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!
June 10, 2012 • 1 Comment
If anyone has had a chance to see the 2013 Yellowstone Association calendar, then you've seen my image "Baby on Board" on the cover. I'd like to thank the Yellowstone Association for using one of my images for their cover again. But I'd also like to take a moment to thank everyone who has helped to make my photography business possible. Without you, my customers, I wouldn't have the time or resources to be out in the field photographing nature as much as I do. So as an offer of thanks, I'm going to give a free signed 2013 Yellowstone Association calendar to the next five orders I receive for $100 or more. This offer, as stated, is good for the next five orders of $100 or more that I receive by June 25, 2012. And as always thanks!
All five calendars have been claimed, thank you!
June 07, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Monday morning, June 4th, there was a partial lunar eclipse. Knowing this, I decided I would try to photograph it as the moon set behind the Grand Teton mountain range in Grand Teton National Park. I left Sunday and camped, planning on getting up early in the morning. The peak of the eclipse was supposed to occur at 5:11 am mountain standard time, with sunrise occuring at 5:45 am. I scouted out a location near Cunningham Cabin as a good place to shoot the setting moon on Sunday afternoon. However, as all good plans must be, I left some room for flexibility. So I headed out at 4 am to ensure I had plenty of time to be on location and ready. As I drove past Willow Flats Overlook, I noticed the position of the moon above and to the left of Grand Teton. Knowing that the moon doesn't go straight down as it sets at this latitude, but drops at an angle, I knew the moon, from this point of view, was going to drop right along the northern edge of the Grand. So I decided to shoot from Willow Flats Overlook. The photo above was taken with a 500mm lens as the moon was about to disappear into a layer of clouds. Shadows from the eclipse are visible on the moon and light from the moon is causing the warm orange light against the rim of the clouds. Shortly after, the moon disappeared into these clouds.
The image above was taken before the first photo but with the same camera set up, a Canon 50D with a 500mm lens mounted on a tripod. In this image the moon hasn't yet reach the closed and the full shadow of the eclipse is visible on the moon. This full moon, by Native American lore, is called a "Strawberry Moon" as it coincides with the ripening of wild strawberries. I also captured an image of the moon directly on the pinnacle of the Grand, but preferred this composition.
Just because the eclipse was over and I had achieved my goal was no reason to put the camera away. I've only shot at Colter Bay one other time and wasn't satisfied with the results. But I had watched sunset from this area and felt it would look good early too so headed back here with some great light on the mountains. I hadn't seen these flowers blooming the evening before, but as soon as I saw them, I knew they would make a great foreground. With some wonderful clouds above the peaks, a nice mirror like reflection in the bay, and beautiful foreground flowers, how could I pass up such a shot?
I spent the rest of the morning looking around for wildlife, but didn't find anything out of the ordinary. As the best of the morning light was fading away, I decided to head back towards home, but as I neared Pilgrim Creek, several cars were parked alongside the road. Recognizing a potential bear jam, I slowed down and found a place to park with all four tires off the road as the NPS requires. Sure enough a litte subadult grizzly was grazing on a hillside in the shadows. This cub, two years old, most likely was born to grizzly 610, who in turn was born to grizzly 399. Bears with collars are also given research numbers. 399, one of the most well known bears in the Tetons, is responsible for populating the area from Signal Mountain to Colter Bay with a couple of generations of grizzlies now. This bear was slowly moving towards the road, where a beautiful display of lovely yellow flowers grew. I wanted a shot of the bear as it moved through the flowers, knowing the bear would be strongly back lit. But as the bear moved in that direction, rangers and visitors scrambled in a crazy fashion; rangers to keep people back, people trying to see the bear cross the road. Why? to get to the other side of course! I set up with a view where I had one chance to get a shot of the back lit bear in the yellow flowers. Fortunately, I got the shot with the only chance I had. The next shot after this shows the back of a person's head! All in all, a fun and productive two days in the Tetons. Can't wait to get back down there soon!
June 01, 2012 • 2 Comments
May came to a close with some nice weather, which I hoped would lead to some nice wildlife sightings. While I didn't necessarily get the sightings I was hoping for, I still came away with some chances to create some nice photos. I finished May with 30 bear sightings over nine days, though I only photographed a handful of these bears. The bear above was a surprise, showing itself along the road between West Thumb and Fishing Bridge. He had a noticable scar between his eyes. This moment was fleeting as the bear came out of the woods. I pulled over and photographed through my car window. The bear walked out, stopped, checked out my car, then turned around and went back in the woods.
