Bison icon

Familiarity definitely breeds contempt.

When I first see a new animal, everything it does is exciting and I’m quickly taking photos. I had the opposite experience in Yellowstone where I found bison hanging around everywhere.

I quickly realized I was going to see more bison than I had laid eyes on in my entire life. They weren’t going to suddenly migrate. Since I knew there was always tomorrow, they would easily get trumped by other wildlife. I actually had to force myself to keep looking for special moments. How quickly excitement fades – it’s actually sad.

_T6C7911I also realized that I would not be happy with just another regular composition. I gave myself the challenge of finding a bison on a ridge to show some of the Yellowstone landscape. Off I went to find my bison icon.

The challenge was to find a bison that wasn’t eating or lying down (eliminating 95% of activity), find an especially good-looking specimen (eliminating 90% of the animals), find some good light (eliminating 85% of daylight hours), find the right settings for a dark animal and hopefully find this all on a ridge (eliminating 98% of the terrain). That definitely got me looking again.

Thankfully there were a lot to of bison to practice my technique and it needed some work. I was not quite satisfied with the results at the beginning. Quite a few days past and I realized this was getting harder than I anticipated.

Towards the end of our stay I found a bull standing on the top of a ridge just before sunset – eating of course. I impatiently waited for him to look up and it finally happened just before he left the ridge. Eureka!

I was pleased with the result. It is one of the few times I was able to visualize a wildlife scene and capture it. Only the abundance of potential targets made it possible and getting over my sense of familiarity.

_T6C7917 (1)

Oh, it’s YOU again!


Latest Comments

  1. artsifrtsy says:

    I found the same to be true at Wind Cave, there were so many but very few that made for exceptional shots. That last one is truly special


    • lylekrahn says:

      I was beginning to wonder if it was just my inability to see the right opportunities with so many around. It’s interesting that you found the same thing. Glad you liked the big old bison.


  2. Swati Singh says:

    Great picture.
    You must be a great photogra…..wait ohh its you again 😛


  3. Phil Lanoue says:

    Tremendous images of the big guy in a fantastic setting.


  4. Mary says:

    Both fabulous shots, patience and creativity were in your favor this day. Love the last shot ~


  5. Mike Powell says:

    I love it when a plan actually works (which in my experience of taking photos is rarely the case). I love the second shot. There is something really special when you can capture a shot of an animal (or bird) looking in your direction–it makes the interaction more personal.


    • lylekrahn says:

      It doesn’t happen to me that often which is why it ended up being noteworthy. I like the interaction look and it usually makes the creature look better. Over time I have also come to have added appreciation of wildlife looking elsewhere since it makes the photograph seem more natural and undisturbed.


  6. niasunset says:

    Doesn’t look nice 🙂 Great shots, Thank you, love, nia


  7. vanbraman says:

    I actually like the first shot better. I think it is more representative of the bison and really shows off the profile that you will usually see. However, the second shot is still fabulous and is what you were trying to get.
    So now, what shot of a bison would I try to catch? I would try to catch one similar to the first shot, but with the head raised just a little bit. Just like it is on the Indian Head Nickel. 🙂


    • lylekrahn says:

      I do like the first one as well (since it made it here) and it is certainly more representative of how they spend their time, so that makes sense. It’s interesting to hear what you would want to capture. I’ll have to watch for that one:)


  8. Honie Briggs says:

    He looks completely unimpressed. What a magnificent beast!


    • lylekrahn says:

      You’re right, their natural disposition seems to be a dour look and the guttural sounds are a bit disarming. However, there is still a magnificent attraction.


  9. Deb Scally says:

    Inspiring! And congrats on realizing your vision. Those are truly cool moments in photography.


  10. ndshooter says:

    Bison are tough to shoot. You did a good job. Their hide soaks up light so much their mane turns in to just a black blur. Good detail.


    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. Yes those bison can be tricky and I spent the first few days trying to get the detail right. During the day there was so much light that everything other than the bison would be seriously blown out. As usual, closer to sunset made everything better.


  11. Gunta says:

    The look in the second shot is in search of a caption… best attempt for me is: “Oh, it’s YOU again!”


  12. Deb W. Trotter says:

    I’d say you absolutely gave us your best shot! Love the photo. Pretty much perfect!! (I like the first shot, though, too, because the fact that the bison is ignoring his photo opportunity draws my eyes to the background of the photo which is quite enticing.)


  13. mariayarri says:

    They are big beauties ! , wish we have them in the upper part of Sweden too …// Maria 🙂


  14. sagescenery says:

    Bravo! Your patience to get the best shot is appreciated! Your bison is beautiful!!!!! Really, how many shots did you need to take to get this??? It’s spectacular!


  15. Mind Margins says:

    So true! It’s always so exciting to see that first bison, then the first herd of bison, then . . . oh, it’s just another stinkin’ bison, and they’re usually blocking the road!


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