So in the last post I featured a black bear we came upon in Yellowstone National Park. What could possibly be better than a small black bear out in the wild living life to the fullest? Give up? How about a 20′ high Grizzly bear sitting in the town square?! Good news, you are in luck.
Pretty cool eh? Alas, I don’t ‘t want to tease my readers too much, this big guy isn’t real – sorry. Well, it is not a live bear per-se, but it is a real statue we came upon while cruising through and cruising through Cody Wyoming on our way back from Yellowstone. Now you may be thinking there needs to be some structure cleanup in the previous sentence but not the case. I immediately spotted this perfect Phoadtography (link here) opportunity at least two blocks away. With a polite request to the driver to simply stop speeding for a minute, I risked life and limb to climb into the backseat and find the camera. A fast run through the Nikon menu system to get the settings right for the proper “on the move” exposure, an acrobatic move to get the glass on target, a strategic snap of the shutter button and presto a perfect Phoadtography shot to add to the collection. Yes, that would have been the story had someone actually acted upon my request to slow down. My hopes were crushed as the grizzly quickly became obscured by light poles and traffic signs. One last hope… “Can we go back? Can we go back? Can we go back? Can we go back? Can we go b… thank you!!! (annoyance tends to works 62.5% of the time – the other times she secretly unlocks my door and takes a hard left). As a result, we should all thank Linda for looping back around so I could get the shot.
Which is all a long drawn out lead into the feature topic of this post. Please extend a big welcome to the top of the Yellowstone National Park food chain Ursus Arctos Horribilis. The Ursa Major if you will of our National Park system. Of course, I am talking about the Grizzly Bear.
Having struggled to get good shots of the black bear in the previous set, it was a relief to see that these came out a lot better. Linda and I were on our way back from taking photographs of the Yellowstone Canyon Falls when some new arrivals informed us there was a Grizzly sighting up the road from where we parked. This was candy to my ears so we quickened our pace back to the car. Normally, this kind of news would have us single focused, but all of a sudden a big fat raven decided to dive bomb into the parking lot (think WKRP turkey episode). This required a few shots as historical evidence that Ravens should consider developing a Weight Watchers program (see last set of pictures here). Once that was done we headed off to validate the sighting… sure enough, there it was foraging for food in the fresh snow. The following shot is one of my favorites with the snow on the nose.
Hit the jump to see some more pictures of the Yellowstone Grizzly
There were two other people taking pictures when we got there but they were at a disadvantage when it came to the zoom power we were packing. I had to hold back a chuckle when a young couple leaped out of their car and started snapping pictures with their iPhone – “see that splotch, the one next to that other splotch and just below that big smear.. that’s a grizzly!” I am guessing with the snow starting to settle into the area, this particular bear was looking to finish out its pre-hibernation binging. Our friends over at Wiki indicate that a Grizzly can gorge up to 400 additional pounds before entering their dens – something I didn’t know before perusing the Wiki site, they den above 5900′ on northern mountain faces.
From the numerous wolf reading over the years I am very familiar with the Grizzlies devious practice of simply stealing their kills. Wolves will generally give up the fight pretty quick choosing another hunt over inevitable injury. This outlook changes dramatically when the grizzly comes into danger distance of their den(s) if their cubs are still being reared. In this case the pack will stand their ground. If that wasn’t bully enough for you, the thug in the woods will let the squirrel do its gathering. Once the squirrel has done all the work to collect the Whitebark Pine Nut, this big furball will simply confiscate it. This must be why those squirrels are so pissed out there (see link here).
There are times when I finish processing an image, and something other than what I focused on ends up surprising me. The above picture is case in point. I was busy working the image trying to find the most pleasing composition – someday I’ll get better vision in the field. After finalizing the processing I looked over to the left and noticed how cool the tree turned out with the light pattern across the deep grooves of the bark. I liked it so much I went back and worked another shot taken of the same area… and of course this time I gave more attention to the cool pine tree.
So what do you think? I admit I have a thing for trees (and rocks) and working on a super secret book that will feature them (lips are sealed on that project for awhile).
Hope you enjoyed the shots of the big bad boy in the park. Oh, forgot to mention – if you need to distinguish the difference between the black bear and the grizzly, just look to the back shoulders if there is a hump there consider yourself in deep trouble unless you have some bear spray and someone in your party you can kneecap as you go running past. If it doesn’t, you are probably looking at a black bear and those tend to be a little more docile unless the cubs are out and about or they notice your chocolate covered banana.