Yellowstone National Park, Lamar Valley
As the sun set on a late summer day in Lamar Valley, brilliantly lit clouds in the west combined with a clear blue sky overhead to intensify all the colors - from reds to yellows, from greens to blues - of the late season's vegetation; while the hundreds of bison became massive black silhouettes, dramatically highlighted here and there by the last rays of the setting sun. Wolves had been howling, nearby but out of sight, for over an hour; and must as the sun touched the horizon, this young black female emerged from a grove of trees and came trotting at a relaxed, confident pace downriver past the grazing bison. As she moved past the herd, the nearest twenty or thirty bison would group themselves into protective semicircles focused on the wolf in the center. She never moved to attack or threaten, but only to observe and study their behavior. When winter came, wolves might have to turn to hunting bison, relying not only on the strength of the pack but also on the intelligence and courage of its members who had taken the risk of approaching these formidable animals to see and understand how they might defend themselves.
crop, brightness/contrast, color adj
Nikon D200, 70-200mm lens +2x converter, tripod