Animals of Yellowstone

Nature photography has always intrigued me. There is something liberating about being alone with your camera outdoors, capturing birds and animals in their natural habitat. When capturing wild animals however, it is best to keep your distance – both for your safety and theirs. It is therefore not surprising that pro photographers specializing in this type of photography, choose to carry long telephoto lenses that look nothing short of giant bazookas.

Purchasing a 500mm+ lens is fairly low on my Amazon wish list, as a fast F2.8 one usually retails upwards of €3000. Renting one for my road trip was also not a convenient option, so I decided to take along my workhorse lens – the Sigma 18-200 F3.5-6.3 OS. Paired with the crop sensor on my Canon 60D, I effectively had a 320mm lens in my hands. Not the fastest of all lenses but with luck on my side, my aim was to capture a decent picture of a wild animal while touring Yellowstone Park.

Luck was indeed on my side, as while we were driving around the park on our second day there, a wild Bull Elk decided to cross the road. Swarms of tourists decided to abandon their cars for a chance to take a snapshot of this beautiful animal. The only one crazy enough however to chase it deep into the forest was yours truly! Yep, I completely defied the little voice in me that kept screaming “You Are Crazy” and decided to follow the Elk into the bushes, keeping a safe distance so as not to scare it away. At some point the Elk must have noticed me and looked back to see who was following him. Luckily I was there, finger on the trigger and quickly managed to capture the shot below. An exhilarating experience, one that I definitely will not forget!

Bull Elk - 1920c

Shot handheld with my Canon 60D and Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OS lens, at ISO 800, F7.1 at 1/500 sec.

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Monkey Business

On my way back from Myanmar in December, myself and a few colleagues of mine decided to take a private tour in Bangkok, to visit the Bridge on the River Kwai. Despite the 3 hour drive to the outskirts of Bangkok, the scenery was great and well worth the trouble. For me however, the real reason for wanting to visit this place was to finally see in real life the actual bridge from one of the movies I used to love as a child – “The Bridge on the River Kwai”. Can’t tell you how many times as kids my brother and I used to whistle that tune pretending to be marching as the soldiers did in the movie.

As nice as the tour was however, the real highlight of my day was what I got to experience on our way back to Bangkok. As we were driving through the valley, we witnessed an entire herd of over 50 monkeys crossing the road. We immediately asked our driver to pull over, quickly got out of the car with our cameras, and followed them to a nearby resting area where conveniently 2 locals had set shop selling bananas! As my colleagues were busy feeding them with one banana after another, I was even busier taking one shot after another. I managed to snap a bunch of decent pics, but my favourite was this one below of the mother carrying around her baby.

Shot with my Canon 60D and Sigma 3.5-6.3 18-200mm OS lens at ISO 400, F5.6, 1/800 sec.

Thailand Monkey 2 - 1920c-1