Yellowstone – Images by Jason Savage
It was great to be in Yellowstone last week as it had been quite a while since I had been there during the summer season. Most years it seems I spend most of my time there during the winter months, so it was nice to see some green along with all the bison and elk calves running around. Always a treat! Hopefully will make a longer trip down later this summer, here’s a few images from last weeks trip.
Coyote, Yellowstone N.P. © Jason Savage
Here are a few shots from this weekend down in Yellowstone National Park. I headed down there last Saturday to see what was happening in the park and what the conditions were looking like. Also I wanted to test out a Canon 7d that I recently picked up for use as a backup body and for occasional wildlife use.
There was actually quite a bit of snow going from Gardiner up to Cooke City at the northern boundary of the park and a ton of wildlife out. Conditions this last week in Montana have been sketchy at best and I have been cursing the weatherman more than once. Montana was sitting right on the edge of an arctic front from Canada and it didn’t know if it was coming or going, or I should say the weatherman didn’t know if it was coming or going. It certainly made things hard to predict, but we ended getting a ton of warm weather and high winds, which has wiped out a good portion of the snow we had and really made a mess of things.
But, you sometimes have to roll with the punches and make the best of it. Saturday I managed to get a little bit of shooting in and really got to test out the Canon 7d and surprisingly, it’s a really awesome camera.
I normally use Canon 5dII’s and 1 series bodies, for most of my photography. I use the 1d series for backup and wildlife photography, but really prefer the smaller bodies, especially when trying to travel light, so I normally use the 5dII for a majority of my work. The 7d looked like it might have the potential for a great wildlife body, especially in the much smaller size than the 1 series. It has a great auto focus system and shoots 8 frames per second with close to 18 million pixels on a 1.6 crop sensor. I was a little concerned about the noise issues people have reported, especially with so many pixels on a small sensor, but when doing comparisons, it’s really not bad at all and certainly great image quality for a crop sensor. Not to mention it has some really great focusing customizations not seen on any other Canon camera. I give it an A so far in my book, especially if you’re looking for a great wildlife body and on a budget or if looking for something a little more lighter than a 1 series. It’s also sealed up pretty well, Canon says equivalent to the Canon 1dn(film body), which was one of my favorite 35mm cameras I’ve owned, and that one was sealed pretty good, so the 7d should be able to take some abuse.
With the great wildlife and the always fun of testing out new equipment, it was a nice time in the Park. Soon we will have more snow and more great opportunities for photography in Yellowstone, matter of fact, it’s snowing right now:)
Bison, Yellowston N.P. © Jason Savage
300mmf4+1.4tc, f6.7, 1/1000 ISO 800
Mountain Grouse, Yellowstone N.P. © Jason Savage
300mmf4+1.4tc, f5.6, 1/500 ISO 4000
Bighorn Sheep, Yellowstone N.P. © Jason Savage
300mmf4+1.4tc,f5.6, 1/8 ISO 6400
I went out this last weekend with Canon’s 500mm f/4L lens with full intentions of putting it through it’s paces to see how it would handle some demanding shooting situations.
I had intended to catch the tale end of the snow geese migration at Freezeout Lake, but that’s a story in itself. Let’s just say it’s better to stay on top of the local bird reports, rather than just having an overly optimistic expectation that “although it’s near the end of the migration in Montana, there still should be adequate numbers to photograph”.
To make a long story short-No Birds. Notta. Every single last one gone.
However I had a very nice drive before Sunrise.
I suppose that’s what I get for not being a little more on top of things.
In any case I drove my *&%$#! off on Saturday and left Freezout lake, heading to Ovando. Given the situation I decided to make what I could of the day.
Canadian Goose.©Jason Savage
I stopped by Brown’s lake to see what was happening. It was still frozen solid and not much happening. Except for a few Canadian Geese hanging out there wasn’t much to photograph. Next it was the National Bison range and this looked much better. The hills were just starting to green up and the Bison looked great. Later in the afternoon it started to pour rain, so I decided to explore around the area. I found a whole group of baby lambs huddled underneath a big tree trying to stay dry from the rain. They didn’t look very excited about their situation.
Finally toward the end of the day I made it to Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge. Things were definetly more happening and there were a ton more birds then I had seen all day.
In front of my lens as l looked out across the pond I spotted, Osprey,Ring-necked Pheasent, Whitetail Deer, Great Blue Heron, Mallard Ducks, Hooded Mergansers and a few others. This was all within a very small area. Truly a testament to the rich diversity of wildlife that the Refuge holds.
Ring-necked Pheasant.©Jason Savage
So after spending some time really getting to work this lens- all I can say is that it’s in a class of it’s own. Not only are the images unbelievably sharp, but the autofocus is lightning quick and it’s image stabilization works very, very well. Although it’s a large lens, it’s weight is not bad coming in at a little under 9lbs.
Overall, there is not one bad thing I can think to say about this lens other than the price. At $5,800, it’s big hit to the pocketbook, but for the quality and ability to capture hard to reach scenes, I would say if you are a serious bird or wildlife photographer, it’s well worth it.
Great Blue Herons.©Jason Savage
The Yellowstone park service has just announced the opening of some of the roads inside the park. Click here for the link……