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| p.1 #4 · Yellowstone - late april or early may |
On the advice of other photographers, I went there last year (2012) in the 3rd week of May for two+ weeks. Photography conditions depend on the residual snow and weather. If the snow persists, many roads will be closed into June--limiting photo access to only the main artery roads. However, one open artery road is between Cooke City and Gardiner--through the Lamar Valley--a prime location for bison, wolves, bears, badgers, etc. Spring weather is iffy--if the area is in deep, gray cloud cover, you will have limited light without the benefit of puffy cloud backgrounds or moody ground fog. Also, contrary to some web information, you will not "beat the crowds" in the last half of May. There were many people jamming locations where any animals were within camera range (or beyond camera range, too). Expect the few, but inevitable, morons running up to the bison for photo opportunities. (In hindsight, the photo opportunity could be yours, if you want to post the goring on YouTube.) All the cars, chirping car horns, slamming car doors, yelling spouses ("Who has the keys, Honey do you have the keys? Where's Donny? .... Did you lock the car? Beep Beep. The car's locked...") keep the animals at a distance. Also, many of the animals will be shedding their winter coats--and looking ragged. To catch wolves and bears around winter carcasses, earlier would be better, but weather may hamper your shooting opportunities. Also, a high-clearance 4wd vehicle will allow you to pull off the road in the rougher parking areas that have a considerable drop-off from the pavement to the gravel, but fewer tourists raising havoc. Based on my spring experience, when I go back, it will be in the fall, after school starts, and the animals and landscape will be in prime condition.