I had a bunch of fun yesterday testing out Fujifilm’s XF100-400mm in western Montana with howling winds, blowing snow and very photogenic Bison. What more could you really ask for? Perfect conditions for testing out a lens’s image stabilization and handling. The Fujifilm XF 100-400 really impressed. Trying to grab focus on an animal’s eye with falling snow is a real challenge, but the XPro2 and 100-400 worked very, very well and produced tack sharp images. The image stabilization was definitely on par with my old Canon 100-400mm and overall I was surprised at how comfortable it was to shoot. I’ll be posting a full review soon of this lens and also my thoughts on switching over from Canon to Fuji.
Just returned from a week back in Yellowstone National Park during one of my favorite seasons to explore our first park’s incredible wildlife and winter landscapes. It seems like the theme of my trip this go around was “blue & cold”, at least that’s the way a lot of my images seemed to turn out! The weather was clear and cold with temps around -20f during the mornings in the Lamar Valley which made for some interesting landscapes and also produced some pretty cool sun dogs and overall shooting atmosphere. Not to mention some cold fingers!
If you haven’t visited Yellowstone in winter, it’s really a must for nature photographers. Whether you shoot landscapes or are a dedicated wildlife shooter, the uniqueness and beauty of the park in winter really offers up something for everyone. Obviously its wildlife is some of the best in the lower 48, especially when winter arrives, but the landscapes as well can bring some pretty cool things you don’t normally get a chance to see. When the weather turns harsh, it gets even better with unique atmosphere producing sun dogs, trees with hoar frost, and dramatic fog in the valleys.
Jan-Feb is a great time to experience winter in the park and also to find the solitude that comes minus the crowds. Spending a cold morning in the Lamar Valley with only you and few others around you are quickly reminded of this. As wolves howl in the distance and frosted bison roam nearby, it’s also a reminder that you’re standing in the last little bit of wild we have here and a place that has a new surprises around every corner for photographers.
This last month I’ve had the pleasure of working with Natural Habitat Adventures on their Wolf Quest Photo Trips in Yellowstone National Park. We’ve had some amazing encounters so far and I look forward to sharing some images soon when I return home.
Weather throughout the west has been really warm and things are thawing rapidly in Yellowstone. Signs of spring are definitely here with bears out, migrating birds showing up, and remaining snow pack quickly disappearing.
This big bison was taken in the northeast corner of the park as he broke his way through some of the remaining deep snow on a cold morning in early March.
Well it’s officially cold here this morning with the thermometer reading a cool -26F this morning. Shooting when it’s this cold can be a pain sometimes, especially if you have a tendency to get cold fingers (which I do). However, as with any adverse weather, it can lead to some beautiful elements and experiences in nature.
Here’s a shot from MacDonald Pass, along the Continental Divide located near Helena, Montana. Looking for elements to put together along the sloping mountain top, I especially liked the lone trees and the dramatic shadows they were producing across the frozen landscape. And adding the sun with an aperture of f16 gave a nice extra element as well.
While out snowshoeing or skiing in the cold I usually keep my camera on a strap under my jacket so it not only keeps it from dangling around but I don’t have to continue fumbling with zippers when pulling in and out of a bag. I also wear a pair of medium weight wool blend gloves underneath my warm mittens that allow me to handle the camera, but still keep my fingers semi-warm. Fine tuning my workflow and gear in the cold seems to be an ongoing process, but each year it seems to get a little better and makes working in such cold conditions that much more enjoyable.