Most famous tree in the world

Yellowstone in Winter

Yellowstone in winter is a truly special place. The snow transforms the park into a mysterious, unearthly winter wonderland and whilst I was looking forward to visiting the national park, I was also dreading it. Our tour was to be conducted entirely by snowmobile and I was convinced that this was going to be hardcore. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Our snowmobiles were two seater affairs complete with heated seats and handgrips.  The back seats were for us to lash our camera gear to – just as well really because driving a snowmobile is so much fun that I could see rows ensuing every morning as to who would drive.

Bison walking along the river edge

Our first day out was also my birthday and what a magical day it was!  Not only did it snow, but we saw bison and even a wild bobcat. The bobcat was particularly special because sightings of them are so very rare.

Bobcat on the prowl

I watched, enchanted as the bobcat hunted along the river’s edge and successfully caught a vole. I didn’t want to leave the bobcat but the light was fading fast and we had to leave the park.

We were also lucky enough to spot trumpeter swans.  These swans were once thought to be extinct as no one realised that they wintered in the park.

Trumpeter Swans taking flight

I had hoped to photograph a Great Grey Owl in the snow.  Sadly, we arrived too late and all the owls had already migrated elsewhere. However, coyote sightings more than made up for the disappointment.

Coyote in yellowstone in winter

Yellowstone in winter is such a beautiful and unearthly place. I’m not normally into landscapes but Yellowstone is so much more than just the wildlife that call the park home.

Exploding geyser in yellowstone

On our last day, we visited Two Tops, a favourite site for snowmobilers and home to some of the most fantastic snow sculptures created by snow, wind and cold.  The landscape is utterly alien.  It really was like we were on a different planet.

Alien snow landscape

If you want to do a photographic tour of Yellowstone in winter, snowmobile is the way to do it because you can get to places that the snowcoaches can’t take you.  Also, your cameras will fare better in the constant cold temperature than the see saw of cold outside and warm inside the snowcoach.

Surveying her domain

Snow Photography

My first attempt at snow photography would be in the US and would be like no other trip we had ever done. Snow and sub zero temperatures would be the norm but we would be fulfilling another dream – to photograph wildlife in ice and snow.

Mountain Lion in snow

I was so excited because our target species would be big cats, my favourite mammal.

Staring through the snow

I mean, where else would I get the opportunity to photograph an amur tiger running towards me in snow?

Tiger running in the snow

The snow gave us clean backgrounds which made our subjects simply pop.

Bobcat in wintry snow

Although, maybe not so much when the subject happened to be a siberian lynx in its winter coat.

Looking over my shoulder

The canadian lynx was easier as her pelt was grey/brown in colour.

Canadian Lynx stare

The black panther was less than pleased to be out in the snow. She proved to be a challenge due to her colouring but we simply exposed for her and this seemed to work well.

Run

For the gorgeous black fox, I decided to turn the image black and white to keep the image clean. Yes, I know the fox is not a cat but given the opportunity to do a spot of snow photography with other mammals, we jumped at the chance.

Black Fox in snow

There was also the opportunity to photograph other species such as bears and wolves.

Bears at play snow photography

The wolf pack proved to be a lot of fun and provided us with many opportunities to capture their natural behaviour.

Wolf Pack

But for me, the highlight was hearing the whole pack howl in response to the alpha female’s call. So hauntingly beautiful and such an honour to hear and witness.

Call of the wild

If you would like to see more images from this trip, please check out my gallery below.