My annual “Winter in Yellowstone” photo tour ran from February 1st through the the 7th. Again this year I had a wonderful group.. I was joined by Cindi, Rachel, Bill, Gordon, Harry, and Mae who came all the way from Taiwan for the tour. They were an enthusiastic and energetic group that brought way to many clothes for this years conditions. Of course you can never predict the weather. This was probably the warmest winter tour that I’ve had in Yellowstone while the previous year was the coldest. On virtually the same day last year was -54 degrees F and this year was 50 degrees above zero. An amazing 104 degree temperature difference.. Of course I’m comparing the days lowest temperature in 2014 to the high temperature in 2015 but still it’s a striking comparison.
We had great bison, bighorn sheep, elk, moose and pronghorn photographic opportunities. Coyote, red fox and wolf sightings were down. Wolf numbers are way down in the park. Many wolf packs have moved out of the park boundaries in search of their primary food source, elk. During low snow pack years I’ve noticed that red fox sightings are scarce. Red fox being primarily nocturnal do most of theire hunting at night so with good hunting conditions provided by the low snow pack they are not seen much during daylight hours. Coyotes may react the same way. We again were able to photograph a bobcat along the Madison River. I know of 3 bobcats working the river. Most likely it’s a mother with two of her offspring living on their own. The bobcat we photographed is a 2 year old female, the same one as last year. The bobcats hunt waterfowl in the Madison River which doesn’t freeze because of warm thermal inflows.
Of course Yellowstone is always a fantastic place for landscape photography with the unique thermal areas and dramatic lighting conditions they create. We were able to create lots of interesting landscape images during the tour. Below is an example of some of the images captured during the week. Thanks Rachel, Cindi and Bill. I’ll show some more images from others from the tour as they come in.