A wildlife-less day (or month...)

Published: 03/17/2020

Early Spring is always a tough time for wildlife photography in my opinion -- birds have left, but typically haven't arrived yet, and the weather is still hard enough that finding things can be challenging, and the days aren't really long enough yet to put in afternoon miles. 

This year hasn't been much different! I haven't seen much at all in the past month -- some raptors, some pronghorn, some passerines, and a ton of tracks. But actually matching a track to an animal in front of my lens has been a real challenge. I've been, as they say, getting beat up by the wildlife. 

I went out a week or so back looking for something, anything!, and pretty predictably struck out. With that said, when you strike out in Wyoming versus NJ, you're generally treated to some pretty awesome landscapes. Between rolling Winter storms and sunset, you're often in luck with a pretty cool scene in front of you if you can capitalize on it.

Some snow had started to roll in quickly and was catching the light really well over the mountains. Using a telephoto lets here works really well to bring out the light, clouds, and general textures. I really like the play between yellow and blue here.

After the storm rolled by, the sunset started to poke through giving some really cool skies. From here it was "find something for the foreground!' mode. After poking around the prairie for a while I found this pronghorn skull. So not a completely wildlife-less outing, I was just a year too late to photograph this one :).

This shot didn't do super well on social media, not that that's the goal, but I always find it interesting which shots do well and which fall flat with that audience and medium. In contrast, I really like this shot a lot -- the sky looks awesome, the mountains look pretty cool, and I love the snow drift behind the skull. Maybe it's a little dark with the skull, or maybe you just had to be there, but it's probably my favorite shot of 2021 so far. We'll see how it fairs up in my 'Top 10 of 2021' blog post in December...

All in all, I think I saw a few distant pronghorn, some fox and coyote tracks, and a distant eagle, but I was pretty happy to walk away with these two shots. With that said -- fingers crossed for some more wildlife and birds -- looking at you Grouse leks!

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