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!
October 23, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Some days are slow, but other days Yellowstone reveals things that we can't even imagine. Earlier this week, as I drove through the park, heading to a predetermined location to photograph the sunrise, a little Yellowstone magic happened. I saw a car pulled over down the road and as I neared it, I saw two dark shapes that could only be grizzlies. When I pulled in to the pullout, I also saw the wolves. Apparently an elk had been taken down during the night and two very large grizzlies, and one smaller one, had commandeered the carcass from the wolves. I set up my camera just as the sun was rising and for those first few minutes, the animals were bathed in beautiful light. It didn't last long as heavy clouds moved in but that was fine as the action also stopped once the sun was up. As two wolves approached, this grizzly stood up. Not intimidated, the wolves came in and chased the larger bear but the standing bear gave chase to the wolves. During this moment, the smaller bear came in and grabbed a quick bite. Eventually the two big bears came in and each grabbed a chunk and cached it before bedding down in the trees. We were a long distance from the action, over 200 yards, so this image was taken with a 500mm lens and a 1.4 teleconverter on a crop sensor camera for an effective focal length of 1120mm. Because it was sharp enough, I was able to crop it and still have a very usable photo.
October 21, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Even in a year that has been perhaps my slowest for wildlife photos, Yellowstone can still throw out a few surprises. This week has been no exception and this morning I had a very rare treat. As I drove down the road early this morning, I saw a small bird sitting on a snow pole that, based on it's shape, could only be an owl. I thought it might have been a northern pygmy owl at first, since they are found in Yellowstone, but when I pulled over and began photographing, I thought I was looking at a burrowing owl. Then it flew off and landed on a ground squirrel mound and, with the owl down on the ground in it's natural habitat, I knew at once I had perhaps my most rare sighting of the year. Burrowing owls aren't found in Yellowstone, though they do frequent the surrounding lower elevations in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. This one was most likely migrating south. It still has a speck of meat on it's beak from a morning meal. These birds are so rare in Yellowstone that it is requested any sightings be reported, so I did. Even now, several hours later, I'm still surprised by my morning encounter. The photo was taken hand held using a 500mm lens on a crop-sensor SLR camera.
October 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment
I'm excited to announce that my first children's book, and second book overall, is now available! Published by Farcountry Press, Fox Babies!, with text by Steph Lehman and photos by Steve Hinch, is now available for purchase. Unsigned books are available everywhere books are sold, including online at Amazon, for $8.95. I have a special limited selection of signed copies available exclusively on my website for $10.95 plus shipping. At some point in the next week I'll also offer both Fox Babies! and Yellowstone Forever: A Decade in Yellowstone National Park as a combo deal, so stay tuned for this offer too!
October 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment
It seems the last few autumn's have been pretty good for great grey owls. I know some folks have success finding them in the early summer too, though I'm admittedly not much of a birder so don't go out of my way much to photograph various bird species. But owls are too cool to pass up, as evidenced by my trip earlier this year to South Dakota just to photograph burrowing owls. I came across this great grey owl at sunrise one morning. The sun hadn't come up enough to light the meadow where the owl was hunting, but I watched and photographed anyway. When the sun finally lit the scene it became a "wow" moment as the beautiful early glow illuminated the owl and it's surroundings. He or she continued to hunt and while the bird was far enough away at this point, the light was too good to pass up. I moved myself hoping the owl would launch towards me but it didn't. All the same I loved the body position the bird took as it dropped down towards it's prey in the grass below. The image was taken with a 500mm lens and a 1.4 teleconverter and the final image seen here was cropped. This was to allow the owl to not free stress so that it would continue hunting naturally.
October 14, 2016 • Leave a Comment
As I reviewed my images from last week of this sow grizzly and her cub, I started to think about how this may be one of the final times I see them together. Some time in early summer, usually around June, sows run off their cubs so they can mate again and the sub-adult grizzly begins it's life on it's own. As I thought about this cub going off on it's own, I came across this image. This was taken with a 500mm lens and a 1.4 teleconverter but I also crop this one pretty significantly, more so than I normally would, because when I viewed it large, it really struck me. The cub was asleep and almost seemed to be smiling while the sow was glancing at the cub with almost a concerned look. I know I'm anthropomorphizing based on what I was thinking at the moment I looked at the photo, but I wanted to share that look.
As I looked over facebook last week, I noticed a lot of postings about mountain lions and in one of the posts, the author mentioned how rare it is to see a mountain lion, which is true. I've never seen one in the wild personally. But based off facebook that day, it would be easy to imagine they weren't so difficult to see, given all the posts. That made me think about grizzly delisting and how it might be easy to think there's a lot of grizzlies in Yellowstone because so many people post photos of these bears all the time, myself included. The truth is however, most of the photos posted of grizzlies in Yellowstone, are only a handful of bears. If I had to guess, I'd say the vast majority of photos seen over the last five years are mostly of the same ten or so bears. I think it's important to remember that as we share images of these wonderful animals because what we're talking about taking off the endangered species list is an estimated population of around 700 animals within the entire ecosystem.
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