Monday, November 22, 2010

Basketball Season is Upon Us!

Winter is here, and that means BASKETBALL season!!!  I started out the season with an 8th grade girl's game Thursday night at Spearfish Middle School between the Spearfish Spartans and the Douglas Patriots.  Some game highlights are below, but all of the images can be viewed and purchased on my website at Thompson Photography.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Third Day in the Park

Today was terrific!  Full of bears, otters, swans, elk, and more bears!  I started off before daylight heading to the West Entrance, hoping to possibly catch some bull elk in the morning light in the Madison River or on Gibbon Flats.  I did find some big boys, but they weren't doing much; evidently they had been up most the night and were already down for the day.  The hot days were really messing things up for us photographers, with most of the wildlife not becoming active until after the sun was going down, and bedding down earlier in the morning than usual.  They were already sporting their winter coats, and they were not enjoying the 80-degree days!  I did luck out and find one beautiful park inhabitant that wasn't affected by the heat...a trumpeter swan out for a morning swim!

Trumpeter swan in the Madison River

After getting a few shots of the swan, I headed back towards the center of the park.  I hadn't gone far when I saw quite a few cars stopped by the river, so I pulled over to see what they were watching.  River otters!  However, it appeared the show was over, as everyone but two guys were heading back to their cars.  I went ahead and grabbed my camera and headed over to where they were, and they said the otters had headed into the grass on the other side of the river.  Well, I sat down with them, and it wasn't a couple minutes later and the otters were back, quite a ways downstream.  We grabbed our cameras and the chase was on!  The three of us proceeded to photograph the two little clowns for about 20 minutes, probably packing our big lens about half a mile downstream, but it was worth it to watch their antics! 

Pair of river otters in the Madison River

After hiking back to my truck, I heard on my scanner that there was a grizzly on a kill in Hayden Valley, so I headed that direction, hoping to get some good grizzly shots.  However, once I got there, even my 600mm lens with an extender wasn't enough for a good shot, as she was still just a brown lump in the picture.  Oh well...there were a lot of spotting scopes set up and it was still cool to watch her! While there, the park ranger said there was another grizzly on a kill that he had just taken from some wolves at Indian Pond, and he was a lot closer, so I loaded up and headed off once again! I only made it to the edge of Hayden Valley when I noticed a little coyote hunting right on the side of the road, so I had to stop and watch him for a while.  He was so pretty in his winter coat!

Who has the beer and pizza?

Now this was more like it!  He was still pretty far away, and when I first got there, he was lying in the shade, so the light was terrible, but I set up camp with all of the other bear watchers, and we waited for the show to begin!  As the time passed, so did the sun, and the light moved onto the bear...eventually warming him up, and waking him up! 

After moving into the shade a couple of times, standing and watching us, as we were watching him, he finally decided to go for a swim to cool off.  He played in the water for about 20 minutes, splashing, diving, and swimming!

He finally got out of the water, headed around the pond, crossed the road, and wandered off through the trees.

 It was getting late, and since I was almost to the east entrance and had to go all the way back to Mammoth, I decided it was time to call it a day and head back to camp.  With over 600 pictures on my camera from the day, I figured I had made up for barely taking any yesterday!  As I drove back to Mammoth, I passed a bear jam at Petrified Tree, but seeing it was the scruffy little yearling, I just drove on by, figuring I would get more of him the next day! As I pulled into Mammoth, I stopped before heading down into the campground to call Tom, as the signal is stronger, but I had to talk over the bugling elk to be heard! I finally gave up and headed to camp!