tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere

Thundering Hooves on the South Dakota Prairie



Once the large buffalo herd of 1100 animals gets moving at Custer State Park in South Dakota, the cowboys are really there just to keep them going. If the herd ...
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Once the large buffalo herd of 1100 animals gets moving at Custer State Park in South Dakota, the cowboys are really there just to keep them going. If the herd breaks apart, there is not much a horse can do to stop it. The correct name for this animal is American Bison (Bison bison), but in the US you will hear buffalo as much as bison.
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Awards

Contest Finalist in Colossal Wildlife Photo Contest
Winner in Buffalo Photo Challenge
Contest Finalist in The Brown Color Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in ViewBug Photography Awards
Winner in Animals in hordes Photo Challenge
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Contest Finalist in Social Exposure Photo Contest Vol 6
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37 Comments | Report
Ochalina
 
Ochalina December 23, 2015
Wow! This is awesome
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere December 24, 2015
Thank you very much. It was an unforgetable expierence.
sydneyosbourne
 
sydneyosbourne January 02, 2016
Kudos!
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere January 08, 2016
Thanks very much, Sydney.
loriawallace12
 
loriawallace12 January 08, 2016
Amazing!
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere January 08, 2016
Thank you for the kind words, Loria. I really appreciate that.
jerhearne PRO
 
jerhearne January 16, 2016
Outstanding image! The light and composition are perfect!
Pablo-Klik PRO
 
Pablo-Klik January 17, 2016
MAGNIFICA FOTO
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 04, 2016
Thank you very much!
Workshopphotos
 
Workshopphotos January 19, 2016
Fantastic photo, a beauty
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 04, 2016
Thank you. It is quite an expierence.
Azmedaj
 
Azmedaj January 20, 2016
This is stunning. Amazing composition
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 04, 2016
Thank you. That many buffalo in motion is a fantastic expierence.
bonniemoseley
 
bonniemoseley January 28, 2016
Congratulations on being a finalist. This is such a great composition.
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 04, 2016
Thank you very much! It has been on my bucket list for a long time and well worth the wait.
wjrtailby1 PRO
 
wjrtailby1 January 28, 2016
To the man on the horse nice job to the photographer excellent shot!!
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 04, 2016
Thank you very much! You have a good eye - the rider is one of the wranglers and not one of the ten lucky "guest riders".
arjunbhs
 
arjunbhs January 28, 2016
Stunning capture !
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 04, 2016
Thank you very much!
Roussou
 
Roussou January 29, 2016
Great shot, congrats with being a finalist
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 04, 2016
Thank you very much, Hans. It is a wonderful event.
frontstca
 
frontstca February 09, 2016
Great pic
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 12, 2016
Thank you very much.
kariwatkins
 
kariwatkins February 09, 2016
Love this!
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere April 04, 2016
Thank you, Kari.
CURUTCHET
 
CURUTCHET October 08, 2016
where do they go like this
mgenkova
 
mgenkova November 20, 2016
Superb!
tmlakshmi PRO+
 
tmlakshmi November 29, 2016
voted. stunning
stuartfoster
 
stuartfoster December 08, 2016
Like so many people have said....stunning photo!. I love the contrast of the rider against the repetition of all the bison in terms of shape, colour, light, sharpness. Beautiful composition. Nicely done.
vitor PRO+
 
vitor December 13, 2016
Awesome!
thunderlake
 
thunderlake December 13, 2016
amazing and so powerful
StevenPasternack PRO
 
StevenPasternack December 21, 2016
Amazing photo!
praveenupadhyay
 
praveenupadhyay December 21, 2016
Awesome click
LuciaH PRO
 
LuciaH December 22, 2016
Beautiful photo ! Congratulations on your win !
ponymagau PRO
 
ponymagau February 21, 2017
This is beautiful!
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 21, 2017
Thank you very much! An amazing place to visit and photograph.
benedicte1991
 
benedicte1991 March 08, 2017
Fantastic!!????
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere March 08, 2017
Thank you very much!! Custer State Park is definately worth a visit.
iluv2shoot
 
iluv2shoot September 15, 2017
Fantastic capture!
kathyk_abq
 
kathyk_abq September 24, 2017
Fantastic shot!
JDLifeshots
 
JDLifeshots October 12, 2017
Great shot. Congrats!
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere October 12, 2017
Thank you very much.
rainard
 
rainard December 13, 2017
Oh, my God. It deserves 'photography of the Year' superb
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere December 13, 2017
Wow, Thanks so much for the very kind words. It was a wonderful trip and you really could feel the vibration from their passing through your feet - although I would not put it in the "earth shaking" catagory.
tazzlesteele
 
tazzlesteele January 05, 2018
Incredible shot. Looks like you're right there in it! I'm sure that was an awesome sight to see!
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere January 05, 2018
Thank you very much for the kind words. It was indeed an awesome sight and I would reccomend it to anyone that is considering a visit to South Dakota.
Pmcclure
 
