I’ve just concluded my first tour to Yellowstone for the 2014 season. My clients, two avid photographers from California, arrived at the Jackson Hole airport on time and we immediately set out to explore Grand Teton National Park for a half day trip. After shooting some landscapes and waterfowl at the Oxbow bend, we took the inner park loop road to Cascade Canyon to await the sunset. Waiting for the colors to intensify, we discussed that our trip to Yellowstone the next day included an excellent chance of viewing Grizzly bears. The bears are concentrated in the snow-free areas this time of year so our objective was to get to the Hayden Valley early. Luck was on our side and a large bear was found digging for ground squirrels about 250 yards from a turnout. With a 600mm lens, one of my clients was able to capture some nice images of the bear while his assistant used my 300mm. Moving on to the Canyon area I think they were a bit awestruck viewing the Lower Falls for the first time, as most people are! We spent the night in Gardiner in order to get an early start to the Lamar valley the next day. Once we reached the valley we came across a group of wolf watchers and although we had just missed a wolf spotting, the light was fantastic with a nice play of highlights and shadows. We photographed some landscapes and as we were packing up to visit other areas of the park, a lone wolf crossed the road and moved into view. Moving quickly to set the long lens back up, we grabbed some images of the wolf as he traversed the valley. Not a half hour later we spotted a Black bear right off the road, maybe only 35 yards away. Two more Black bears were seen in the Petrified Tree area and we spent some time photographing them before moving to the thermal areas of the park. For the next day and a half we photographed landscapes and the more common animals like Bison, Elk and some Bighorn Sheep.
The weather was great and we were fortunate enough to view and photograph two of the stars of the park, the Grizzly and Wolf. A great start to the 2014 season!