Generally speaking, I like to think wildlife photography requires equal measures of stealth and patience, guile and skill.
But not always.
Sometimes you’re fiddling with the radio and minding your own business when a herd of large, brown ungulates pops up in front of you, altogether unexpectedly. After the requisite swerving, braking and swearing, the rest of the job is fairly straightforward.
I had crested the Continental Divide, the highway topping 7,000 feet with a howling squall at my back. Both the wind and temperature were somewhere in the 30’s, and dark clouds spat rain and then pellets of sleet before settling on horizontal snow.
Yellowstone in the off season is not without its charms. Chief among them the relative absence of tourists. More than three million tourists flock each year to the park, but the vast majority swarm like locusts during the short summer. Weeks before Memorial Day in the teeth of a spring blizzard, traffic was merely annoying, not yet rage-inducing. A minivan full of chain-smoking French tourists did try to ride an elk, but it was strictly a pre-season exhibition.
When the bison appeared, everyone formed up in an orderly queu and we made our evolutionarily improbable way down the narrow park two-lane.