Showing posts with label Wyoming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wyoming. Show all posts

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Overcast pronghorn portraits, Yellowstone National Park

Photograph of an alert pronghorn at the edge of the forest in Yellowstone National Park

During our 2011 road trip through Yellowstone National Park, we spent plenty of time driving the loop roads looking for wildlife. On this particular afternoon, some nice high-level clouds moved in and provided lovely diffuse overcast light during what would otherwise generally be a non-photographic time for me (~2pm in the afternoon). It provided a great opportunity for a chance encounter with a pair of pronghorn close to the road near the Lamar Valley.

Photograph of a curious pronghorn glancing to the side in Yellowstone

I really liked this setting for these portraits with the edge of the evergreen forest in the background. Most of my photographic opportunities with pronghorn came in more traditional prairie grasslands, so it was awesome to have a chance to diversify the setting with this series. This pronghorn hung around for a while and was kind enough to pose for a series of portraits as it observed the gathering crowd.

Photograph of a pronghorn watching a gathering crowd in Yellowstone National Park

View more of my pronghorn photography.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bull moose in the forest, Grand Teton National Park

Bull moose in the forest in Grand Teton National Park

Perhaps even more than wanting to photograph pronghorn on our 2011 road trip, I really wanted to have a chance to add some moose to my galleries -- and Grand Teton National Park did not disappoint! Each of our three mornings in the park were spent searching for moose in the sagebrush before they moved into the forest in the early morning. The Gros Ventre River corridor was a hotspot, leading so some very memorable morning encounters.

View more of my photographs of moose in Grand Teton National Park.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Herd of pronghorn at sunset, Grand Teton National Park

Photograph of a small herd of pronghorn at sunset in Grand Teton National Park

On our 2011 road trip through Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, the chance to photograph pronghorn was high on my wish list. I've long been fascinated by this species, and on our first evening in the park, we were treated to some up-close visuals right along the side of the road. The light was fading fast, so I barely managed any reasonably sharp frames, but it was a really special encounter so see this herd up close. We would see pronghorn in Grand Teton National Park only a few more times in our 3 days there and always at a far distance. Though we were treated to some very nice breakfast encounters with a small herd of pronghorn each morning as we drove through the Gardiner entrance to Yellowstone throughout the next week.

View more of my pronghorn photography.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bison on the prairie at sunset, Grand Teton National Park

Photograph of a bison on the prairie at sunset in Grand Teton National Park

I'm changing things up a bit for this post and delving into the archives. I was recently thinking about the awesome trip we had through Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in 2011, and I recalled that there were still some images I had marked to process but never did. One such memorable experience in Grand Teton National Park was watching a herd of bison grazing on the prairie while the sun set behind the mountains. It was so impressive to see the large bison herds, but these two images of a solitary bison feeding on the expansive prairie captured the serenity of the sunset scene.

Photograph of a bison on the range in Grand Teton National Park

View more of my photographs of bison.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Moose stepping into the light, Grand Teton National Park

A bull moose steps out of the shadows and into the light

After watching this large bull moose move through the harsh lighting of a late-morning forest, he stepped out into a small clearing near the Gros Ventre River in Grand Teton National Park. It was hard to balance the light and shadows while he was among the trees, but for a brief instant his whole head, including those newly cleaned antlers, was in the light.

View more photos of moose in my Moose Gallery.

Friday, January 20, 2012

American badger, Yellowstone National Park

American badger in Yellowstone National Park

On the final day of our trip to Yellowstone National Park, we decided to take one last morning drive across the northern roads of the park and through the Lamar Valley before continuing on our move east. We didn't see much along this final drive, but we did find an American badger quite close to the road on the way to the Slough Creek Trailhead. My initial sighting of the badger was just a few clouds of dirt being thrown in the air, and I was able to snap off a few frames out of the car window as he dug. We were quite lucky that he was working over a hillside just down from a small parking area that morning, so we were able to park the car and spend about 20 minutes watching him dig and tromp around. The only downside, photographically that is, was that he was in a grassy area, and since badgers are so close to the ground, it was hard to get an unobstructed view of his face in a photo.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Young moose in the sagebrush, Grand Teton National Park

Curious moose calf standing in sage brush in pre-dawn light

Our encounter with this young moose and his mother was one of the highlights of our September visit to Grand Teton National Park. We found this pair as we took a pre-sunrise drive along the Gros Ventre River, and they were feeding quite close to the road. The young one was perhaps on the verge of being weaned, since we saw him nurse as well as browse on some plants. He (or she?) also had the energy expected of a youngster as he went hopping and tromping around the sagebrush, but never straying too far from mom.

View more images of moose in my Moose Gallery.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Large bull moose, Grand Teton National Park

Photograph of a large bull moose with velvet antlers sniffing the air

This handsome fellow is the largest moose that we saw during our visit to Grand Teton National Park in September. We found him feeding fairly close to the road as we drove along the Gros Ventre River corridor before sunrise.

Since I was shooting in pre-dawn light, I had to jack up the ISO for these shots. To get a reasonable shutter speed of 1/100 of a second (which was still a bit of underexposure), I pushed the camera to ISO 3200. At the time I was thinking, "why am I even bothering trying to shoot under these conditions?" -- since it seemed like it was just too dark to get anything decent. But then I quickly realized that I have no idea when the next time I'll be this close to a large bull moose will be, and of course, pixels are free, so I kept shooting. I'm really glad that I did as well, since I was impressed with the quality of the images when I reviewed them later. I had never really shot at such a high ISO before, and sure, there's a fair amount of noise (especially before any correction in LR3) and they aren't tack sharp, but overall they came out pretty good considering the conditions.