Pmcclure January 06, 2018
Awesome shot!
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 01, 2018
Thank you very much for the kind words.
RodeoPride
 
RodeoPride February 02, 2018
Amazing shot! I love how you captured the rider with the buffalo, this is truly a spectacular event and you captured it beautifully!
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 02, 2018
Thank you very much for the kind words. It was indeed an awesome sight and I would reccomend it to anyone that is considering a visit to South Dakota.
MRueffer
 
MRueffer February 02, 2018
This is great!
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 13, 2018
Thank you very much for the kind words, Maureen.
KiTTeN_KanDiie PRO+
 
KiTTeN_KanDiie February 04, 2018
AMAZING
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 13, 2018
Thank you very much,Tammie.
DuffyDoherty PRO
 
DuffyDoherty February 08, 2018
Congratulations on your Finalist Award Tony. Nice job!
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 13, 2018
Thank you, Duffy.
Neckbone
 
Neckbone February 23, 2018
Congrats on your Challenge Win. Well deserved, a Great Shot!
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere February 23, 2018
Thank you very much!
rmyers01
 
rmyers01 March 13, 2018
Awesome shot! I'd be afraid to be in front of that herd!
Beautiful-Breeze PRO+
 
Beautiful-Breeze December 17, 2018
Wow! Outstanding shot!
tonybruguiere
tonybruguiere December 17, 2018
Thank you very much for your comment!

Behind The Lens

Location
This was taken at the annual Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park in South Dakota. The roundup has been taking place since 1966. The purpose is to reduce the herd size to what the grassland in the park can support. Each year they sell 300 - 400 live buffalo. I was fortunate to have media credentials, which did not give me closer access, but at least the shot was unobstructed.
Time
The first buffalo are sighted about 10:30 am, but visitors have been waiting for a long time. People have had their cars stopped at the blockade on the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park for hours. They have been waiting in the dark for the road to open. The veterans have hot coffee and doughnuts and are dressed in layers to ward off the night chill of early fall. Finally, the road opens at 6:30 am and the long procession of cars will move along the eight mile road to the elevated south viewing area. The endless line of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and busses will continue for about three hours until the parking area is packed completely full. On the other side of the draw the process is being duplicated at the north viewing area. When both parking lots are full, there will be over 14,000 people lining the safety fences to witness what few people have seen since the early 1800s - eleven hundred American Bison running across the South Dakota prairie.
Lighting
Nothing special about the lighting - just a beautiful early fall morning in South Dakota.
Equipment
I used a Canon 7D with a 100-400 mm (L) IS f/4.5 - 5.6. I used a Manfrotto monopod. The lens is image stabilized, but the monopod really helps.
Inspiration
This event has been on my bucket list for a long time. Market hunting of buffalo began in earnest in 1870 and almost caused the extinction of this magnificent animal. What saved the buffalo from going the way of the dodo bird were forward thinking men like Peter Norbeck, former Governor of South Dakota, who in 1914, purchased thirty-six buffalo to start the Custer herd. It is the descendants of those original thirty-six buffalo that fourteen thousand people come each year to see.
Editing
There is more post processing on this image than I usually do. For safety reasons, visitors and media are not very close to the running buffalo. From a distance buffalo tend to be more or less brown blobs moving across the landscape in a cloud of dust - our eyes and brain fill in details that our cameras can not see. I tried adding Clarity in PS, which helped a little. I then tried Structure in Nik's Vivesa2. Better, but still not right. I finally went to Topaz Clarity, a wonderful plug-in that lets you individually control separate areas of contrast. I added more saturation than I usually do and used quite a few layer masks to apply the contrast and saturation where I wanted it.
In my camera bag
Camera bodies are a Canon 40D and a 7D. My working bag consists of the 70-200mm (L) IS f/2.8, Canon 24-105 mm (L) IS f/4.0, and a Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM.
Feedback
People come from all over the world to experience this many buffalo running over the prairie. Custer is a small town so make your plans well in advance. If you can't make the roundup, the buffalo are roaming freely year round. I would be remiss if I did not say something about the temperament of buffalo. They are wild animals with absolutely no fear of humans. Every year tourists are injured or killed because they got too near to a buffalo. Buffalo have attacked cars and they seem to have a special dislike for motorcycles. When you are moving in for that perfect shot, keep an eye on the tail of the buffalo. Normally the tail hangs straight down. If you see it flick upwards, the buffalo is becoming agitated and that is your signal to move away. If you see the tail ramrod straight up, the buffalo has entered what ranchers refer to as its "kill mode". Get in your car, be still, and hope that you are not what set it off. You could try running or driving away, but remember that the buffalo runs at 40 miles an hour. Long lenses are your friend when working with buffalo.

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