Teton Bison and Pronghorns
Been fighting the weather here recently, very mixed bag of conditions, lots of clouds, heavy morning fog, and late afternoon rain. The early morning image above is a good example of the mountains creating their own weather conditions. This was taken several days ago and was one of the last mornings the Tetons were even visible.
Fall has officially arrived here as the trees are starting to put on their autumn show.
Mormon Row is a north/south dirt road connecting the Gros Ventre Campground to the Antelope Flats Road. I drive this road every morning that it is not raining because there is a large herd of bison grazing in the area, plus a couple small bands of Pronghorns, and, if the animals are on the correct ( west ) side of the road, in just the right portion of the fields, they can be photographed with the Tetons in the background with the mountains being bathed in the early morning light.
The past week, I have had a few opportunities to almost get the perfect shot. But something is always just a little less than perfect. The sun is covered by low hanging clouds leaving nice light on the mountaintops but the bison and foreground in shade …
… or I manage to get some light on the foreground and the sky clouds up over the mountains …
… or the clouds throw some part of the image, trees in the mid ground above, in weird dark shadow.
What seems to happen most often though is that the herd will be grazing on the wrong side of the road, west side in the afternoon so you are shooting into the sun, or the east side in the morning …
… resulting in this kind of impossible shot.
But still, I have some really nice reference photos for when I finally get back to painting, where I can then paint in the perfect sky or well lit foreground.
You might ask why I don’t just hop out of the car and hike out in the field to get the herd between myself and the mountains with the sun at my back? Well, these fields ( flats, meadows? ) are hundreds of acres in size, on both sides of the road, and there is not a single tree anywhere in those hundreds of acres, so I don’t really feel it would be too wise to go tromping around out there amongst hundreds of bison with nowhere to hide if one of them happened to take offense with my being out there.
These guys are seriously large, and even with the car as my protection, when you are right in the midst of them, they can be very intimidating.
These beautiful animals are one of my favorites out here in the west. But, like the bison, they just refuse to cooperate for this photographer and are always located in the worst possible lighting conditions when I encounter them up close enough to get some nice shots.
In dead shade wth the rising sun behind them, like in the two shots above.
This group I actually encountered in a place where I could get them out in good light, with the sun at my back, as you can see with the sun on the mountains behind them. But just when they arrived at the perfect spot for a ridge top photo, a cloud blocked the sun behind me … just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to these guys.
And they are moving fast, so there is no waiting for the sun to pop back out and get that great shot.
These guys put themselves in position to get some great light on them, so, of course they moved out onto a section of the flats that is being reclaimed for native grasses to take over.
Someday I’ll get that perfect shot!
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