October 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Coyote in Yellowstone on the hunt

It was 5:30 AM and Phyllis and I were both up as we were each morning in Yellowstone. After a light breakfast downstairs at the Old Faithful Inn, we set out to photograph the wonders of Yellowstone. This morning we were accompanied by our cousins Carl Rossi and his beautiful wife, Cheri. As we drove through the grounds of the inn, I noticed something running across the road behind our SUV. We all turned and saw that it was a coyote. He was running onto a find of yellow grass. As we pulled the car off the road, we could see that he was taking his time looking around slowly. At first I thought he was looking at us but soon realized he was on a hunt, as I was. He was looking for breakfast and I was trying to capture one of the images on my photographic bucket list.  Ever since I lived in Arizona back in the 70s, I have  loved coyotes. I find them beautiful and elusive.

I had my 80-400 Nikon lens up to my eye ready to try and capture the image I wanted. In these moments, I feel excited and a little apprehensive about not screwing up. I know that Phyllis and our cousins were within feet of me but in these moments I am at one with my subject. I really don't hear or see anything that is not in my lens. 

​I kept watching the coyote waiting for 'the' moment, not sure what it would be but knowing there would be one. As I watched and took some pictures, I was thinking about how much it reminded me of our little girl (our cat). Its head cocked to one side looking first backwards and then down, just like when she is about to pounce on one of her toys.  Our hunt was on, he had seen something and I had seen him looking.

​When he looked down he froze for a moment and just at that moment, I knew what was coming, It was the same moment I had seen many times with the 'Little Girl'. The pounce was going to happen and I was not going to miss it or at least I hoped I wouldn't. Then he started to pounce.

​The head cocked, the back feet tensed and the front paws rose up, never taking his eyes off whatever he saw. Then all of a sudden he was up in the air, his eyes not moving from its prey, much like mine did not move from mine.

Coyote mid pounce

Up in the air and just as quickly down, his nose was in the grass with paws on either side. His back paws were now up in the air and much like an athlete, was never losing concentration. As the back feet landed, it looked like there would be no breakfast. It had missed its prey but I caught mine.

It did not stop but turned quickly and ran to the back of the field never looking back. I kept looking at it, took one last picture and put my Nikon down by my side. I realized I had a smile on my face. It was early morning but this was a great day already.

​If you have heard how great Yellowstone is for nature photographers you have heard right. We had an amazing week there and I'll be sharing our week with you all. I hope you come back to see more of our trip to Yellowstone N.P. Wyoming.


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