May 6, 2011

Yellowstone April 30th - May 2nd

A female Three-toed Woodpecker does what woodpeckers do just before sunset in the Roosevelt Junction area on the last day of April. I had the privlage of spending a few hours with him while he consumed all of the green grass that he could find. Captured with a Canon 7D with 500/4.0L IS in aperture priority mode set to +2/3 at ISO400, f/4.0, and 1/200th of a second. The camera was mounted on a Gitzo 3540XLS and Induro GHB2 gimbal head with 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).

I love to make a trip in the first few days of May. It is typically a reunion of many of my "Yellowstone Friends." There is a good group of "regulars" who always find their way to the park by the start of May, and we have a few weeks where it seems that the park is still not crowded; but full of friends. The activity levels are not at their summer high; but still provide ample good shooting, and chances for "luck" to show its face. When that fails we can fill the hours with great conversations about gear, other trips, and the blessings of years past. It really is a great time in Yellowstone.

This year it was colder and there was much more snow than years past; but we all know how to put a hat and gloves on and make-due.

I feel a little bad about how picky I am starting to get. I had a few different chances to photograph Grizzly Bears; but did not take a single shot. I had my excuses... too much atmospheric distortion, too sunny, etc. (I had the same issue with Wolves; but they were a bit too far for my liking, and I did not get lucky enough to get a road crossing).

I camped in the park once again and each night it got down into the high teens or twenties; but during the days it got into the 40s/50s/61. On the trip Mother Nature gave us wind, rain, snow, and clear blue sky.

For those that do not know... there is still lots of snow, and it keeps snowing more; but spring and summer will happen eventually. Things are ready to green up, and for most of us photographers it cannot happen soon enough.

The image descriptions tell the story fairly well; but I'll add a few details: (p.s. I added images discription to about a dozen images in the gallery)
  • I was photographing a few Sage Thrashers when an American Badger popped out and put on a little show, the sun and atmospheric conditions made the distortion bad (even at 50 meters).
  • I found another badger while I was looking for the Lamar Canyon Pack; but unfortunately the den is in a "Wolf Management Area."
  • I spent lots of time photographing birds, sorry if you don't like them, I enjoy the images and really enjoy the time spent photographing birds.
  • I made the mostly snow covered walk up to Tower Fall (I have put a "S" on its name for far too long). There are lots of fallen rocks on the road and two fairly major slides (one is pictured below). I will be surprised if the park is able to get the road open on time, as it appears that the road was actually damaged by the slides.
  • While hopping to catch Wolves coming back to the "China Garden" kill I was fortunate to get lots of Osprey in flight shots.
  • Two Wolves did come in to the carcass about 2 hours after sunset, I was on my way to get gas and stopped to watch (it was DARK).
  • Birds of all kinds are back in the park, and the Great Horned Owl, appears to be on her usual "Mammoth" nest. (I'll share this nest and the "Tower Fall" Osprey nest, because they are beyond common knowledge already).
  • I filled each day with great conversations with friends.

Monday I am back to the park for a while again, so hopefully I'll have more images to share from May in Yellowstone.

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, MAY IS HERE :)

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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