Sunday, June 10, 2012

Day 4: 2012 MPEG Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP Groupshoot

Where do I begin?

First, the weather was BEAUTIFUL all day, sun, etc. despite the forecast of cloudy and rain all day. Sunday's forecast is what today was supposed to be.... so who knows.. we just go out and shoot.

We started out at 5:40am for Swan Lake Flats in hopes of finding Quad Grizz Mom there and her 2 cubs. We arrived at 6:35 am and found not only quad mom and her cubs but 75-100 other photographers! It was a zoo.

The bears were rooting for roots to eat and moved closer to us. I backed off to my car as they were 40-50 yards away. About that time a ranger showed up and instructed everyone to get into their cars.

The bears moved closer and ended up in the pull out with the cars! One cub scratched his back on a sign pole and then placed her front paws on the hood of a car looking at the photographer inside.... at which time the ranger blew a whistle which caused the bears to disperse 50-75 yards away.

Grizz mom rooted as the cubs wrestled with each other over a stick they found. I was using a full frame camera and got full frame bears, they were that close. The two cubs playing was a joy to see. A heavy fog developed quickly which made photography impossible but the fog eventually lifted for clear images again.

The bears eventually crossed the road and fled to the woods around 8:30am, so we had about two hours with them! Great stuff!

We moved on to Mammoth then to Tower/Roosevelt. Not much. We went on to Lamar and found two black wolves wondering around Specimen Ridge area. We followed them as they came upon a bison herd. Before they every got close the whole herd was looking in the wolves' direction. The adult bison surrounded the bison calves (the calves being inside the circle) as 3 bull bison stood together, walking towards and looking at the wolves as if to say, "come on, we are ready to fight"...

The wolves did the math and figured 2 against these guys wouldn't work well so the slithered off north and out of sight.

This was really amazing to witness. Except for National Geographic films, I have never seen this before live. Really special to see.

We moved on to Lamar and saw a grey wolf cross the road ahead of us and up the hill with a zillion people watching.

Lamar Valley has a TON of bison and calves this year. Lamar is THE place for action. It seems always something going on there.

We left there and went to Canyon for lunch then over to Hayden Valley (no action), Fishing Bridge then all the day to east entrance and back. We had sun,wind, rain, snow and sleet on that trip! We saw a cow moose but she was back in the woods. We did find two bull elk in velvet by Mary Bay. No action alone Mary or Sledge Bay.

The MPEGers following us departed for the hotel but Jared and I decided to make another Lamar Valley run. We had a black bear jam and a big horn sheep jam along the way.

We got to the Hitching Post pull out about 2 hrs before sunset and I was speaking to some other photographer's there (with my 500 mm lens in my hand as I was about to set up) when another golden eagle (see blog pic) come flying around the same area as the day before . With about 1-2 seconds to react, I took 10 images, handheld and hoped for the best. 3 out of 10 images were decent. It was over in a blink of an eye.

I was told today that there is a pair of golden eagles nesting in the rock cliffs by the pullout (we saw both yesterday soaring) and I guess this is one of the pair. I like the image but i want more! We plan to spend a lot of time in Lamar Valley Sunday and Monday early for more golden eagle and wolf photo ops.

Dane reported photographing a black bear and a pronghorn mom give birth to two fawns.
George found a nice osprey nest. Marty and Linda to some grizzly and black bear sow and cub images on Saturday.

Jared and I got into the hotel at 10:10pm after a LONG day in the Park.

Let's see what Day 5 brings......

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