you have good eyes

Animal Sighting!

Black Bear

Animals!!  I thought this would be a great way to kick off the photos from my Yellowstone trip from last August.  Yes, there was nothing more exciting than having an opportunity to see wildlife in their natural element.  There were many creatures all over Yellowstone park. You always had to be ready, because it could happen at any time.  At our cabin in Canyon Village, a buffalo decided to rest in front of a neighboring cabin essentially trapping the tourist inside.  If you don’t know anything about buffalo, well, that tourist had to wait it out until the buffalo was ready to move on.  Things just happen at a different pace in the park.  If an animal crosses the street, well, you just have to wait for them to pass.

This was a challenge as a part of me just always wanted to get the best possible shot, and another part of me wanted to experience animals from a distance as an observer.  Luckily, I took the plunge and acquired a telephoto zoom lens (70-200mm and rented a 1.4 teleconverter.)  This was my first time using the teleconverter with a zoom lens and I do have to say it was worth it for many situations.  It gave that extra reach I needed in some cases.  The only downfall was a loss of 1 F Stop and noticeably more shaky when handheld after a lot of shooting.  (It gets heavy with a big camera, 3.3 pound lens + teleconverter).  Not to mention the pack on my back.  Thankfully, Dorothee was gracious enough to carry my pack in the afternoon after a long hours of hiking and shooting.  In the end, while it was tough to carry heavier equipment, I think it was all worth it when you get to look back on what was captured in imagery.

The black bear in the image above was shot on a hillside  from a trail below.  It was on one of the shorter trails on the way to Fairy Falls.  In this case, the animal sighting stole the show and we and may other hikers were not very interested in the water fall, but totally enamored with the bear sighting.  The black bear was minding his own business, foraging in mid afternoon.  This was a good thing because as much as we all want to see a bear up close, it is good when he keeps his distance.

1/160 sec, f/4, ISO 500, 280mm (Nikon D300, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1.4x teleconverter)

Towards the end of our week in Yellowstone, we scheduled a morning horseback ride.  On the way to the stables, there were many cars pulled to the side of the road.  This could only mean one thing in Yellowstone…animal sighting!!  When I snapped this pick, I was able to jump on a large rock to get a higher vantage point, not far from the road. This was more important than you may think because the long grass often obscured a clear view.  This elk and one other we eating quietly in the warm morning light.

Looking back, we were very lucky with all of the animal sighting we encountered on our week long visit to Yellowstone.  (Which I might add, felt like only scratching the surface on the potential of hiking trips.  I will go into more detail on a hiking blog post, because there is a whole region of the park that is only accessible by 2-4 day hikes.  Next trip…)  So, for the week that we did stay in Yellowstone, we had 3 bear sightings, deer, elk, bison, a pair of marmots, squirrels, chipmunks, a fox, hawks, among many others.  Below are a few more shots, and please visit my flickr photostream jayaxe04 that will be updated bi-weekly if not daily with new shots from the Yellowstone trip. Enjoy!

1/250 sec, f/4, ISO 320, 280mm (Nikon D300, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1.4x teleconverter)

Marmot, sighting near Old Faithful Geyser

1/250 sec, f/8, ISO 800, 280mm (Nikon D300, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1.4x teleconverter)

1/1000 sec, f/4, ISO 640, 100mm (Nikon D300, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1.4x teleconverter)

Grabbed this shot from the car during a traffic jam…due to the buffalo migrating around.

1/6400 sec, f/4, ISO 200, 280mm (Nikon D300, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1.4x teleconverter)

Hawk, soaring around thermal geysers

1/200 sec, f/4, ISO 640, 280mm (Nikon D300, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1.4x teleconverter)

Elk, grazing in the morning

1/800 sec, f/4, ISO 320, 280mm (Nikon D300, 70-200mm f/2.8, 1.4x teleconverter)

Not sure if this is “Chip” or “Dale?”  …en Francais “Tic” or “Tac?”

Don’t forget to swing by my flickr photostream jayaxe04 to check for more frequent updates!!


4 responses

  1. Jackson

    I love yellowstone. I would get the chipmunks and marmots up real close with food, and got a marmot to dance in a circle while Chinese tourists took pictures. It was funny.

    September 27, 2010 at 9:13 am

    • You are definitely right about that. I can even recollect a few times when tourists were photographing me when I was shooting…then again, I have been caught doing the same thing. Ha,ha.

      October 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm

  2. Lizzie

    Hey Jay- Great work! The colors & lighting of your Yellowstone pictures are so striking. I’m really drawn to how natural & raw they turned out. I also enjoy the depth of field in several of the shots. Looking forward to seeing more pictures added to your site!

    September 27, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    • Thanks Bean! I know I have some more chipmunk shots that are pretty good. I’ll post em on a rainy day…

      October 4, 2010 at 2:19 pm

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