Wildlife photography in Yellowstone and Grand Teton in mid September
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Aug 13, 2013 6:23 AM Last Post By: mrmrst
Aug 11, 2013 12:03 PM
Wildlife photography in Yellowstone and Grand Teton in mid SeptemberHi there,
I'm going to Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP for about 9 days - I've just rented a car. My main aim is to do wildlife photography focusing on the big stuff - bears, deer, wolves, moose, elk, bald eagles, beavers, ospreys etc. also smaller mammals like marmots and prairie dogs.
Being wildlife I'm very aware that they are not predictable and certain animals are more likely to be seen - like bison and elk.
Are there any places with a better chance of spotting stuff? I'll be going in mid September. Any behaviours to look out for?? I hear the elk may be in their rut already.
Aug 11, 2013 1:09 PM
1I know little about those parks and nothing about photography.
But I know a LOT of wildlife shows itself near the edge of the woods around sunrise and sunset.
It's hard to see big mammals, but they seem to like the combination of woods and field (the wood's edge) and seem to be scared of going there when the sun is too strong. I guess they are scared of something.
Osprey etc. are not too hard to spot at a distance, but I don't know enough about photography to tell you how to take a picture of a rapidly moving tiny brown dot on the horizon.
Yellowstone is known for one or more really big geysers so check those out. The wolves are back in Yellowstone and I assume would be photogenic as well (they are mostly sunset hunters and tend to lie around and lick themselves during the heat of the day.) Yellowstone also has bison but they are considered kind of cow-like and not many photographers go after them.
Bighorn sheep exist both in Yellowstone and GT. If you can get footage of bighorn sheep banging their horns into each other (to compete for mating space) pat yourself on the back twice because you have just won the grand prize of wildlife photography.
Second prize is for catching footage of Grizzly bears catching salmon as the salmon leap up some small waterfall, but I don't expect you'll see a whole lot of that where you are going. (mostly a Pacific NW thing.)
Enjoy your journey.
Edited by: LongIslandBob
Aug 11, 2013 1:23 PM
Aug 11, 2013 1:42 PM
3It depends on how quickly Winter temperatures set in this year as to where you are most likely to find the mammals. The elk and bison do migrate to lower elevations, such as to the elk preserve near Jackson, at the entrance to Teton National Park. Bison may be seen migrating toward the entrance at Mammoth Hot Springs at the northern edge of Yellowstone NP. Osprey probably migrate toward the Pacific Ocean, southwest. Pelicans and swans also will migrate southwest. There is a bird migration corridor over Salt Lake City through Utah. There is also a bird migration corridor along the front range of the Rocky Mountains southward to New Mexico and Mexico. Waterfowl -- ducks, geese, swans, sandhill cranes -- fly southward in September and October. The migrating songbirds and hummingbirds will have already flown south.
Aug 11, 2013 4:03 PM
Aug 11, 2013 6:44 PM
Aug 12, 2013 12:50 PM
6Yellowstone is a wildlife photographer's paradise. You can find great photographic opportunities for many of the species you list. Some are easier (bison, elk) than others (wolf, grizzly bear). But if you put in the time in the right places, you'll have great opportunities.
The Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley are where you should focus your efforts for many of these species.
Check out this blog on where to see (and photograph) Yellowstone wildlife: http://blog.nature.org/science/2013/07/23/traveling-naturalist-5-top-spots-to-see-yellowstones-wildlife/
Aug 13, 2013 6:21 AM
7Animals are most active in early morning and early evening, otherwise they tend to stay in sheltered and comfy areas they can relax. Wolfs, Bears and and mountain lions/cats rarely are out and bout in daylight, especially when human traffic is around. When we were in Yellowstone last early September, the Lamar Valley hiking was best for seeing both wildlife and nice vistas. The most bears and wolves we saw were never in the park, but where we rented a cabin up in a valley 17 miles north of the Gardiner entrance, in Tom Miner area on the Yellowstone river, each early morning (cold) and eevening at sunset, they would come out of the forest above to the meadows below to feed and move about. The Gallitan National Forest surrounds this area, and is only visited by a few hikers and horseback riders and hunters.
The scenery in YSNP is drop dead gorgeous, but finding most the animals is hard to see and get close. We spent days in the park, and I have to say, you need to get out of the car, park it, and hike for hours up and over the valleys, and away from the crowds usually.
There is plenty of Bison though in the park, sometimes herds hold up traffic, and of course, tourist get way to close to them, and dont realize they can charge you and move very fast in a short distance.
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