April 18, 2011

Yellowstone, April 16th - 18th

A boar grizzly bear eats at a winter kill carcass near Old Faithful on a cloudy April morning. With staggering amounts of winter snow fall there were over five winter kills within 50 yards of that carcass. Shot with a Canon 7D with a 500/4.0L IS set in manual mode set at f/5.0, 1/500th of a second, and ISO400. Shot from a Gitzo 3540XLS with an Induro GHB2 gimbal head and custom long lens support.


For those of you who follow along with my trips on Facebook and Twitter you know all of this, and even got to see some of it live (thanks to my Verizon iPhone).

Typically I do not expect to come home with great images from my April trip to Yellowstone, I often choose to focus on calving bison; but with all of the snow they are doing all they can to delay the inevitable. The benefactors from all of the snow are the wolves, bears, and coyotes; with all of the snow they are still having a hay day. Saturday I spent a few hours with a grizzly bear, named "Bison Killer," near Old Faithful as I enjoyed my first 2011 trip to the park's interior. Then on Sunday I had the privilege of seeing the Lamar Canyon, Agate, and Canyon wolf packs all before 9:10am, and then I got to watch the alpha male of the Canyon Pack chase down a small group of elk, and make a kill behind some trees, around the same time the pack's alpha female made another kill a few hundred yards above, it became time to feast for the pack. Many of you know that the alpha female of the pack is a beautiful "white" wolf, and she is very pregnant right now. The distance proved too great to shoot images without seeing the ill effect of atmospheric distortion; but I was able to pull one image of her out.

Today I spent the morning trying to hunt down some wolves; but I ended up only shooting Killdeer. It was snowing hard this morning; but it let off around sunrise, as I drove home I was greeted by heavy snow, and now the snow is piling up in Billings 2'-4' by tomorrow morning.

The weather was cloudy with a some snow and/or rain falling throughout much of each day. High temperatures are getting near 50° and lows are still falling below freezing at night (around 28° or so). I camped both nights, and thought that it was lovely.

The birds are back to Yellowstone (or still there): Osprey, Great Blue Heron, Merlin, Lincoln's Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Killdeer, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Sandhill Crane, Trumpeter Swan, Canada Goose, American Mallard, Common Goldeneye, Barrow's Goldeneye, American Dipper, American Robin, Northern Flicker, Mountain Bluebird, Clarks Nutcracker, Magpie, Turkey Vulture, Crow, Raven, Grey-crowned Rosy Finch, and I think I spotted some Brown Headed Cowbirds. (I am sure I am forgetting some of my sightings)

Make the jump to go through the online gallery, I ask that you leave comments/criticism or at least give your favorites a thumbs up... THANKS!

If you have questions, ask... I published the camera information with each image and have added full keywords to share just about anything you would want to know about the images.

Happy shooting, and remember May is just around the corner.

p.s. I have some video footage that still needs editing, it might take me a while to find time to edit it though :(

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