American Bison in the Snow

/, Antelope Island State Park, Utah/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!


  1. Vincent Mistretta November 11, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Nice shots Mia!

  2. Tami November 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm

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

    • Mia McPherson November 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      Thanks Tami, the peachy blue horizons were because of the sun lighting the distant mountains and through the falling snow somehow it became peachy.

  3. Julie G. November 11, 2012 at 11:14 am

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

    • Mia McPherson November 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      Thank you Julie. The snow is great.

  4. Carol Mattingly November 11, 2012 at 9:18 am

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

    • Mia McPherson November 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      Thanks Carol, they are majestic beasts!

  5. Chuck Gangas November 11, 2012 at 9:00 am

    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

    • Mia McPherson November 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      Hi Chuck! Thanks for commenting on these images, they were fun to photograph and a challenge to get the exposures right. Coming back to SLC any time soon?

  6. Stu November 11, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Refreshing Images. Loved the snow covered face

  7. Bob Bushell November 11, 2012 at 7:28 am

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

    • Mia McPherson November 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      I hope you get to see some wild Bison Bob, you will love photographing them.

  8. M. Firpi November 11, 2012 at 5:18 am

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

    • Mia McPherson November 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      Thank you Maria, they were fun to photograph.

  9. Steve Creek November 11, 2012 at 5:14 am

    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.

    • Mia McPherson November 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      Steve, I hope you get some snow soon, it can be such a fantastic addition to natural settings. Thanks so much for commenting.

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