April 11, 2012

Yellowstone, March 30 - April 1, 2012

A grizzly wonders along a hillside near Silver Gate, Montana. Captured with a Canon 7D and 500/4.0L IS in aperture priority mode with an exposure bias of + 1 at ISO400, f/7.1, and 1/500th of a second. The camera was resting on a beanbag.


Spring has sprung...or it's trying to at least. The bears are out, wolves are still running around and things are greening up. After a crazy month of March I had only two days remaining to make a trip to Yellowstone.

Friday was pretty much a bust, but it was a great day to get in some hiking and camping. Saturday brought with it nice soft light and after some searching and plenty of miles hiked I happened upon a grizzly bear just outside of the park near Silver Gate, MT. I spent much of the afternoon playing with my new 5D III and a very cooperative grizzly bear, I left before the bear did. It was then time for a nap, I awoke from my nap to clouds racing overhead...it was beautiful, I should have shot a timelapse of it, but I decided that I could be the only one to enjoy it (sorry).

As I returned to camp I came across a gentleman who was watching a fox nestled into the rocks. He did not find the fox, but the foxes finder had given up watching. I spent the rest of the daylight with the fox as it napped, stretched, yawned and then repeated the process. The scene was interesting and the weather was beautiful, so I was happy to sit and watch for the entire remainder of the day.

After a great night sleep I was off for another day to see what I could find to photograph in the Park. I stopped at the Lamar Canyon great horned owls nest to snap a photo for the record. The nest is so far away and inaccessible, so I am okay encouraging people to bring their spotting scope and watching from across the canyon :)

I decided to hike up above Tower Falls again to see if I could find a bear or two, but had no luck. Making my way out to check on the Silver Gate Grizzly the wolf wathcers had some dots way to the South...I decided to move on. No luck in Silver Gate, so I made my way back through Lamar Valley and through to Specimen Ridge where a couple had just heard some howling to the North while others had seen three wolves to the South.

I picked a spot and started to wait and watch. The usual wolf crowds built up to the East and West of me, but I was left alone. All of the sudden a grey wolf made its way about 50m away from me he ran at first then slowed to a walk as he crossed the road and made his way up the hill to the South...now other cars came racing down to the pullout I was in. About that time wolf 471F (or so I was told later) came out on a ridge about 100m away from me and started howling. She spent the next 10-15 minutes pacing and howling, part of me is convinced that she would have crossed had I not been joined by others, and had a few people not decided to park on the road. There was nothing I could do about it, so I kept shooting the beautiful collared wolf as she howled. After a while she made her way to the West where she crossed the road just out of site from the masses.

I decided to hike up to Tower Falls again, still no luck with bears, but I did find a ruffed grouse foraging in the grass. After spending some time with the grouse I decided it was time to head back to Billings after a quick final lap through the park. Things were slow so I started my drive back to Billings, but with my new truck I decided to take the old Yellowstone trail all the way back to Tom Miner Road...first time and it was a blast.

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

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