue Heron Sage head up

Seriously my first thought was that it was a King Cobra or the like!  I froze.  Then he lowered his head slowly.  I very carefully brought out my 600 lens.  Handheld!!!!!  I really wanted a shot.  I Inched forward.  Then looked up again!

Blue heron sage4

What the heck? A bird I have always seen “IN” water.  Fishing.  No fish out here!!!!!!  Really weird.  I guess I have some homework to do.  Why are you out here?

Great Blue Heron Sage head turn border

The lens was soon too heavy to hold.  As I put it back in my backpack the Heron flew off.  I watched through my binoculars.  After a brisk walk and short drive I found the Heron on the Yellowstone River.  More common surroundings…..I hope!

Great Blue Heron on river

 Posted by at 5:55 PM
Sep 302010

Another family portrait.

I am not sure when the Pronghorn (antelope) are in RUT.   But what was going on in my presence looked just  like the ELK rut.

The second fastest land animal.  Another beautiful critter to enjoy in the wild!

Antelope mom and kid

Antelope chase border

antelope buck run border

 Posted by at 9:23 PM
Sep 292010

I have chased this bird for years.

The Cormorant!

I live near a very large bird refuge.  The Cormorant frequents the refuge.  But hates to be photographed.  Not sure if they have keen sight and hearing. Even my blind has not allowed a descent shot of the Cormorant. Until last week. Hundreds of miles from home. In Yellowstone.

Great Black Cormorant border

Pretty simple color. Simple bird. Funny poses….

Great Black Cormorant bow

Like most all birds it is beautiful in flight….

cormorant start fly

It was a test for me and my new lens.  Man was I happy with the outcome.  Low light.  High ISO.  look at the detail!   I am very happy!

Great Black Cormorant borderfly

 Posted by at 5:50 PM
Sep 282010

I thought I had seen it all.

All cameras are aimed at the Bull Elk.  They are performing.  By myself just off the Madison River and near the Fire Hole River I witnessed a first for me.  The Cow Elk having a “cat fight”.  Really………

Cow Elk Fight border

These two ladies stood on their hind legs and proceeded to slap each other.  Incredible. I was so shocked I almost missed the shot.  The cows have always proven to be a great mother to the calves.

Cow elk love calf border

Last spring I witnessed wolves tracking and “collecting” an elk calf.  In the process the cow fought until there was no obvious way to save the calf.  She injured one of the wolves.  The battle went on for about an hour.  Even when the calf was mostly ingested she was still attacking the wolves.  There is amazing interaction between the calves and cows.

Yellowstone Bobcat Profile

This day my camera caught on several occasions the calves and cows looking up.  Smelling?  No planes above.  Not sure.

calf praying

cow prayer

Maybe just wishing they could escape from this BIG pain in the ………….neck?

bull sniff cow b&W border

 Posted by at 11:26 PM
Sep 272010

Elk do the craziest things!

Elk love is in the air – Kinda.

September is when we pack in the park to hear and see the Elk during the rut.  What a show.  Do the cow elk care?  Not much.  Holy cow (or elk in this case)?  The bull’s are crazy in love.  Their whole life revolves around the “act” with the cow for weeks.

Bullandcow border

Little food.  A lot of running.  Fighting other bulls.  During the rut the bull loses a ton of weight. Past years I have focused on the extreme actions.  This year I was moved by the appearance of being tired.  Exhausted.  Yet getting up and going at it.  A later post will show a video taken with my D3s that shows how extreme their actions are.  I need to figure out how to get the video from CF card to the blog.

The majesty of these animals always blows me away.  This year it was very difficult to find the bull and his girls.  Found a wonderful area up from the Madison near and on the Fire Hole river.  I witnessed something I have never seen before…..post to come.

It was late in the day.  Perfect light.

elk headshot at sun

Photography is all about the light.  Elk are a little more of a challenge to shoot in this type of direct light.  There is great risk of great contrast.  Especially when posting to the web.   In person it was incredible.  It was if the bull was posing for me.

Bull Elk in Stream

This experience is almost spiritual.  We have a lot in common with the actions of the Bull.   Being a witness for several hours (a snippet) of a bulls day shows me their passion for their life progression.  Sure it’s instinct.  But do we not have the very same instinct, even with our “greater” intelligence.  The basic instinct to progress our lineage is common with the Elk and Man.

The bull feels the passion.  Desires the passion.  And exemplifies the very term “passion”.  To the point of literal exhaustion………….

ull elk head back morningfilter

 Posted by at 9:37 PM
Sep 262010

I am Home.

It’s good to be home.

Yellowstone always creates memories.  Fortunately pixels recorded all of it.  Yesterday was spent walking up the Madison River then trekking the Fire Hole River.  Several hours.  Some sitting on fallen trees listening to all the sounds of Yellowstone.  Witnessed something that I have never seen seen before.  Probably few have in person.  Alone with the beauty.  A camera, water, and a snack.  My last day taking in as much as possible.

Tree Fall clors border

I go for the wildlife.  And dream of the beauty, quiet and peace.    There just can’t be another place on earth like it.  A national treasure.

mammoth scenic border

Could be called “Coyote Week”.  At least three to four times a day the Coyote and I crossed.  Finally got “that” shot.   It took 7-8 years and one half of a day to get. And always surrounded by colors.


Up before the sun and back to the trailer in the dark.  Not long days.  In fact too short of days.

yellow tree

Part of Yellowstone’s history and future is fires.  A lightning strike started a fire that closed the easiest route from Canyon to Tower and Lamar Valley.   More scenery to be changed.

burned trees

My age and trips to the park have allowed me to witness the effects of fire after 20 years…….but the monument to the fire is still there…….

Holmes mnt border

Back to work tomorrow.  It may take a day or two to get focused.  The mind is clear.   The memory is vivid.   I will always remember the red tail hawk, the coyote, the moose, the elk, the geese, merganser, swan, camp robber, mice, and antelope and ducks, and bears and grizzlies, and…………..

 Posted by at 10:30 PM