Photo of the Week | Bison on Antelope Island

Every Friday I will be posting a Photo of the Week. Here I’ll be sharing the details on how I got the shot, where I was, and the backstory that went into it. I hope you find this enjoyable, and helpful in your own photography.

Camera: Panasonic G85 
Lens: LUMIX G VARIO 45-200/F4.0-5.6 
ISO: 200 175mm f/5.4 1/640

Bison are spectacular beasts. Herds of these creatures used to roam all across North America, but have a limited population found on reserves and national parks. One of those places is Antelope Island, where a captive herd can be found roaming “freely” in the center of the Great Salt Lake, just 30min outside of Salt Lake City. And that is where I got this shot, but there’s so much more.

This past October, during Court’s marathon training, she was scheduled to run 13miles as a part of her long run. To knock out two birds with one stone, she, and her mom, signed up for the Antelope Island Half Marathon. The venue for the race was incredible. Simply because of the fact that you’re on an island, in the middle of the mountains, as the sun rises up over the Wasatch. As the sun came up, from our view point on Buffalo Point, we saw a herd of Bison surrounding us grazing in field. We counted, one by one. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty bison were all over. I brought the camera out and could not stop shooting these animals in the golden morning light.

It was definitely challenging shooting, in the low light, without a tripod. Especially with Gregor pulling on his leash that was attached to my focus hand. He really wanted to go play with the Bison.

This photo; however, came from later in the day. We drove along the race path, to mile 7, and waited for Court and her mom to pass by. And wouldn’t you know it, a Bison came right down to the roadside. Runners passed by, not even 10yds from the face of the Bison. I was shooting pictures with runners in the foreground, left and right. But then there was a clearing, and the bison stopped grazing and looked up at me.

We were now looking at each other, straight in the eyes. And being eye-level with this beast is what draws me to this photo. I’m not looking down on him, or am hundreds of yards of away with a telephoto lens. I’m 20yds away, and nothing is between the two of us. You can feel the potential danger in this shot alone. The blue ski, and the pale yellow grass contrast perfectly with the dark brown hide of the Bison. Yet, the horn, it’s the horn draws your attention right to his eye staring right back at the lens.

That is why I love this photo so much. Plus, it was an important day for my girlfriend and her mom who placed 2nd and 1st in their age groups.

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