National Parks,  Wildlife

Photo Story: Yellowstone Bison Jam

Bison jams are pretty much a daily event in Yellowstone National Park.  A bison jam is a traffic jam cause by a heard of bison walking along the road.

Yellowstone Bison Jam

Yellowstone Bison Jam

There are somewhere around 4,500 bison in Yellowstone, so the chances of encountering a bison jam are pretty high.  Bison also have the right of way in Yellowstone so motorists just need to be patient and wait for the bison to clear the road.

In the bison jam in the photo, the herd was small so we were only delayed for about 10 minutes.  However, I’ve been in other bison jams that have delayed us for well over an hour. 

In my experience, the worst areas of Yellowstone for bison jams are between the West Gate and Madison, and between Madison and Norris.  There are places along these roads where the bison are caught between the mountains and a river making the road the easiest path to travel.

Bison Jam, Yellowstone National Park

There are also bear jams, wolf jams, coyote jams, etc. in Yellowstone.  However, these are normally caused by tourists stopping in the middle of the road when they see these animals.

Details

Camera:  Canon 7d
Lens:   Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II
Focal Length:  105mm
ISO:  640
Aperture:   f/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/100 of a second
Exposure Compensation: -2/3
Lighting: Foggy, Cloudy Morning

Processing

  • Cropped the photo in Lightroom 5.
  • In the Lightroom 5 Develop Module, increased saturation, contrast, and lightened the shadows.
  • Used the Clouds I filter in Topaz Clarity
    to give the photo some contrast pop and saturation.
  • Selectively lightened and darkened the image using Viveza 2 from Google.
  • Reduced noise in the photo using Topaz DeNoise.
  • Sharpened the photo using the Sharpening Slider in Lightroom 5.
  • Selectively sharpened the photo using the Unsharp Mask Filter in Photoshop CC 2014.
  • Used Matt Kloskowski’s Sunrise/Sunset recipe for Color Efex 4 to increase the saturation and add a vignette.

Written by Martin Belan

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Photographing Wildlife at Yellowstone
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Yellowstone Wildlife Photography – What Lenses to Bring

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