All the Shades of Brown

A close-up of the face and shoulder of a male American bison, showing the many shades of brown in his fur, taken near Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in September 2011

As I sat beside the road, playing around with close-ups of the mothers and their young, the old bulls eventually ambled into view. These would be my favorite shots from this trip in the fall of 2011, what I love most about this one is that even though I often think of them as being one shade of brown, I am reminded, bison contain multitudes. As was often the case in Wyoming, many of my favorite encounters would be on the trails but many of my favorite pictures would be near the road. I hope you had a good life, not-so-little one.

Baby Pictures

A close-up view of the face and tiny horn of an American bison calf as it looks at me near Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in September 2011

An American bison calf gives me a quick look with mom as a backdrop. I had my big lens with me on that trip and was shooting the herd from the road so everyone was relaxed. Taken in the fall of 2011, it’s hard to believe that was my last trip to Wyoming but later trips were canceled due to government shutdowns and the occasional early storm. I doubt I’ll visit again for a long while as there are too many places closer to here I want to explore during my limited time off, until then my many fond memories will have to tide me over.

A close-up view of the face and tiny horn of an American bison calf near Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in September 2011

Love

A close-up view of the side of a face of a male American bison near Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in September 2011

After falling in love in Yellowstone with the colors and patterns of Mammoth Hot Springs, later the moss of the rain forests of the Olympics, then the bark of the ancient redwoods of California, I finally merged my love of small details in a larger landscape with another and greater love, the wildlife I had been shooting for years.

I dreamt of taking this picture for many months before my trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone, thinking I might get a shot at it in Yellowstone, but instead I found a bison herd near the road on my last morning in the Tetons and was able to photograph from the safety of the car. Afterwards I was so nervous I could barely bring myself to review the pictures on the camera to see if I had gotten the picture I so hoped for. When I came to this picture of one of the bulls, I stopped worrying and left for Yellowstone full of joy.