Tag Archives: Yellowstone NP

The Cost of the Shot

I was looking in my news feeds yesterday, and saw a piece by Moose Peterson, talking about the cost of wildlife photography. Specifically, he muses on the antics of photographers he’s observed on his recent trip to Yellowstone. It’s a good read, and well worth paying attention to if you photograph in the field.

The clan Wright saw the same thing when we were at Yellowstone in June of ’08. Traffic jams were common whenever there were any big mammals near the road. I know that’s not a good thing, but there’s really nothing you can do once you’re trapped in it. It’s like watching a train wreck — you’re there, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. And wherever the critters were, someone was bound to be putting a kid fifteen away from bison for that year’s Christmas card. That’s why I like my long lens and teleconverters — I don’t have to do that kind of thing.

I’ve gotta agree with Moose’s post. While I don’t tromp around in the “big wild” (most of the time), the principle’s the same. Stalking the critters isn’t worth the shot. And frankly, if you’re grabbing their images while they’re fleeing from your pursuit, that’s not exactly nature photography. More like unnatural photography.

I’m pretty much a rules-based kinda guy. If you’re not supposed to chase the wildlife, you don’t. Stay on the trail. Don’t pick the posies. That kind of stuff. When I hear about folks trying to operate outside the rules — whether it’s chasing their photographic vision, or just horsing around — I just have to wonder when the nature they’re exploiting will be taken away from all of us, either by fence or foible. Either way, t’aint right.

GAR: Day Twelve – East Glacier MT to West Yellowstone MT (375mi)

This morning, we started with breakfast at the Whistle Stop. We’d had two very nice dinners there, and the menu advertised the best french toast in the world. French toast is one of Beck’s favorites, so we had to try it. I’d say they lived up to their billing. I won’t spill any secrets about it, but it was the biggest and best french toast I’ve ever seen. Add to that the atmosphere. We were waited on by a self-proclaimed “crazy Polish guy” who was in East Glacier because he had a flat tire, and never left. He was an amazing waiter and knew his stuff!

We let the GPS lead us toward West Yellowstone through all kinds of Montana highways. As we got an hour or so away from West Yellowstone, we began to see ominous storm clouds roiling over the mountains with massive rain shafts. We could see the rain pouring around us, but were fortunate enough to only get a few sprinkles. The image of the clouds against the mountains was really amazing, and I’m sure the photos we grabbed of the event won’t do it justice.

West Yellowstone is a lot busier than East Glacier was. There’s a couple of big main streets of shopping and Yellowstone-related stuff (tours, etc.), and loads of folks running around. Beck lined us up four nights at Al’s Westward Ho, and as we’ve discovered, we could walk right into the park entrance from here. I’m very surprised and pleased with how close we are to the park.

Tomorrow, we head into the park, and begin our exploration of Yellowstone…