My week started, however, with a sighting of these two grizzlies. I arrived at Swan Lake Flats just after sunrise to find these two bears mating. Once finished, the smaller female began moving away but the large male continued to follow her. The female is very typical in size to most grizzly bears that park visitors see near the roads. The male is more typical of a backcountry bear that rarely, if ever comes to the roads. His size was immense, easily one of the largest grizzlies I've ever seen. They were a long way from the road, probably at least 200 yards here, so this was one of only a couple of photos I took.
Bison calves are an often ignored subject by many photographers, who are more interested in getting shots of wolves and bears. But I personally love to watch (and photograph) these little ones. They are very social and often enjoy playing with each as they run about the nursery herds formed by their large mothers. Another interesting way to photograph them is in comparison to their much larger mothers, as I did here. This little guy (or girl) was watching another calf as it ran about the herd.
While I may not ignore the little bison calves, I am often guilty of ignoring the smaller wildlife of Yellowstone. I stopped at a picnic area near Madison Junction to use the restroom when I noticed this little chipmunk. Since I was in no hurry to get anywhere in particular, I grabbed my camera and got down to eye level (sorry sweetheart, but I at least I didn't have on my good clothes!) to photograph. While I don't photograph them often, it can be just as enjoyable to photograph Yellowstone's smaller inhabitants too!
I've often thought that these rock pinnacles above Tower Fall would be highly photogenic under the right conditions. I had a chance to find out early one morning when they were surrounded by a light fog. The diffused sun lit the fog and created a moment where the pinnacles were isolated in the scene. Since wildlife photo opportunities weren't easy to find, I actually spent more time than usual for this time of year photographing landscapes, but I'll share those at a later date. For now, i hope you enjoy!
May 28, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Today, Monday, May 28, is Memorial Day. While most people have the day off work and spend the day with at barbeques or other outdoor gatherings, don't forget to take the time to honor those who the holiday was created, those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. In honor of those fallen, I share these two images from Washington DC; above the Vietnam Memorial at night, and below, the Washington Monument behind Old Glory.
May 18, 2012 • 2 Comments
I made my first trip into Yellowstone National Park on Tuesday and had a very productive three days in the park. I arrived back to the US from Poland on Saturday and needed to go to Lake Hotel and the Old Faithful Inn to set up my photography displays and galleries in these two hotels. If you have a chance, stop in at either hotel and visit the gift shop where I have an array of prints, framed and matted, available for sale. I've also unveiled new metal prints, which look unbelievable and will be available on line very soon too. But I did spend a great deal of time photographing. The wildlife sightings I had include 10 grizzlies, including a sow with a one year old cub (photographed above), and two sows each with a pair of two year old cubs. The bear cub photographed above is the same cub in my images titled "Peekaboo Cub" and "Baby on Board". The image was taken from the side of the road with a 500mm tripod mounted camera and lens. I tracked them with my rangefinder and they never approached to less than 100 yards. Other wildlife seen included trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes, a pine marten, several blue grouse, a black bear, a couple of coyotes, an otter, and more snowshoe hares than I've ever seen at one time.
I've only ever photographed one other snowshoe hare and that was in winter, and I've only seen a handful in total. But over the three days I spent in the park, I saw six different hares and finally had one that didn't run off immediately when I stopped my car. This hare, like the others, has its summer coat coming in, giving it the mottled appearance. This one was photographed with a 500mm lens from my car window, bracing the camera and lens with a beanbag in the window.
This grouse was quite a favorite with photographers. I photographed it twice, on different days, and both times other photographers either had just finished photographing or were coming to photograph it. This male blue grouse was displaying for a mate. It will spread its tail feathers and then inflate its throat pouch, revealing the pink skin on each side of the neck. It would make a low drumming sound to attract females. It worked. As I was leaving I saw a female blue grouse making its way towards his location. Again, this photo was taken with a 500mm lens. I also lay on the ground to get an "eye level" perspective.
And finally, for now, is a sandhill crane. These large birds migrate through Yellowstone and some will stay and nest. They are most commonly seen in May as they move north. This beautiful bird was at Fountain Flats right at sunrise. I photographed it with a 500mm lens braced with a beanbag from my car window. With roadside wildlife, as I've stated before, they tend to be more tolerant of a parked vehicle than of a human. So by photographing from the car, I am less likely to disturb the animal. Sandhill cranes are amazing birds, both for their size and their beauty, and I also enjoy seeing one in the park. Will post more as the summer goes on!
Recent Posts712M Now and Then So Far This May... Remembering #10 Yellowstone Opening Day Plus Two Photographing Wildlife Peekaboo Cub headed to the Smithsonian! "Must See Yellowstone"- Spring is on the Way Yellowstone Winter Wrap Up Happy birthday, Yellowstone! Plight of the Bison (graphic image included)