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.


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.

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