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Surviving the Winter



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2 Comments | Report
davidparkhurst
 
davidparkhurst May 17, 2019
Very good
Hood
 
Hood October 22, 2019
Love the DOF in this image!

Behind The Lens

Location
I took this in Yellowstone National Park on a snowy, cold, zero degree (F) day. The park keeps one road across the northern tier of the park open during the winter. I drove around a bend in the road and saw a small herd of bison coming toward me. (Bison sometimes use the open road as their own highway.) I stopped and leaned out my car window and shot several frames focusing on the lead, snow covered bison. I didn't dare get out of my car because I knew they would be walking by my car in about one minute.
Time
This was mid-afternoon. I had spent the morning driving into the park photographing animals, and was on my way back out of the park looking for more photo opportunities. Falling snow had coated the landscape on and off through the day. The park's snowplow operators did a great job of keeping the road open despite the snowfall.
Lighting
Lighting was very diffuse and drab due to a solid, thick overcast and light snow falling. The lighting actually helped reduce the contrast between the white snow and dark bison. I overexposed somewhat to keep the snow from going more gray than it appeared and to bring out some detail in the dark bison fur.
Equipment
This was shot with a Pentax K-1 and Pentax 150-450 lens, handheld.
Inspiration
I went to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park in February to photograph wildlife surviving in the harsh, winter environment. Especially Yellowstone National Park during the winter is a giant story of survival in snow and cold, and I wanted to show parts of that story. Mother nature certainly cooperated. During the week I was in Yellowstone, temperatures usually hovered around zero, it snowed every day, and indeed the park road was closed for more than a day due to heavy snow. The animals also cooperated. Photos of bison are a dime a dozen in this park, but photos of snow covered bison like this image are more unusual.
Editing
I dodged some of the dark bison fur since it was underexposed in the image.
In my camera bag
I travel light. I have a Pentax K-1 body, and Pentax 28-105 lens, Pentax 150-450 lens, and Samyang 14 mm lens, and a Slik tripod and two ND filters. To paraphrase another photographer, the most important part of the camera is the 6 inches behind it. So I have concentrated on how I can better use the equipment I do have, rather than acquiring more equipment to make better photographs.
Feedback
A saying I often try to live by is, good landscape and nature photographers go out in bad weather. I knew going into this trip to Yellowstone National Park and also Grand Teton National Park that it was going to be a rugged, cold and snowy trip. During this two-week trip I encountered hundreds of miles of snow covered roads, a 350 mile detour because of closed roads, a national park closure, not to mention trying to stay warm while photographing in the cold. But I was also determined to capture wildlife in their harsh winter environment. I have similarly gone out in thunderstorms, dessert heat, and cold, snow and ice to photograph landscapes. Good photos in bad weather.

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