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A Good Day with the Bison

Yesterday we had a very stormy day with snow and wind all day long. The wind kept most critters down but it doesn’t seem to affect the Bison, heck the kids were even playing a bit. The morning consisted of this lovely stormy weather that really captures the true feeling of Yellowstone in winter. The Bison were moving along the river to the more enclosed forest nearby. We watched by the side of the van as the Bison charged ahead through the head wind. Focusing became a problem during this shoot as it has been anytime there is a snow storm. The snow coming down between us and the Bison caused the auto focus to go back and forth making it difficult to lock on. The solution came down to manually focusing most of the time.

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The morning proved to be a bit challenging as it normally does with low light situations, however the evening proved to be much nicer. The skies cleared up a little bit and we had patches of sun come through to bring out the detail on the Bison. One of the great things about the snow is it acts like a giant reflector, so any light coming down on the snow will bounce up into the Bison making every hair on that individual stand out.

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When working with groups it’s best to single out individuals or to find dynamic compositions between them all. For instance the one above the cow on the left is the subject but you can tell she’s in a herd with the other three. The space in between them all is what makes them appear as individual animals instead of one giant clump. Giant clumps without definition just don’t work. If our eyes can’t latch on to anything in the image than our minds just skip right over it. We want anyone that looks at an image to be grabbed by it so that they can become inspired and continue to look. Group shots are the hardest to achieve because there are so many critters to work with.

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Images captured with Nikon D3, 600mm f4, TC-17eII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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