Sunday, February 8, 2015

Yellowstone 2015

 This is the second winter trip to the white Serengeti of North America.  It was not much different than last year other than the temperatures were milder and had no need to use my electrically heated shoe liners.  And as last year, the elusive wolves were seldom seen but the wolf followers were there and photographers were not as numerous.  It appears from the wolf watchers that the wolf packs are undergoing territorial battles and their numbers reduced.  Their cousins the coyotes were there feeding on the carcasses killed by the wolves.

 The elks were very cooperative and decide to take a closer look at me.  Large males appear to have the habit to lying down in a hill by the road to watch the tourists go by while chewing the curd.  At this time of the year, mature elks hang around by themselves.  One freezing day, a male was just resting and when it exhaled, the water vapor will instantly freeze and fall on its snout and to the sides.  I waited for another to stand up from his rest, when he did he came straight, fell as I was being tasted… but deviated to one side keeping an eye on me.  Then you realize how big animals really are.

 Another one that I had been has bad as the wolves to get a good image were the pronghorn antelopes.  But year I saw a herd near the road and I stopped, and expected they ran away.  Anyway I decided to set up the camera gear and waited.  I was lucky, as they were grazing they moved back and seem to ignore me.  Incredible they got so close that I could not focus on them, that is about 12 feet. They just walked by and continued their grazing; another photo op of a lifetime.

 And not be forgotten, the bison are the most numerous and fully habituated to people.  They just don’t car to have all around.  It is hard to improve in some of the photos I took last year but here are a couple of examples.  The Bighorn Sheep were at the same location as last year’s jumping around rocks.

 During the winter the only area open to drive is the Lamar road by entering from the northwest corner at of the park at Gardiner, and then you can drive to Cook City from where there is no other outlet during the winter.  Cook City has more snow since it is at a higher altitude and is a snowmobiler’s paradise.  There are a few eateries, of which the Bistro has been the favorite, but this year, it was open only sporadically, the Soda Butte restaurant became the regular place; their Reuben Sandwiches were great.

 Will I return to Yellowstone next year?  Only if I get a 100% assurance that I will get decent images of wolves…somebody will have to lie to me.  So I leave Yellowstone with to weird images.  The first one I call the Eye of the Soda Butte Creek and then the one of the snowman of the woods.


Marlis said...

Hola Jose, que lindas fotos como siempre y la historia muy interesante, me encantó tu post, un abrazo y muchos cariños Marlis

Unknown said...

Gracias por visitar mi blog. Y el libro?

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

This is not the way it is done. :)

Predators and other animals are like that, when one population becomes less, another steps in to take its place.

Electric sole liners? My goodness, what next? Electric toilet seats? LOL!!

Ah, at last you have learnt the secret of taking shots of animals, become part of the scenery, and they come close up.

But of course you will go back there next year and the one after. :)

Love the post and the pictures Jose especially those of the bison which I so seldom see.

A great post as always.