Welcome to the blog for Steve Hinch Photography.

On this page you'll find photographic information on the places I've photographed recently as well as some technical information on the photographs themselves. I'll also post updates on what I've seen and experienced in Yellowstone and abroad, current wildlife sightings, and anything else of interest.  Check back often for updates!

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Photo of the Week- "Crown of Flames"

August 21, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I went out last night to photograph the Maple Fire as it burns in Yellowstone.  The fire was discovered on August 8th and is believed to have been started by lighting.  It's currently at just over 14,700 acres.  This region is well known for "dry" thunderstorms which bring wind and lighting but no rain and these storms often start fires.  It's also been a very hot and dry summer this year which has increased the fire danger considerably.  I wanted to photograph this fire at night because the flames and heat will reflect off the smoke creating the dramatic scene you see here.  During the day, the smoke will just be grey or even black.  The bright area in the middle of the photo was several miles away but flames could be seen leaping 200 to 300 feet high as mature pines burned though most of these area burned in the '88 fires.  Lodgepole pines actually require fire to reproduce as some of their cones will only open if it's sufficiently heated.  For the photographers, this image was created shooting at 55mm for 15 seconds at f8 and ISO 400.  At this point the fire has not threatened any developed areas and it has not moved towards the town of West Yellowstone, Montana.  The overall movement from where it started has been south and east.  http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4944/


Photo of the Week- "Walk Along the Yellowstone"

August 14, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Earlier this week, I headed to Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park.  I hoped to photograph the bison during their rut, but very few bison were visible.  As I was about to turn around and head home, having not found anything to photograph, I saw a few cars pulled over, so I decided I'd stop and turn around there.  As I pulled into the turnout, I saw not one but two grizzles with their heads up over the sagebrush.  So of course, I had to stop.  Apparently there was a carcass about 250 yards off the road and the larger bear, seen here, kept chasing the smaller bear away.  Finally the smaller bear gave up and went up the hill and out of sight.  Eventually, the big bear decided to come to the river.  He walked along the Yellowstone River for a short distance, drank some water, and then headed back to the carcass.  I used my rangefinder to measure the distance and he is about 200 yards away at this point.  The image was taken with a 500mm lens and 1.4 teleconverter with the final image cropped as well.  Backlighting can be tough but it worked out here. After about 45 minutes, the wolves came in but the bear didn't give up the carcass.


"Legacy"

August 13, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Hayden Valley has had a white female alpha wolf for many years now. First, there was the alpha female of the Hayden Pack. She was all white from the very first time I had seen her. I'm not sure if she started out a light grey and turned white. After she and her mate were killed by the Mollies Pack, the remainder of the Hayden Pack dispersed and her daughter, a light grey wolf at the time, found a mate and formed the Canyon Pack. They took over the range of the Hayden's and she too turned from light grey to white. When 755M showed up in Hayden Valley last summer and wooed away a young female from the Canyon Pack, the two alphas left their traditional territory and moved west, leaving Hayden Valley to 755M and their light grey daughter. I saw her recently and was surprised at just how white she is now. But it seems the reigning queen of Hayden Valley must always be a white wolf.


St. Mary and Virginia Falls, Glacier National Park

August 11, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Of the many popular hiking trails in Glacier National Park, one is the trail to St. Mary and Virginia Falls.  St. Mary Falls, seen above, shoots through a narrow canyon as it drops about 35 feet in two drops.  We arrived at early evening and the backlighting provided a bit more of a unique scene than what I've photographed here before.

Virginia Falls is the next waterfall on this short hike.  Due to the more varied vantage points, Virginia Falls provide many different composition options.  When up close, an ultra-wide angle lens is essential, especially if wanting to shoot horizontal and have the entire falls in your shot.  In the above photo, I wanted to create something a little more abstract compared to a more traditional composition seen below.


Photo of the Week- "Wild Goose Island"

August 07, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Some times when visiting familiar places my goal is to photo new or different locations while other times my goal is to photograph the same place but to try to get a different result.  On my recent trip to Glacier my goal was a mix of the two, trying to get some new locations but also trying to get something different from a place I've shot many times.  The Wild Goose Island viewpoint of St. Mary Lake is one of those iconic locations that appears in many photographs as well as in movies and commercials.  It's such a classic scene.  On my first trip to Glacier many years ago, on my first attempt to photograph here, I had an epic sunset which resulted in some nice photos but I've never had any luck since.  On this trip, the pattern started similar with sunsets being cloudy and no color while sunrises were blue clear skies with no clouds.  Finally, on our last sunset, light clouds moved in at sunset and painted the sky in some beautiful colors while the lake reflected them back and the mountains just smiled.