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on Jan 21, 2010 in Biological Tips, Moose Adventures, Wildlife Photography, Yellowstone Life

Yellowstone Adv – Bighorn Sheep 101

It was simply a marvelous day! Simply put, we took the group to a part of the Yellowstone ecosystem that few others ever explore and learn about. After a great morning we ended up with one of my favorite species, Rocky Mtn Bighorn Sheep. For the majority of the group, it was the first time they had ever seen a Bighorn let alone photograph them so it was a learning experience all the way around!

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Here’s one of the afternoon rams, pretty sweet example of a ram if you ask me. The light is nice, not perfect but a good start. The background though is a little busy with the head, tan in color, blending in with the background which is a pretty similar shade of brown. So first thing we need to do is improve the background.

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OK, while we can fine tune the background a little by our moving, most of it has to be done by the sheep’s moving which means putting in your time and waiting for the right moment. So the ram moved into a little nicer light and with a little better background but we can do better by just waiting a little longer.

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The subtle change in the head, the gesture, makes all the difference to making a better image. This takes not only waiting but knowing that better can come and that the better is a simple head gesture.

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But making the shot I love the best from the afternoon required waiting four hours, for the light to go almost flat and improve the angle of the camera to the ram. I just don’t like the warmth the afternoon light brings. I don’t like shooting straight on the ram, rather shoot up slope a little and like the biology than the portrait. These are the basics for sheep photography. FWIW…all images shot wide open at f/6.7.

Photos captured by D3x, 600VR w/TC-17e on Lexar UDMA digital film