Yellowstone in April Photo Gallery by Dave Shumway

April can be a mystery box of opportunities in Yellowstone, as it seems each year the snow levels and activity are completely differen
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April starts the spring thaw and with spring comes road openings. It can be a mystery box of opportunities in Yellowstone, as it seems each year the snow levels are completely different and the “activity” goes hand and hand with the amount of snow.

Copyright Dave Shumway

A boar Grizzly Bear snacks on a winter kill carcass near Old Faithful on a cloudy April morning. With staggering amounts of winter snow fall there were over five winter kills within 100 yards of that carcass (Near Old Faithful). Shot with a Canon 7D with a 500/4.0L IS set in manual mode set at f/5.0, 1/500th of a second, and ISO400. Shot from a Gitzo 3540XLS with an Induro GHB2 gimbal head and custom long lens support.

I find April to be another good month to find and photograph wolves, as well as the first really good month to find a photograph both black and grizzly bears. Some years I spend time birding the migration in April, but in years like 2012 there were far too many wolves and bears to photograph to find time for the birds… next year maybe.

Copyright Dave Shumway

An "unknown" grey wolf rests above the Gardiner River after snacking on an Elk carcass in the China Garden of Yellowstone National Park. Captured with a Canon 7D and 500/4.0L IS + 1.4TC III in aperture priority mode with an exposure bias of + 2/3 at ISO800, f/6.3, and 1/200th of a second. The camera was mounted on a Gitzo 3540XLS and Induro GHB2 gimbal head with a custom long lens support.

Copyright Dave Shumway

The Canyon Pack Alpha Female, Wolf, walks along a ridge above the Gardiner River in Yellowstone National Park. Captured with a Canon 7D and 500/4.0L IS + 1.4TC III in aperture priority mode with an exposure bias of + 2/3 at ISO200, f/7.1, and 1/640th of a second. The camera was resting on a beanbag.

Copyright Dave Shumway

The Canyon Pack celebrates morning with hugs and kisses near their Elk carcass in the China Garden of Yellowstone National Park. Captured with a Canon 5D III and 500/4.0L IS in aperture priority mode with an exposure bias of + 2/3 at ISO3200, f/4.0, and 1/160th of a second. The camera was mounted on a Gitzo 3540XLS and Induro GHB2 gimbal head with a custom long lens support.

Some things happen in Yellowstone that humans do not get to see, and some things happen that seem so magical and rare that they could never happen again…this is the latter, or so some thought.

I made my way towards an overlook to watch a carcass that belonged to the Canyon Wolf Pack and waited, lucky for me the wait was short before the Alpha Female made her way to eat and then surprised all of the photographs when she approached us to drink from the Gardiner River. After she left four photographers stated that; “I bet no one have ever seen or photographed something so amazing before or will ever again.” I smiled because I had, but let them leave with their “once in a lifetime” shots. The next morning I was back in the area, waiting some more, when the Alpha Female reappeared ate and then approached the much smaller group of photographers and drank again, within about 20 meters of where she had drank the night before. Here is the photographing proof that “lightning” can strike the same place twice.

The “first” time, in the evening

Copyright Dave Shumway

The Canyon Pack Alpha Female, Wolf, drinks from the Gardiner River after snacking on an Elk carcass in the China Garden of Yellowstone National Park. Captured with a Canon 5D III and 500/4.0L IS + 1.4TC III in aperture priority mode with an exposure bias of + 1 at ISO800, f/7.1, and 1/250th of a second. The camera was mounted on a Gitzo 3540XLS and Induro GHB2 gimbal head with a custom long lens support.

The following morning

Copyright Dave Shumway

The Canyon Pack Alpha Female, Wolf, drinks from the Gardiner River after snacking on an Elk carcass in the China Garden of Yellowstone National Park (very near photographers for the second day in a row). Captured with a Canon 5D III and 500/4.0L IS in aperture priority mode with an exposure bias of + 2/3 at ISO3200, f/4.0, and 1/125th of a second. The camera was mounted on a Gitzo 3540XLS and Induro GHB2 gimbal head with a custom long lens support.

Okay...maybe I found time for a few birds

Copyright Dave Shumway

An American Bald Eagle soars above the Gardiner River looking down on an Elk carcass in the China Garden of Yellowstone National Park. Captured with a Canon 7D and 500/4.0L IS in aperture priority mode with an exposure bias of + 2 at ISO800, f/4.0, and 1/500th of a second. The camera was mounted on a Gitzo 3540XLS and Induro GHB2 gimbal head with a custom long lens support.

Copyright Dave Shumway

A pair of Barrow's Goldeneye fly along the firehole river, while I roll along in a bison jam (Along the Firehole River). Shot with a Canon 7D with a 500/4.0L IS set in aperture priority mode at an exposure bias of +2/3 set at f/4.0, 1/1000th of a second, and ISO400. Shot handheld while sitting in a Bison jam.

Copyright Dave Shumway

A Killdeer calls out, assumably to attract a mate, during a break in the snow on a cold April morning (Near Liberty Cap). Shot with a Canon 7D with a 500/4.0L IS + 1.4 TC III set in aperture priority mode at an exposure bias of +2/3 set at f/4.0, 1/1000th of a second, and ISO400. Shot from a bean bag in the window of my Subaru.

And some scenics.

Copyright Dave Shumway

Light spills over Roaring Mountain through the trees and steam in Yellowstone National Park. Captured with a Canon 5D III and 500/4.0L IS in aperture priority mode with an exposure bias of 0 at ISO200, f/7.1, and 1/1250th of a second. The camera was resting on a beanbag.

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