Posted by: David Vernon | September 15, 2010

PDT Special #2 – Out of Illinois

Welcome to an off-week installment of Project DoubleTake, where we celebrate getting out of Illinois for a change this summer. And we’re both thrilled to take you to two American icons. And yes – even though we’ve published PDT SP#3 already, we’re backtracking one number because it’s our project. It’s good to be the Kings (and Queens).

Back in June I spent a couple days in Yellowstone National Park – which was quite, quite lovely. On our way out of the park, via the northeast entrance, we passed through the Lamar Valley – often called the Serengeti of Yellowstone (this isn’t Wikipedia – I don’t have to cite it – it just is).  The valley is famous for its abundant wildlife and our morning drive under famous Wyoming blue skies with puffy clouds was no exception. Yellowstone’s bison heard numbers in the thousands and I have the feeling that a good half of them were laid out in front of us that morning – wandering the grassy plains. And while they were thick across the Yellowstone River, they were sparse up near the road. But like most things in Wyoming – conditions can change quickly and before you know it we had about a dozen or so animals right beside us on the road.

Now Yellowstone’s bison are probably more dangerous then the grizzlies up there. The reason for that is that the bison look like big cows and appear tame and mellow – while everyone knows the grizz will rip you to shreds in a few seconds. Therefore people do many more careless things around the buffaloes – dare I say stupid things – and sometimes the bison take exception to this.  I had photographed a few bison from a safer distance during the trip but hadn’t gotten the shot I had been visualizing. We parked the car on the shoulder while two large males ate the verdant and tall grasses about six feet from the passenger side of the car (my wife was videoing the whole thing with the window down – she was closer then I ever got but then she looked like a Honda Civic – at least to a buffalo). I was out behind the car – about 10 feet away with the 10-24mm lens. I made sure to keep a good part of the car between me and the bison at all times (totally ignoring the bison 20′ behind me on the other side of the road – dumb careless things…) and got my shot – with sky, valley, and mighty bison in the foreground. Here it was June – and they were still shedding their winter coat. Silly Wyoming weather. But happy photographer.

Stacy – on the other hand – hit the also iconic Lake Michigan back in August. And she hit a home run at sunset one evening with one of the nicest pictures I’ve ever seen her take. The tone, color, and mood just transport me. Just wow. I’ll let her tell the whole story (I suspect a 10-stop neutral density filter was at work!) on her blog but nice job Ms. Hanna.

Okay – no rest for the wicked. We’re back next week with our next regular installment of PDT – Polaroids! And Stacy and I are taking a little trip to work on PDT Special Project #4 – Parks. More on that shortly – cause we picked one whopper of a park to photograph.

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