Greetings and Welcome!

I've been photographing Wyoming and all of its wild residents for my entire 38 year career, and it never gets old or tiring. If the good Lord gave me several lifetimes I could not accomplish all that I dream of or visit all of the places in this state I've called home for 57 years.

I have two websites currently that showcase my work at and There you will see galleries of landscape images, Wyoming's wildlife and wildflowers and special galleries of my favorite place, Yellowstone National Park and my favorite large mammal, Bison Bison or the buffalo as many call them. There is a special gallery dedicated to this fascinating creature and I've even made a special tribute print called 'Tatanka and the Iron Horse - the Decimations Haunting Specter' remembering the near extinction of this most significant symbol of the west. My intrigue for this wonderful animal will continue for as long as I can make trips to photograph them.

You can read all about my work, my career and individual pictures by visiting the website, but here I will share with you special places that have particular interest to me, see how I travel and shoot my images, read about some of my past and present experiences, meet friends that have shared special times with me, hear my ramblings about equipment, and hopefully respond to some of your comments.

Well, that is enough of an introduction. Welcome to my world - Images of Wyoming.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Photographers and Grizzly Bears" an audio interview with Larry Roop

Last week I told you about what could happen when you are out in the wilderness making images and come upon a food cache of a Grizzly Bear. Sometimes you 'happen on' a circumstance that could lead to a problem meeting with an intolerant bear. Please be 'bear aware' when working in areas of Wyoming inhabited by these animals.

Well, this weeks story is about a photographer who had a bad encounter with a Grizzly that had a tragic ending. It didn't happen by a chance encounter or stumbling into a situation unawares. Instead this story is result of the all too common occurrence that happens in places like Yellowstone. I see these things happen nearly every year. Photographers or wanna be photographers do careless things around wild animals in hopes of getting the elusive prize winning image that we all dream of. People with cameras are too often guilty of breaking the rules of the Park or just ignoring good common sense. Many, if not most, escape their own stupidity without consequence. But, push the envelope once too often or with a different animal than your past experience gave you, and you may end up like the man in this story.

As always with these interviews, all the material is copyrighted 2009 Images of Wyoming and may not be reproduced in part or in whole, in any form without the express written permission of Larry Roop and Jerry Geist. Listen to the audio for your own education and information, but do not attempt to reproduce it. You will be prosecuted.

This is not a story with a pleasant outcome, so if you have a weak stomach or are not able to handle the harsh reality of what could happen in the wilderness, you may choose to pass on this interview. To proceed, just double click on this link to the audio interview with Larry Roop about the Photographer and the Grizzly Bear.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Spring Coming and Some Things to be Prepared For

I can't believe that Spring is just around the corner. As I've considered the interviews that I've had with Larry Roop about bears, I've been recalling some past experiences and things I need to be thinking about as I get ready to get out in the field. I'm planning a trip for some more winter images in early March in the greater Yellowstone area of Wyoming and though there will still be lots of snowy winter conditions, it is this month when the early bear risers will be leaving their dens. Last year I saw my first Black Bear in the middle of March along the north loop road. In other parts of the park, there was still too much snow, but at least one fella was out and looking for food. That is the reason for this post.

When bears come out of their dens, they are hungry and that consumes their every waking thought. It is not romance that interests them, but a steak dinner. Since bears are omnivores they have widely varied diets, but the greens they eat are still covered in snow very early in the season, so it is meat that is their primary focus. The source is from winter kills of animals weakened by the hard winter conditions or the leftovers of other predators like wolves that are active throughout the winter. Either source provides bears with much needed protein and since bears, especially Grizzlies, are at the top of the food chain, when they get wind of dinner and find it, they can become quite dangerous and extremely protective of their newly claimed food caches.

Two years ago when I was out early in the season and working along the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone I came upon a sight that terrified me because I knew what it meant. I paused only long enough to make the picture you see here. The elk carcass was fresh and whether it was a winter killed animal or taken by a predator, it was now a prime rib dinner for Grizzlies. It had been fed upon recently and if it had been claimed by a bear, he or she was not too far from what would be the next meal. It is one of the things outdoor photographers need to be very aware of. Only a short distance from this carcass, I was getting ready to make a panorama image and out from the trees came a pair of two-year-old Grizzly cubs. They were easily within smelling distance of this elk. I didn't see Mama and it was probably for one of two reasons. Either she had recently booted the kids out to live on their own or she was in the trees. Either way, this was not a good situation.

Dangerous bear encounters happen from one of several primary reasons and I want to list them for you here. These are in no particular order, but stories you will hear from Larry in future recordings will probably be in relationship to one of these things. Bears with cubs are deadly. Mama will do anything to protect her offspring and is absolutely fearless. Secondly, bears that are protecting a food source don't put up with anyone or anything that is a threat to what they consider to be theirs - the situation I've run into many times. Thirdly, bears that feel cornered or trapped will attack with sometimes deadly results. They are not unlike many animals, but when you consider the size, power and sometimes unruly behaviors of these animals, the outcome can be much more serious. Lastly, a bear that is either very young and having trouble finding food or a very old bear that can no longer acquire food easily is very dangerous and will take advantage of any opportunity to take an easy prey and sometimes that has been a relatively helpless human being. Most bear attacks or encounters happen because of one of these things, so we all need to be very bear aware when in the wilderness and especially in the very early or very late transitional seasons when bears are hungry following a long hibernation or preparing for denning and gorging themselves to add layers of fat. This is called hyperfasia.

