Year End Countdown # 3 — The Lovers
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We’re down to my top three.
I made today’s photo near the entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Louisa and I were driving from the Tetons to Yellowstone and virtually the first thing we saw upon entering the park was a fairly large herd of bison. Dozens of tourists had pulled off the road to view these animals and we joined the throng. As we were to discover, Bison are a fairly common sight in Yellowstone. I attempted to photograph individual animals but I was having a tough time because the light wasn’t really good. It was an overcast day and there was little contrast between the animals and their surroundings. Fortunately, the light improved as we stood there and I came away with this image.
The scene depicts a bull Bison affectionately nuzzling his favorite cow. This is an older bull, fully mature and massive. Bison bulls weigh up to a ton and this big animal looked every bit of that weight. His lover is an older cow, much larger than some of the other cows that were in the herd.
The affection between the two is obvious. I watched this pair for quite a while. The bull never stood more than three feet from the cow. He constantly nuzzled her, pressing his body against hers and affectionately stroking her head with his head and mouth. Once in a while he’d bellow as if to warn other Bison bulls to stay away from his beloved.
Breeding season for Bison runs from June through September. I made this photo at the beginning of October and I’d like to think that the bull’s affection toward this cow had grown beyond mere lust. Over the course of our stay in Yellowstone I was to see the same phenomenon several times — mature bulls staying close to their favorite cows. True love, perhaps.
Image made with a Canon 5Diii, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 ISII zoom len+1.4x telextender, aperture priority setting, ISO 800, f8 @ 1/250.