July 18, 2011

Star Trails - Interrupted

This past weekend, I headed up to Yellowstone to meet up with my friend Rusty to spend a little time shooting.  Part of the plan was to get together Saturday night and shoot some star trails.  The cabin where Rusty was staying with his family was right on a lake outside of West Yellowstone.  We decided that this was as good a place as any for some star trails.  Well, around midnight, we were down by the boat dock, getting things set up.  Rusty was sitting in the dirt, adjusting his settings.  I had been dialing in my settings and had just taken this final test shot:

As I looked up from my camera, I saw a bear, heading our way along the water.  He wasn't more than about fifteen feet from us, about where the reflection of the treeline in the water meets the shoreline, just beyond that stump.  I quietly got Rusty's attention and told him there was a bear.  Of course, being the serious bunch that we are, Rusty didn't believe me.  And then he turned around in time to see the bear heading into the bushes to the left, just outside of the frame in this image.  Well, it took us a good minute and a half to decide if we were going to head back to the cabin, or jump in the boat and head out into the lake.  We decided to head for the cabin and gave up on the idea of star trails.  By the way, this is a 30 second exposure, so the ambient light looks much brighter than it was.  It was pretty dark out.  Well, the next morning, before heading into the park, we decided to see if we could see any bear tracks.  We saw bear tracks, a lot of bear tracks.  It turns out that the bear didn't keep going when he went into the bushes, he just made a small (very small) detour around us and continued on his way along the water.  We even found the spot where he climbed through the fence, leaving some hair behind on the rail.  I'd say we got pretty lucky.

Images were created with the Canon 1Ds Mk III.
The night shot was shot with the Canon 14mm f/2.8L II.
The bear track images were all shot with the Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS.

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