So knowing that the season is coming up very soon, I'll be changing my own awareness of my surroundings and arming myself with pepper spray and in certain locations a shotgun. And you can be sure that I will steer clear and give a wide berth to anything that looks like the property of a Grizzly Bear. With this as a background you won't want to miss the next audio recording from my interviews with Larry Roop. If you think these warnings are ridiculous as I've heard others tell me, you might change your mind when you hear the next story. There will be more in the weeks and months to come if you are not easily convinced. Your knowledge of the wilderness and its inhabitants can be a matter of life or death and to take your experience lightly can be a dangerous thing to do.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Audio Recording #1 - Larry Roop's Grizzly Bear Stories " Larry's Background and Our Meeting"

I promised you some interviews with my best friend and long time colleague, Larry Roop. Larry and I met shortly after his arrival in Wyoming working intially as an editor for Wyoming Wildlife Magazine and ultimately as the state's Grizzly Bear Biologist. Enclosed is that conversation about our meeting and the subsequent work we both enjoyed as employees for the state of Wyoming. Our friendship has lasted nearly 40 years and we continue to shoot pictures together nearly every year. Here is a picture taken of us together in Yellowstone last year.

I felt like this interview was a good starting place to give you some background about Larry's expertise as a wildlife biologist and photographer. Trust me, the interviews to follow will pique your interest and at times make you laugh or reel in horror at these accounts of Grizzly Bears and our encounters with them as people who love and enjoy the magnificent beauty that is Wyoming and its wild creatures.

All materials and information contained in this audio clip are copyrighted and the sole property of Larry Roop and Jerry Geist - Images of Wyoming, copyright 2009. This material may not be used in part or full in any form for any purpose without the express permission of Larry Roop or Jerry Geist. These recordings are made for your enjoyment and education but any illegal use or copyright infringement will be prosecuted.

Click on this link to hear Larry's story of coming to Wyoming. Then stay tuned for more stories in the weeks and months to come. Your default media player will load and begin playing this file after a short download period. This is about a 15 minute interview. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Grizzly Bear Stories on Their Way

I told you I had a big surprise for you and I should have a special post coming to you very shortly. Here's what you can expect. In my biography and other stories about my beginnings and experiences as a photographer, I told you that I was able to photograph my best friend and a Grizzly Bear Biologist, Larry Roop having spent more than 2 and half years in the field with him. We had many wonderful experiences in those years and now I'm putting those stories in an audio format for you to hear.

This is going to be an incredible experience for you and I hope you wait anxiously for each installment. I think there will be many to come. I purchased a digital recorder just for the purpose of getting these stories recorded. Each is told by Larry himself. Rarely in one's lifetime would you the opportunity to sit and listen to these stories in person. Some will be funny, some will be frightening and a few absolutely horrifying. These are very dangerous animals and should you come to Wyoming and take your pictures, you are likely to find yourself in parts of the state where these animals live. I want these postings to be a valuable resource for anyone that spends time in our wild outdoors. I've had many close encounters and the season is coming when I will be out in wild places once again. You can never be too cautious when working in Grizzly Bear country.

These are not hearsay stories but come from a true expert in the field of wildlife biology with a special knowledge of bears. Larry and I continue to be best friends and still after a 39 year relationship, take pictures together and reminisce about the years when bears were such a major part of our lives and careers. Along with the audio recordings, I will share some of the images I made on those many trips, and Larry has agreed to allow me to use some of his pictures. What a treat!

I've made 10 recordings to date so they are on the computer, but I'm just working out the details for you to play them without a hitch. We will be doing more stories when we get together for our midwinter trip to the Park coming in just a few weeks.

If you've not subscribed to email notification of new posts to my blog, now would be a great time to do so. You won't want to miss these stories when a new one is posted. Just click on the email notification link on the top left of this page. It is simple to subscribe.

Talk to High School Photo Students

Last week the photo class from Burns High School traveled to Cheyenne on a blustery and stormy afternoon to meet with me at Deselms Fine Art Gallery. Their teacher, Carol Sacco had asked me to share with them something of my background telling them how I got started in photography, some of my career experiences, and talk about some of my current work.

Not being one to pass on any chance to talk to folks about my passions, I welcomed the opportunity. As many of these young people were getting their feet wet in photography, I shared with them about when I got my first camera, something of my early mentors and how things were in days long since passed. In this image you can see me showing them the 'press camera' I was taught on. Boy, looking at this picture really makes me feel old. I was starting my career in photography more than 24 years before these young people were even born.

Even flashbulbs were out of fashion before their day had come. Does the mention of those things bring back any memories for some of you? Though we only had an hour together, we did get around to looking at the large panoramas and talking about how they were made. Technology continues to change and it is no easy thing to keep up with, but I've been privileged to live in a time when many huge changes have taken place and getting to share some of those things was a lot of fun for us all.

After our time together, they went to the main gallery to see the artwork or other folks and get to talk to one of the painter's whose work adorns Deselms Main Gallery. Thanks Carol, for bringing your kids to Cheyenne. It was fun for me and I hope for you all. These images are used courtesy of Carol.