The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.
I thought about this picture for many months before I took it.
I hadn’t been to Yellowstone in four years. I ordered the big lens right before the last trip and in my inexperience I was using it the same way I had my shorter telephoto, only now I was shooting things farther away.
But after falling in love during my visits to Yellowstone with the colors and textures and patterns of Mammoth Hot Springs, and later the moss and bark of the rain forests of the Olympics, and then the redwood forests of California, I finally merged that love of the small details in the larger landscape with another and greater love, the wildlife I had been shooting for years.
Ever since I first started taking pictures, I’ve struggled to take anything but full-body portraits of animals. But with the big lens and Ridgefield as tutor and school, I threw myself into learning to take tight portraits. And oh was I eager to try my hand in Yellowstone! I thought I’d start with bison since they are often near the road in large numbers and would provide the most ready subjects. I dreamed of taking this picture throughout the spring and summer and into the fall.
On my last morning in the Tetons before heading up to Yellowstone, I met a large herd of bison after I photographed the sunrise at Mormon Row. It had been an up-and-down trip and now that I finally had the opportunity I dreamed of for so long, I was so nervous I could barely bring myself to review the pictures on the camera to see if the pictures came out.
When I came to this picture of one of the bulls, I stopped worrying and left for Yellowstone with my heart bursting with joy.