Portraits of Bison Bulls Drinking From An Iced Over Puddle

/, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, Utah, Wildlife/Portraits of Bison Bulls Drinking From An Iced Over Puddle

Bison bull drinking water under iceBison bull drinking water under ice – Nikon D500, f11, 1/200, ISO 400, -1.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

It has been some time since I photographed and shared American Bison photos so three days ago when I was on Antelope Island State Park and there were bison close to the road I decided to take a few close ups of them.

These portraits of bison bulls drinking from an iced over puddle were taken with my Nikon D500, my 500mm VR lens with a teleconverter attached from inside a vehicle.

When the bison bulls bent their heads down to drink from the puddle I could hear the thin ice crunch under the weight of their huge muzzles and their hooves as they walked up to it.

Bison bull close up while drinking waterBison bull close up while drinking water – Nikon D500, f11, 1/320, ISO 400, -1.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

When the bison finished drinking they raised their heads and the water dribbled from their mouths and their beards. At times they were just taking a break and would resume drinking soon after raising their heads.

Stink-eye from an American Bison bullStink-eye from an American Bison bull – Nikon D500, f11, 1/320, ISO 400, -1.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I think bison can have expressive eyes, when I looked at this image I felt like the bison was giving me the old stink-eye. One of my sons used to give me a look very much like this one when I said something he didn’t like or want to hear so this photo made me laugh because it reminded me of those times.

Crazy-eyed Bison bullCrazy-eyed Bison bull – Nikon D500, f11, 1/200, ISO 400, -1.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

This bison bull looked a little crazy-eyed but it was really watching another bull that had moved towards the puddle behind where this one stood.

Bison bull headshot during winterBison bull headshot during winter – Nikon D500, f11, 1/250, ISO 400, -1.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

This photo is the same bison bull a few seconds later without the crazy-eyed look, I guess it decided the other bull wasn’t a threat. I chuckled when I saw that in both of these photos the bison had a snot bubble under its nose.

The bison still have their heavy winter coats at this time of the year and they looked quite warm despite the frost on the ground and the ice on the puddle. I wasn’t as warm as they were!

Bison bull drinking from and iced over puddleBison bull drinking from and iced over puddle – Nikon D500, f11, 1/250, ISO 400, -1.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

It was nice to photograph the bison on the island again, sometimes they are too far away to get quality images so when they are close like they were three days ago I like to take advantage of the opportunity.

Life is good.

Mia

Safety around these huge mammals is important, even though they are used to people being on the island they are wild and can be very dangerous. I would never attempt to take closeups like these from outside a vehicle

9 Comments

  1. Pepe Forte February 21, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Excellent bison studies. They are such iconic and ruggedly beautiful animals. I love the detail and textures you were able to capture. Just terrific! You know…it was researching buffalo in the snow that led me to your website. What a lucky find. Thanks Mia.

  2. Jane Chesebrough February 17, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    I love the images, perfect light.

  3. Azstu February 17, 2017 at 10:48 am

    They look so sweet . Had never really seen them up close like this. excellent set .

  4. Utahbooklover February 17, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Interesting close ups remind me of the late Robert Capa’s words, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” He was speaking from the perspective of a war photographer, while as we are wisely reminded about the danger of getting too close to wildlife.

  5. Patty Chadwick February 17, 2017 at 9:57 am

    These are amazing shots of these HUGE, powerful animals! My Lakota friends told me of an annoyed bull turning over a VW Bug several years ago, when the woman driver got out to photograph him. He was grazing by the side of the road and took offense. That ‘s some baleful glance in the 4th frame…GREAT closeups! (Apparently, bison do have ears after all!!!)

  6. Roger Burnard February 17, 2017 at 9:22 am

    You did a nice job with what can be a difficul subject,
    and nice post processing. ;-)))

  7. Liz Cormack February 17, 2017 at 9:14 am

    OMGosh. Fantastic photos.

  8. Bobby mcpherson February 17, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Gentle appearing giants, can run 30 mph, be very careful.

    • Jane Chesebrough February 17, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Agree with you. I saw some bison that went through a gate, then launched into a full gallop in seconds in the adjoining field. Fast! And powerful. I found that to be a humbling reminder to be careful. I always take photos from the car and keep the engine on, ready to drive, also use a long lens. I am sure that Mia understands this.

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