Large bull moose with velvet antlers in Grand Teton National Park

View more photos of moose in my Moose Gallery

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bald eagle, Yellowstone National Park

Bald eagle in Yellowstone - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

For as bird-centric as my photography often is, I photographed very few avian subjects during my trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. I had hoped to find more birds, but the large terrestrial megafauna were just too amazing to look away from. I did however, snap a few shots of a Clark's nutcracker (a fascinating bird with a really awesome memory!) as well as this bald eagle perched in a tree in Hayden Valley. I had really hoped to see some trumpeter swans, but that just wasn't in the cards this time. There's always next time though!

Bald eagle watching

As for this eagle, it was perched in the top of a tree and was watching the water below. It had drawn a pretty good crowd, but since it was on the opposite side of the river, it seemed not to care too much about all the people watching it. What it did care about though, is the red-tailed hawk that must have had a nest close by. In the top photo in the post, the eagle is calling out at the hawk just before the hawk flew straight at it and scared it away. It was quite a sight to see a smaller bird come swooping in at high speed, and the bald eagle wanted no part of it.

View more photos of raptors in my Birds of Prey gallery.

Submitted to World Bird Wednesday -- Follow the link to check out this week's posts.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Portrait of a mother moose, Grand Teton National Park

Mother moose

One of my favorite wildlife encounters from our trip across the west was finding this female moose and her calf in the pre-sunrise light. The mother was beautiful (as you can see) and the calf was full of energy, and continually bounced around the sagebrush. They were a delight to watch!

View more photos of moose in my Moose Gallery

Friday, October 7, 2011

Bison, Grand Teton National Park

Bison in Grand Teton NP - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

While we certainly found bison on every day of our Grand Teton and Yellowstone trip, one of the best encounters came in the late afternoon in Grand Teton National Park. The large herd that resides there had moved fairly close to the road, and they stayed there resting, feeding, fighting, and running around until long after the sun had set. These are such remarkable animals, and it's interesting to think about what the landscape must have looked like a few hundred years ago when a few million were still roaming the west!

View more photos of the largest land animal in North America in my Bison Gallery.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Moose pair in the sagebrush, Grand Teton National Park

The moose pair emerges - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

Our moose encounters in Grand Teton National Park were one of the highlights of our entire road trip. It was amazing to see these huge animals up close, and I'm really excited that we were able to find them feeding in the sagebrush on a few occasions. This post is a series of four photos of a pair of moose that we watched on our final morning in the park. We started the day by finding them off in the middle of the sagebrush at dawn, but they slowly worked their way closer to us in the morning light.

Pair of moose in the morning - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

We were there just before the start of the rutting season, so most of the bulls we saw still had velvet on their antlers. However, on our last morning there we caught this bull with mostly clean antlers (you can see a bit of velvet still hanging down by his face in these shots). He was clearly still a bit itchy, and he spent a fair amount of time scratching on any solid object he could find. I was so amazed at how large these animals really are, and they really are a sight to behold. I know it looks like he's aggressively coming at me in the frame below, but he was just interested in feeding in that brighter patch of vegetation.

Moose coming my way - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

Unfortunately, for a lot of the shots on this trip (including many of the shots from our encounter with this pair) I really had to jack up the ISO, which introduced quite a bit of noise. It was a tricky trip in that regard, with a lot of shooting right near dawn and before the sun had made it over the mountains. It's a delicate balance with my gear, confounded by the fact that the low-light conditions challenges the autofocus on my lens (f/6.3 at 500mm), but I decided that I'd rather have a chance for sharp shots with noise instead of blurry shots due to slower shutter speeds with less sensor noise. Overall it seemed to work out ok, but the amount of shots that I've culled due to technical quality does speak volumes to what having a faster long-lens would allow you to do.

Moose feeding in sagebrush - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

View more photos of these impressive animals in my new Moose Gallery.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Black bear cub, Yellowstone National Park

We spent our first full day in Yellowstone National Park today, and we were able to find some interesting wildlife. In addition to the standard bison and elk, we saw a coyote hunting in the grass and some big horn sheep after the sun had set. We also believe we saw two gray wolves in Hayden Valley. However, we only saw them as tiny black dots in the binoculars. Those around us at the turnout had been watching them for a little while, and claimed that's what they were. I'm still hoping to see one that I can recognize in the binoculars.

Bear cub eating pinecones - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

One of the highlights was watching a family of black bears feed on pinecones in the top of the trees along Dunraven Pass. There was a mother and two cubs, one of which is shown in these shots. All three moved through the tree so easily, and with the tree growing on such a steep slope, one wrong move could have been very bad. But no worries, they all made it down safely!

Getting down is easy - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

We'll be out again for sunrise tomorrow -- and I'm looking forward to what we might find!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pair of moose, Grand Teton National Park

Pair of Moose - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

A quick update from the road. We're having an awesome trip so far, and have seen a lot of wildlife in Grand Teton National Park. In addition to a few herds of bison and pronghorn, we've seen bald eagles, pikas (as cute as promised!), and so far 7 different moose! These animals are fascinating, and I didn't fully appreciate their size until I saw one for myself. We first saw this female relaxing in the grass, then as I was getting my camera ready to photograph her, this large bull came strolling by. It appears that he is courting her, and he kept quite close with a watchful eye on her.