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Live from Yellowstone, winter wildlife trip [video]

It’s been a long time coming, eight months in fact, but my two week winter wildlife photography trip to Yellowstone national park is here! We fly out on the 27th, where I’ll be doing daily updates via my Twitter/Facebook (internet/phone signal willing), and return on the 10th Feb. So what’s on the agenda and what kit did I bring with me?

The Plan:

We fly out to Denver, before getting a connecting flight to Bozeman where we stay for a day. Then, our host and tour guide, professional wildlife photographer Robert Franz, will pick us up and drive the 80 or so miles to our final destination of Gardiner City. That’ll be our base for almost two weeks of dawn till dusk wildlife photography with a group of 6 people. I’ve come out here with friend and fellow photographer Rene De Heer and another veteran Dutch wildlife photographer friend of his, and hopefully we’ll get at least one encounter with the wolves of Yellowstone. But regardless, there should be plenty of opportunity for coyote, fox, bison, bald eagle and whatever else we can find. The main workshop is a week long but after that, the three of us have hired Robert for an extra 3 days private touring of the park to try and make the most of our time out and to take advantage of the distance travelled to get to the park!

The Camera Gear:

Well first of all a big thank you to Nikon Europe and the official Nikon Blog who have given me a loaner D7000 to put through it’s paces alongside my D3s. I was all set to bring my aging D300 but when I was offered the D7000 it seemed an obvious choice given it’s better ISO and higher pixel count. So it’ll be interesting to see how this latest prosumer model deals with the cold and harsh conditions of the Yellowstone winter.

I also used this opportunity as an excuse to finally pick up the 1.7x TC, as I’ve been meaning to get one for a long time now. So thanks to Clifton Cameras for sorting me out there with a last minute order.

As for the rest of the kit list, well there is a list further down, but here’s a video of what’s in my hand luggage. Thanks to another friend and photographer Colin Pickett, for the loan of his ThinkTank Photo Airport Addicted v2.0 bag.

And the full list of gear is:
Nikon D3s
14-24 f2.8
50mm 1.4 AFS
1.4 & 1.7x TCs
Gitzo GT5541 LS and Wimberley MKII
Really Right Stuff BH-55
Naturescapes Ground Pod
+ odds and ends

So hoping I’ll have most the important bases covered!

This is a lot of gear to take across the Atlantic though, and I had to make a few choices as to what to take, and in the end opted to leave the 200-400 VR behind this time and just take the more mobile 70-200. Hopefully that’s not something I’ll regret, but I simply had no choice this time! The Airport Addicted bag should however, allow me to carry it all through the 3 airports we’ll be going through each way, without breaking my back!

The Clothing:

This is my first time venturing in to such cold conditions and so the clothing issue has been a bit of a new experience for me. Any of you who follow me on Twitter will no doubt be well up to date on my clothing issues as I’ve been asking all kinds of advice over the last few weeks (thanks everyone, yes, even those of you who laughed at me lol). Through a bit of trial and error and ordering various things online before having to send them back I finally setlled on various items of clothing from Jack Wolfskin, Haglofs, Baffin, Ice Breakers and The North Face to name a few. It’s certainly been more of an eductaion than I had expected but I finally got my base layers, mid-layers, outer layers and everything else in between sorted out so I should be toasty when the really cold temps appear! After all, if you are cold or wet when you’re out taking photos, you’ll just want to pack up and head home! And when there is potential for -30, you can’t mess about and need to keep warm.

So that’s it! I’m here! I’ll be sending updates via Twitter and Facebook whilst I’m on the trip, and then the blog will get updated once I’m back with a full run down of how it went along with photos, videos etc

Now, where did I put my thermal underwear…

About the author

Richard Peters is a Surrey based professional wildlife photographer, Nikon Ambassador, and one of the few British photographers to receive the accolade of European Wildlife Photographer of the Year. He is known for a style that often favours dramatic use of light, runs wildlife photography workshops and, from camera clubs to big industry events, holds talks about his work.

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