American Bison in the Snow

We’ve gotten a lot of snow in the Salt Lake Valley since Friday, I swept at least a foot of snow off my vehicle yesterday and about 3 to 4 inches on Friday, as I write this the snow is still falling.

We went out to Antelope Island yesterday despite the gray skies, low light and the falling snow and while most of the birds and animals were hunkered down, the Bison were not.

Bison fighting in a snow stormBison fighting in a snow storm – Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/250, ISO 400, +1.7 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 70mm, natural light

Early in the morning the snow fall was heavy and the light was a challenge. In the image above even though I had used +1.7 exposure compensation I still had to lighten the darks some in post processing to show fine details.

As I photographed two Bison that were grazing close together they began to fight, with the snow coming down hard it was difficult to get images where the eyes of both Bison showed. These two fought for about a minute then separated and grazed some more.

Bison on a snowy dayBison on a snowy day – Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/640, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 200mm, natural light

Later on when the snow was coming down lighter I was able to get images that showed the nice detail of the snow-covered Bison fur.

Bison bull in the snow Bison in the snow – Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/640, ISO 400, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 95mm, natural light

This Bison walked past with the Great Salt Lake in the background. The snow on his face is there because he had been pushing his nose through the snow to get to the grass below it.

Bison bull on a snowy winter dayBison bull on a snowy winter day – Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/640, ISO 400, +1.0, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 65mm, natural light

I love seeing the Bison in the snow.

Antelope Island sure looks beautiful right now.


PS:  It snowed a couple more inches overnight!

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Lovely, Mia. I especially like the ones with the peachy-blue horizons.

  2. Snow can make for some especially beautiful captures. Superb photographs of these hearty bison!

  3. Such beauty to be savored. Such gorgeous mighty animals to photograph. Carol

  4. Mia-‘Bison on a Snowy Day’ evokes the feeling I think these guys have of the oncoming winter weather in one word-dread. You exposed beautifully for this image with nice details on the coat of the bison whle retaining good detail on the snow and grasses

  5. Refreshing Images. Loved the snow covered face

  6. Lovely Bison, it’s a shame we don’t get them over here. Well taken.

  7. I like them all. They are very documentary of their behaviour and postures in the snow.

  8. Awesome photos Mia! I am hoping we get some snow here in Araknsas. I know your state gets a lot of snow but we don’t get much here.

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