In the Back Country of Yellowstone with a Camera

Pronghorn Buck at Slough Creek
Pronghorn Buck at Slough Creek

 

I learned long ago that taking off hiking in hopes of having memorable photo encounters with wildlife is folly.  And, so, for a time, I quit hiking with a camera to lighten my load.  There is something about getting out of the car and grabbing the bear spray, binoculars and hat, and taking off down a trail or across some sagebrush.  While that method sounds ideal, I found it to be foolish to not take water, an extra layer and some snack in case I go further than expected or if injured and had to wait to be found.

Anyway, what happens when I go hiking without a camera is that something photographable and memorable appears before me.  And, if I have a camera, usually nothing appears.  Such is life and I decided that better to be prepared and not have anything to photograph, then the other way around.

Just the other day I started to take off without my camera but turned back to grab it and was glad that I did.  Because I captured something very important that I am unwilling to talk about at this time.

And, so, yesterday, as the previous post said, I took off for a hike to the confluence of the Lamar River and Slough Creek, carrying my camera and short lens on my back.  It was mid-day and I couldn’t imagine finding anything to photograph with that light, but you never know.

This was actually my second hike in the area this week – the first being down to Buffalo Ford on the Lamar River.  That was just fantastic down there – a place I have always wanted to go.  And, along the way, I encountered a small group of pronghorn with a big buck trying to keep them in line.

Pronghorn down a Buffalo Ford
Pronghorn down a Buffalo Ford

I took a couple of shots just for the heck of it.

After playing down at the river – dunking my head – I began making my way back towards the road, taking a slight detour so as to not disturb the pronghorn.  As I was walking along I noticed another buck coming my way.  He look at me and I looked at him.  After sizing me up for a minute the buck continued coming my way and so I moved back so that he had plenty of room.  I decided to try and capture him above the river and, besides, it was so much fun watching him.

Looking back
Looking back
Continuing Forward
Continuing Forward

pronghornbuckbuffford003

It was obvious that he was headed over to see if he could make any of those girls his.  And, that he had already had some battles.  He proceeded that way, stopping frequently.

And then I heard the funniest little Pronghorn warning sound.  It was like a battle cry and instinctively I knew that he was going to charge.  And charge he did.

The first guy turned and hauled butt the way he had come.

Getting out of there
Getting out of there

There was quite a distance between the two but the other guy raced by a little while later.

Get outta here you thief!
Get outta here you thief!

The two kept running a ways and I never saw where the first guy landed. The second guy stood on a hill for a long time, watching something down at the river.  He was soon off on another charge, and I continued my hike, quite delighted for having seen a little of the pronghorn rut activity.  Though, it would have been fun to watch them fight.

 

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Well, then, two days later I am hiking down at the other end of Little America, in Slough Creek, not even thinking about the pronghorn, while hoping the bison did not get in my way.

Another pronghorn encounter
Another pronghorn encounter

Photographing the pronghorn in the backcountry, with a shorter lens that can capture the landscape as well, has been one of my photography highlights in recent times.

I will continue with part 2 of the pronghorn back country photo adventures tomorrow.  In the past I have pretty much ignored these animals because no one seems to like photos of them and because next to the road they are pretty boring.  But way off the road, on some of the large hills, is another story.  Very fascinating animals.

See you tomorrow!

Deby

 

One thought on “In the Back Country of Yellowstone with a Camera

  1. I love the pronghorns!….Our 1st ever ones we saw were up in Slough Creek…I love their beautiful coloring…thank you Deby…

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