My first full day in Yellowstone dawned gray, misty and freezing cold. Actually, it was way below freezing, namely -7 when I awoke, warming to 9 degrees F at 3:00 PM. The first day on site anywhere I travel is always an adjustment day, including deciding what lenses to bring, how to arrange everything in the car for quick access, debugging equipment that is resistant in below zero temps, and how best to dress while still being able to manipulate those teeny camera controls.
In winter there is only one road open to cars and that is the north entrance to the northeast entrance. Miserable as the day’s weather was we were able to spot herds of bison, elk and mule deer, a lone moose, three wolves, and two coyotes.
The most fun was photographing the coyote, despite his distance. He was at the far range of how I like to shoot my Nikkor 200-400mm lens, which is not to say I didn’t try. What attracted me in the first place was the fact that he was hunting meadow voles and burying his face deep in the snow to sniff them out. Here’s a quick capture of him. Not a quality image, but it was late in the afternoon and I had a touch of altitude sickness all day, meaning I was shooting through a throbbing headache. But, then again, you’ve heard me say many times before that I never judge an outing solely by the images I bring back. For me, just being out there in this beautiful, natural world is reward enough.
Tomorrow I’m looking at the potential for better weather, although things shift fast up here at 6,200-8,500 feet. I’d like to get a few good bison images, as well as some landscapes. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, stay warm… for me.