While in Yellowstone we took a couple of short hikes up to Trout Lake – due to reports of Otter activity (including a few families) and also Grizzly sightings. While we didn’t get to see multiple otters or any bear up there, this Otter came by and posed for several shots pretty close to us. Happy Monday!
He climbed up on a nearby log and just preened for a while before retiring to his den….
Another photo of the momma fox with one of her kits. Not quite sure what is going on here but the kit sure seems to “looking into the teeth” of the situation….
I like this challenge as I am always TRYING to be aware of what is beyond my subject – either to minimize its impact or use it to accentuate the photo. Here’s a couple of examples where I think the “beyond” is at least as important as the subject.
This first one was taken in the Galapagos Islands. The focal point is the male frigate bird in the front with his red pouch all blown up to attract attention from the ladies. The picture would not be complete without his honey in the background – can’t tell whether she is happy to see him or upset that he stopped for a few brews on the way home….
The next is a photo of a statue at the FDR monument in Washington DC. Its a decent photo by itself but it wouldn’t have nearly the impact if you don’t look “beyond” to the tourist who appears to be joining the bronzed group on line …..
This last one I’ve posted before so I apologize. I thought it was good for the challenge because it really has a couple of layers of beyond. While the photographer was the focal point, I made sure that I had a wide enough depth of field to capture the two “beyond” elements – the reflection of the Bison in the pond and the Bison themselves. Probably needless to say but this was in Yellowstone National Park. Have a great weekend!
A frequent happening in Yellowstone was that if you pulled to the side in one of the turnouts on the road, other folks would also stop and ask what you were taking pictures of. Thats what happened here. I was taking photos of these bison, the mountains behind and their reflections in the lake. This very nice gentleman from Germany asked me what I was taking and I showed him one of my bison reflection photos. He liked the idea so he went down closer to the lake to take a similar photo. Just as he was getting ready, the bison formed a very nice line and started to walk away in formation. I took another picture of the bison and their reflection but I also took this one including my German friend – I think I actually like this one better than just the bison…..
I was hoping to see Moose in Yellowstone but I actually never did – at least not within the Park boundaries. I stayed two nights in a little family owned lodge called the Grizzly Lodge in the VERY little town of Silver Gate which is 1/4 mile outside the Northeast corner of the Park. When I checked in I asked one of the owners about where to see wildlife in or around the town. She said that there had been a Moose cow and its calf just across a little stream from the lodge for the last few days. I walked over there with my camera that night but of course, they were nowhere to be found. Not to be discouraged, when I got up the next morning (before breakfast) I took another quick peek over in that area and found the calf right by the stream munching on the local fauna. I grabbed my camera, went across the stream and was able to slowly get very close to the young yearling. I was very wary of the mother Moose as you NEVER want to get between a mother moose and its child! I kept a close lookout for her but I never did see her. I’m sure she was very close by but I couldn’t find her. In any case – meet the “baby”.
When I left for Yellowstone, I knew that there were Badgers there but I really didn’t expect to see one or be able to photograph one. That changed as I was driving through the Lamar Valley scanning the hillside for animals and noticed some movement in a small grass field surrounded by taller brush. I thought that it was a marmot at first but it seemed to be lower to the ground and definitely different coloring with more black. I was thrilled as I got my camera up and clearly saw that it was a Badger.
I was also a little surprised as I thought these guys were nocturnal (they are) – but there he was. By the time I got just a couple of shots, he meandered back into the long brush and was gone. As I got back in my car I was surprised to see that I had caused a small “badger jam” as at least 5 other cars had stopped and their occupants were scrambling to get cameras out focused.
It is always a thrill to not only see an animal that I haven’t seen in the wild before but also get a few decent shots in – lucky is good.
I thought I’d end our look at the Wolves with a close-up in case anyone wanted to feel like a deer being hunted 🙂 It was a real pleasure to be able to observe the wolves at close range. I think you’ll agree that these are magnificent animals.
