When I finished a morning walk around Yellowstone National Park‘s Upper Geyser Basin, I was disappointed that I hadn’t seen bison roaming the area. I had seen them the previous evening and part of my motivation for the early walk was to photograph them in the park without visitors around.
However, when I decided it was time to pack up my camera gear and get out of the cold, I noticed a group of photographers shooting with their huge telephoto lenses set up on tripods. It was easy to see what they were capturing on camera: two bison sitting near geysers in front of the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. I knew frost covered their fur on very cold nights; I needed side light to make the ice crystals appear in my picture.
I walked past the herd of photographers and just when I got to the point where the bison were closest to the path, I quickly knelt down to shoot without a telephoto lens.
Photo tip: The best light to show the frost on the bison fur was side light. I wish I could say that I figured out the perfect shutter speed and aperture combination to minimize image blur, but my hands were too cold to change the settings. Instead, I shot three to four frames with the camera set to aperture priority mode, ensuring that at least one of them would be sharp.