March 6, 2012

Yellowstone, February 26-28, 2012

Light plays across drifting snow above the Blacktail Lakes in Yellowstone National Park. Captured with a Canon 5D II and 70-200/2.8L IS II in aperture priority mode with an exposure bias of + 1/3 at ISO200, f/11, and 1/640th of a second. The camera was handheld.


On my way to the park clouds were heavy, but small beams of light were breaking through and illuminating the snow covered peaks to the North of Yellowstone National Park. I had to stop and shoot for a while, even if I got strange looks from everyone driving past. The drive in to/through the park was uneventful, so when I got to the far end of the park I decided that it was time for a midday ski trip. I decided that I should cruse along the water and try to take some photos of the ice/rock/snow/water. The snow pack this year is incredibly dangerous, so anywhere that there is some steep terrain you need to really check out for avalanche danger. I kicked off a few cornices that brought down slides with them, always intentionally, and always to clear it for the trail that I wanted to continue on, safely.

The clouds continued to play around the sky and as the light broke through to the right scene it was incredible. Levels of dark and light on snow covered mountains and tree.

The park was full of Coyotes, but only a few of them really wanted to pose.

The recent snow fall and strong winds made some great scenes and I had no choice but to take my camera in hand and play with the light on perfectly clean slate.

The next morning I made it to Lamar in time to wait for the "Wolf Project" to reopen the road so we could see the the Lamar Canyon Pack celebrate sunrise on a snowy morning. As the pack made their way up the hill, away from us, I decided to head back the other way where the Blacktail Pack had just crossed the road, leaving a five year old male behind. The lone black male started to howl at the rest of his family as snow continued to fall.

When the crowds (about 15 people) showed up I decided to head to a place where I had seen a few Bighorn Rams the day before. I found the largest ram resting well above the river. We spent a half hour relaxing shaded from the snow and wind, until a group of Bison moved through scaring him a bit. He decided it was time to graze and I went back to taking pictures as he fed above the Yellowstone River.

I got a call from my students who decided that we should head out on our time-lapse trip a day early, so I needed to start my drive home. On my way out of the park I stopped to photograph a Coyote who was darting back and forth before across the road, directly in front of cars.

The next day I was off to Pictograph Canyon for a time-lapse project with three students, and while I was there I learned that the Canyon Pack made a kill right in Gardiner Canyon (as I had predicted the day before).

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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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