Itty Bitty Wapiti

In honor of my birthday, I th0ught it might be fitting to add another chapter in the “Newborn” series.  I’ve covered newbies from a number of the animal kingdom over the last two months including Bison (link here), Pronghorn (link here) and even Bear (link here).  Today I get to add these..

Elk shot at Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

Isn’t she .. well to be honest, it could be a he but “it” just sounds too cold for such a cutie.  This young Wapiti (or Elk depending on your preference) was photographed while on our trip out to Yellowstone National Park back in May 2013.  I am not studied up on these creatures beyond what is available in Wikipedia and such, so it is impossible for me to tell you how old she might be for sure.  A quick search on the web indicated they give birth in late May and early June.

Elk shot at Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

Our trip out there was the end of May and first few days of June so this one was at most a week and likely less.  They will lose their spots at the end of Summer.   To be honest, this shoot was at first exhilarating and then gave way to some serious concern.  I had climbed up a small hill off the side of the road hoping the higher vantage point might give way to some interesting subjects.  After looking around for bit, a rustling sound came from 50 or so yards away.  After about 5 or 10 minutes of trying to stand as still as possible, this newborn came walking out from among the brush.  That is the part that fits the exhilarating aspect – heart rate goes up, the camera goes up and the finger goes down on the shutter.  5 minutes later my brain kicked in and reminded me this could be a dangerous setting.  Heart rate goes up, finger comes off shutter head swivels.  Wildlife is no different than us – get too near the babies and the moms get understandably anxious – there are plenty of lessons to be had just checking out the Bear tragedies that occur out there from unexpected encounters with cubs.  The fact I was alone only added to the concern.  A few parting shots and I got the hell out of there! (never did see the doe, but can’t imagine it was too far away).

Hit the jump to see more pictures of the Elk of Yellowstone – and even shots of a younger calf!

Continue reading Itty Bitty Wapiti

Icy Drizzle or Shine, That Grizzly’s Mine

Remember when I mentioned the BIG bears were going to be coming up?  Well, I get to make good on that promise!  Yep, today I bring you the heavy hitters in the Ursus category.  As of late, I’ve focused on the American Black Bear because that has been the primary bear encounters we have had in the wild.  The Grizzly below was the only one we encountered on our May 2013 trip

Grizzly Bear Shot at Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

That folks, was one big Grizzly.  It definitely rivals the previous Grizzly we saw out there (link here) and definitely closer.  From a picture perspective, these shots have an odd grainy grey  shine to them.  There is a reason for that – it was SLEETING at that time these were taken.  Not just a bit of sleet either – it was an all out ice downpour that made it quite difficult to get a decent shot.  The Beast doesn’t mind the harsh shooting conditions, but my fingers were freezing and my eyes were taking a beating – a few shots into it I decided to just enjoy the moment.  For those that have seen the remake of the Walter Mitty movie, remember the point where Sean O’Connell declares that he doesn’t like to have the distraction of the camera – that part of the movie always brings me back to times like this.  The point where you stop concentrating on all the technical camera details and focus instead on all the wonders nature has to offer.  The world tends to get distorted looking through the tunnel of big glass.

Grizzly Bear Shot at Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

For those that may not be up with their Grizzly trivial, you might be surprised to know that the term Grizzly  Bear isn’t the term used by the wildlife scientists.  Nope, those hoity-toity elitists use the clearly more boring moniker of North American Brown Bear – dud.   According to our friends over at Wikipedia, the Grizzly name was actually given by Lewis and Clark – referring to it as grisley in reference to the golden/grey hair tips.  Apparently this just had to be corrected in 1815 – could have at least named it something like the Humpty Bear or maybe the much more accurate Skaryazshit Bear.  Did I mention these beasts have males ranging in the 400–800 lb range and females in the 300-400 range?  For reference, Black Bear males have a high end of the scale at 550 and the females are a little closer topping out at 375.  Honey, where is that bear spray!

For snicks I processed out the sleet to give a better view of how these majestic animals look under normal conditions.

Grizzly Bear Shot at Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

It is officially time to close out the bear posts from Yellowstone.  We were blessed with a number of sightings while we were out there and was excited to finally get them posted on the blog for all to share. Don’t worry, I still have a number of different posts coming from Yellowstone.  I need to get through these so I can get to all those other shoots I’ve fallen woefully behind on.


Bear With Me

As foretold, I am back with another post featuring a Black Bear.  I am changing it up a bit.  This is not a Bear we encountered at Yellowstone National Park back in May of 2013.  Nope, nothing of the sorts.  This fine specimen was actually taken at the Grand Tetons.
Black Bear shot in the Grand Tetons May 2013

We headed down to the Tetons after our Yellowstone visit on our homeward leg of the vacation.  From a wildlife perspective, the Tetons have never really given us much to put in our tins.  We did get a Moose during one of our visits, but beyond that, that park has rarely offered up anything in the mammal category worth talking about.. much less adding to our gallery.   That changed in a significant way on this trip.

Black Bear shot in the Grand Tetons May 2013

Hit the jump to read an interesting story about this encounter!

Continue reading Bear With Me

That Be a D-Bag

Did I mention I have a lot of bear pictures? No, oh, guess what? I have a lot of bear pictures from our trip out to Yellowstone National Park. So many pictures that it has taken me since May 2013 to get them processed and suitable for viewing. No picture shall be served before it’s time.

Black Bear shot at Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

Just kidding, I didn’t get to processing these shots until the recent holiday break. I ended up getting overwhelmed with other projects that caused the backlog. To help make up for that, I’m trying to blast through these Yellowstone posts as fast as I can – as if you didn’t already noticed this based on the flood of posts that came from that trip.

Black Bear shot at Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

Hit the jump to read a bit more about this bear encounter

Continue reading That Be a D-Bag

More New Year Babies

Today marks the last day of our holiday vacation.  Back to the grind tomorrow morning .. at least until the 18th.  Decided it was probably prudent to get posts out while I still had some free time.  New year, new job role, new organization likely means a lot of time spent getting up to speed on new responsibilities while putting a bow on previous efforts.  All that has a way of digging into my free time – couple that with new Arduino, 3D Printing and Halloween projects and you have a recipe for missing post quotas.  So with that, I bring you another post in the current theme of wildlife babies.

Black Bears shot at Yellowstone National Park May 2013

See that Black Bear in the shot above? – hint, it is the one sporting the cinnamon coloring, but still classified as a Black Bear.  That would be a female (that is my guess based on my memory of the situation in which the shot was taken).  As with the previous batches of posts, this shoot came from the Yellowstone National Park trip back in May 2013.  Things have started to cloud a bit but almost certain that is the female (for reasons that will be apparent in a minute).  Notice how she is intently scanning the woods – very similar to the alertness the Pronghorn doe was employing to keep a watchful eye for her fawn predators (link here).

Turns out she wasn’t the only Black Bear in the area.

Find out how this turns out by hitting the jump!

Continue reading More New Year Babies