There are few places in the United States that can compare with the sort of wildlife that Yellowstone has to offer. It has just about everything from bears and wolves to moose and elk. Autumn in Yellowstone is one of the most spectacular times of year here because the elk are in their rut season which means they are quite feisty and interesting to photograph.
Our 2021 workshop started off with a bull elk courting his ladies near Mammoth. When we arrived the light was still quite low so the group had to bump up their ISO in order to get a clear shot. As more light fell on the scene we were able to lower our ISO in order to have a cleaner image. The next sighting on our game drive was a small herd of Pronghorn. Pronghorn are the fastest land animals in the US, but luckily for us, they were not traveling at full speed so everyone in the group was able to get a clean shot.
Continuing with our drive we spotted a coyote trotting through a large meadow. I positioned the group in front of the coyote so everyone would have time to get their gear out and still get a nice profile shot of the animal as it came trotting by. As the sun reached higher in the sky it was time to make our way back to the hotel for a midday break. Along the way, we spotted a herd of bison rather close to the road. We pulled over just in time to watch the males go head to head with one another. The group got some great action shots and we continued back to the hotel.
For the second portion of the day, we drove to a different valley that is known for wildlife. There we saw another herd of bison that we photographed for quite some time. Our last stop of the evening was a geothermal feature that consists of a beautiful terraced landscape, abstract textures, and some highly photogenic trees.
On the second morning, we woke up quite early to catch the first light on Yellowstone Falls. After our sunrise shoot, we headed back to the same valley that we had visited the previous day. This time we were greeted with some beautiful fog that was backlit by the early morning sun. We then headed to the famous Old Faithful geyser basin for lunch and of course to photograph Old Faithful. We spent a great deal of time photographing various geysers and geothermal features in the area and were rewarded with some moody clouds halfway through the day. To finish things off, we watched as a herd of bison crosses the river. It was an amazing sight!
Day 3 of the workshop we drove back to Yellowstone Falls for another chance to catch some nice light in the morning. After the first light, we conducted our usual routine of game driving. We were definitely not disappointed!
For the last shoot of the trip, we brought the workshop into full circle by visiting the first valley we visited at the start of our workshop. Here we saw a coyote, a few pronghorn, a great bison road crossing and to top things off, we ended with three black bears! We were very pleased with the amount of wildlife present during the course of our 3-day adventure, and from the looks of all the great images students were capturing, it was a great workshop!
At Aperture Academy, we love visiting this area of the country and this year was no exception.
Until next time,
Mike and the rest of the Aperture Academy crew
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, click this link for the schedule/sign up page.
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