Photos of the Day – The White Wolf Waits for Wistfully Wandering to Wind Up There

Ohhh too much… but the title is staying.

As I bounce off my seat itching to get on the road to Yellowstone, I was reminiscing about some of the great wildlife encounters I experienced there last summer.

Here are some of my favs:

First wildlife sighting in Teton – Elk on alert!

Grizzy 399 and 2 of her 3 cubs she had last year. Down to none apparently now 😦 although the rumour is they still survive – 1 with the grizzly 610, and 2 are lost, but well.

Awww Sedgehog (I don’t come up with these names 🙂 in Sedge Bay, Yellowstone

The white wolf…hence the cringe worthy title of the post.

Mr/s. Marmot in Sheepeaters, Yellowstone

The lone bison walks the line

I could keep going and going, but I will stop at my favorites in Yellowstone and Grand Teton. I also saw a large variety of wildlife in the Canadian Rockies, including big horned sheep, mountain goats, a cougar (such a rare and amazing sight!), elk with huge racks, and a ton of foxes, coyotes and a brief glimpse of black wolves.

CAN’T WAIT!

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Practice makes perfect.

I really need to play around with this Nikon DSLR before I head out in less than a week to Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

Wildlife will of course be my #1 priority, I’ll attempt landscape when I can too.

Here are a few tips I have learned from the past 2 years practicing wildlife photography:

1. Always find something to stabilize your camera. 

From Amazon

I often roll up my window half way in order to rest my camera on the pane. I also often use a tripod, but sometimes it doesn’t work out, since some wildlife comes right up to the road, and I don’t want to take my chances out of the car.

My father also gave me a pad to help rest my camera on the window of my car.

2. Stay cool, calm and patient if the wildlife is near (just stay cool and calm all the time anyway!)

I’ve seen a few crazy tourists run up to wildlife and, thankfully, it has only ever ended up with the wildlife being chased off. It’s a bit disturbing and frustrating what tourists will do to get close to dangerous and unpredictable wildlife for a quick picture.

3. Be aware of your surroundings.

A funny experience happened as about 30 people were happily shooting photographs of a beaver in Yellowstone. And as they were all focused in the beaver, I was observing the surrounding area, when – ta daaaa – a white wolf popped out of the bushes and proceeded to swim across the river, where the beaver was posing, perhaps 8 feet away. I think I was the victorious one, capturing the wolf’s dip and then able to grab a few beaver photos after.

Plus – you should always make sure you are safe from sneaky animals. Those bison are so huge, yet so quiet when they saunter over toward your car…

4. RESPECT the wildlife!

It’s hard not to have an impact on the behaviour of an animal close to the road. Just make sure you stay out of the way, don’t startle it, and listen to the park rangers if they are around. Don’t be an idiot and feed them. I’ve seen that too many times in the very short months I have been photographing.

5. Time it right!

The beloved golden light that appears with the sunrise and sunset. The best time to photograph anything! And also the best time to spot wildlife, as most of these guys love resting in the day.

Teton’s at sunrise

Just can’t wait to get up at 4:30am every morning this summer, sans coffee. NOT!

6. Practice, practice, practice!

Check out these two photos of a grizzly bear in Kananaskis, Alberta. The first one was taken 2 summers ago, the second was from last summer. (not the same bear, but same lighting and location).

I hope this means that my grizzly shots will be 3D this summer! hah.

Much clearer!

With all I have picked up over the few months I’ve been photographing wildlife, I still have a long way to go. And I still need a great camera!

Hike #2 – Still in Grand Teton

I am very much looking forward to hiking in Grand Teton.

Last year, I missed out on any form of hiking as grizzly bear 399 and 610 kept my boyfriend and I occupied with our cameras snapping every 2 seconds. I have never taken so many photos in my life!

Hiking among the majestic Teton backdrop has been a dream, ever since I laid eyes on them one year ago.

Here is the description of the second hike I will attempt in Grand Teton, after the Pacific Creek trail:

Glade Creek (from the book Best Easy Hikes – Grand Teton, by Bill Schneider)

Description: A short, easy hike in the northernmost section of the park (7 miles round trip)

Trailhead: Hwy 89, 4.4 miles west of Flagg Ranch on the Grassy Lake Road (on the left).

The hike: Most people don’t think about this section of Grand Teton National Park, so pan on having Glade Creek and most of the north-trails section mostly to yourself. This hike actually starts outside the park in the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway, a 24,000-acre area that is more wild than many parts of the park. The trailhead sign says that it’s 3.5 miles to the park boundary, but this is probably exaggerated by at least a half mile and perhaps more.

The trail starts out through a mature lodgepole forest. After about a mile and a half, you cross Glade Creek on a footbridge. Shortly thereafter, you drop down a fairly steep hill to a huge meadow. To the left, you can see the Snake River flowing into Jackson Lake and a huge freshwater marsh, one of two large freshwater marshes found in the park. You can also see Jackson Lake off to the south. This is a wildlife-rich area, so take your time before retracing your steps to the trailhead. You may be able to see some moose, swans, and other wildlife, especially in the early morning or near sunset. Even the mighty grizzly bear frequently roams through this rich habitat. But be forewarned. There is one wildlife species you will see and not enjoy. This is the only section of trail in the park where we had to stop and get out the mosquito repellent and netting.

Yikes. I loved the sound of this hike until the last few sentences. I will be sure to pile on the layers of clothing, bug spray and wear a mosquito net. HATE those little buggers!