Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Yellowstone's Coyote Babies

We discovered (with many other people) the coyote babies early during our visit to the park. While the coyote puppies in Rocky Mountain were a long distance away, the babies near the Gibbon River were very near the road. So needless to say, I was excited.

The first day we saw them, the park service had not put up the cones and signs, so the line of people was on the same side of the road as the den. I pulled out the big lens and tripod started out on one end of the line. As people moved on to other sights, I worked my way closer into the line of photographers for my shots of the coyote pups.

Everyone was quiet, orderly and respectful of the den and the pups.

We could see the mother come down the cliff, but she would not come on to the den. The lighting was bright, but I felt like I got some dramatic shots of her. But I was worried when she finally headed off to the river behind us to hunt without having fed the pups. So I packed up for the day, planning to come back, figuring I did not need to be adding to her anxiety.

We got out early the next morning and this den was my first stop. There were already a few people lined up, but I felt like I was positioned well enough. All seemed quiet, when all of a sudden from the grassy area above the den by the cliff, mother coyote stood up, stretched, and headed down to the puppies. When she got to the den the puppies streamed out to greet her . . . and to get that most important meal of the day, breakfast.

I went back a number of times while we were in Yellowstone. Some days we would go by and I would see the horde of people and we would just keep on going. Other times we would come by when the pups were in the den and there weren't that many people. I would get set up and wait.

I set up for photography about 6 different times and took over 680 photos. Most of the are more memory photos. The ones in the blog are probably the best ones. I'm thinking about doing another blog about the challenges in taking these kinds of shots. I've posted these photos on my website on the Yellowstone Coyote Webpage . You can see larger views of these photos by clicking on the thumbnails at the site. I'll be posting more as I have time to work them.

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