a teatray in the sky

yellowstone one-a-days: bison in the semi-wild

Posted in 5D Mark II, National Parks, Photography, Technique and Development, Yellowstone National Park by firthefirst on September 28, 2010

shooting wildlife is a lot like proposing detrimental fiscal policies — the goal is to be convincing.  you want people to believe that this really is an animal that is wild and untamed, an animal that may gore/rend/maul you if you make an inopportune gesture.  you don’t want people to believe that this is merely an escaped convict from the zoo, or worse, a discarded taxidermy.

so the trick is to banish all signs of human encroachment from your image.  why does that matter?  try this:

first, picture a mountain lion, lazily lapping water from a cold, rushing mountain stream.

now, picture a mountain lion, lazily lapping water from a pink, plastic kiddy pool.

not quite the same, is it?

the thing is though, for those of us who can’t afford a 600mm lens, it’s often hard to get close enough to wildlife to capture a truly dramatic image.  rangers aren’t happy when you run up to easily spooked creatures weighing one ton, capable of 30 mph sprints, and equipped with two people-goring prongs on the business end.  luckily, bison like to go for walks, and just like people, they enjoy walking on paved surfaces.  rangers can’t blame you for being 15 feet from a full grown bison if the bison came to you. 

so you take what you can get, even if you end up showing a sliver of asphalt in your image.

[exif: 5D Mark II,  Sigma 100-300 f/4 EX DG APO HSM,  ISO 800,  f/5.0,  1/500]

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