I hadn’t included any photos from the other “mountain” pack of wolves at the center – here’s one of McKinley the Alpha Male of that pack. He is the biggest of all of the wolves at the center (at 120 lbs.)
Joseph is the last ranking wolf in the pack even though he is another gorgeous animal as can be seen in this photo.
As I said yesterday, I was at the Center during feeding time – it turns out that is not the same as an actual feeding. Let me try and explain the feeding time process. At the appointed hour, a door to a small room is opened for the wolves to enter. The key is that ALL of the wolves must enter for the door to be closed and the food to be placed out in the wolves normal environment. The food is normally elk meat and it is put in areas of the enclosure for the wolves to “hunt” and find. Sometimes the small creek that runs through their environment is stocked with fish for the wolves to catch. On the evening that I was there, Akela (the Alpha with the attitude) would not allow poor Joseph to enter the room. She was making the decision for the pack that they were not going to eat that night. After Joseph made numerous attempts to get into the room, it was obvious that “the attitude” was not going to let that happen and the room was closed to the wolves. It was really interesting then to watch as Joseph, tail between his legs, did everything he could think of to make up with the boss. There was the licking that I highlighted in the Challenge photo last week, attempts at playing, and then this gentle pawing of Akela as if to say “ah come-on….”.
Nothing seemed to work but the pack quickly went back to their normal interactions content to wait for tomorrow for another chance to eat.
This is Akela – the alpha female of the river wolf pack at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. The discovery center is a nice place to visit while you up in that area and a good place to learn about bears and wolves. I made it part of my itinerary as I love wolves but hadn’t had an opportunity to get any good wolf shots as the San Diego zoo rarely has a wolf on display. You can get a ticket to the center for $10 (which goes to the non-profit which runs the center) and it is good for two days. I went when I first arrived in West Yellowstone (just to check the place out) but the wolves were mostly sleeping at that time. I went back later that evening for the 7:00PM scheduled feeding of the River Pack and was able to get some good photos of the pack interactions.
As the caption says, Akela is the Alpha purely because of her attitude. She is the only female and the smallest of the wolves in the pack but the guides told us there is no question about who is “the boss”. I should also say that all of the wolves in this center were born in captivity – at a facility who raises and provides wolves to the movies and TV. The four wolves in this pack were all bought to the center as youngsters. They also told us that it was very easy to distinguish between wolves born in captivity vs being captured later on – the wolves born in the wild never get used to the fences and they pace the fence lines constantly looking for a way out. The wolves born in captivity always seem much better adjusted and happy. While the habitat that these wolves inhabit is not overly large, they did seem to be happy as they played and interacted together.
One of my hopes in going to Yellowstone was to be one of the lucky few to see a wolf in the wild. I had seen wolves before (in Alaska) but had yet to take a good photo of one. My fallback was going to be a visit to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. As it turns out, on my last day in the park I got up early (about 5 am) and went out into the Lamar Valley. I was intending to find a yellow SUV that locals had told me was a guy who tracks wolves (by their radio collars) for the park every day. I got out there took a few pictures of other things and had stopped by some folks with huge spotting scopes to see what they were looking at. At that moment a car pulled up and let us know that there was a wolf sighting just off the road a couple of hundred yards away. Needless to say, I bolted to where the crowd was starting to gather and got to see a wolf cross a grassy field. I got a few shots but mostly wolf rear ends and wolf parts obscured by grass. Just when I thought that wolf was gone, a second wolf started to run across the same area. Again, not a lot of great photos but I did manage to get this shot of the wolf highlighted against the morning sun in the grass.
We actually saw three wolves in that pack that morning but many of the views were in deep shadows, obscured by the terrain and foliage, or very far away. In spite of all that, it was exciting to see them. When the “wolf tracker” showed up in the crowd, he told us this was a pack that lived in a den just down the road from where we were and that the ones we saw were two adults (with radio collars) and a yearling that hadn’t been collared yet.
I hope you liked this wild shot (I believe this was the yearling). The other wolf photos I’ll post this week are from the discovery center but I hope you’ll be interested in some of the things that I learned there. Have a great Monday!