Photographing Kansas Bison in the Winter Fog
In February of 2018 we returned for our second annual winter camping trip to a private ranch in Kansas. This massive area of land is home to many large animals including a small herd of bison. This has become our winter camping destination because we can stay in small heated cabins, which is needed as the temperatures this time of year can drop below freezing. The cabins are also mandatory because the bison can be dangerous and will trample over a tent killing anyone inside. So tents are not permitted on the ranch.
This particular weekend in February was cold, wet, and foggy. The weather made the landscape look a bit eerie and amazing at the same time. As a hobby photographer I welcomed the overcast lighting as it made for better photos. The fog added a look that I normally do not get a chance to photograph.
This year I brought some of my camera gear, which included a Sony a7II camera, a 35mm lens for landscapes, and a 70-200mm lens for wildlife.
The watch I had on was the Raven Venture, which was new at the time and had just finished production. This watch on a brown leather strap was a perfect match for the ranch and the weather.
Now it was time to get my photo gear ready and head out with the ATVs in search of the herd. The year before we were not able to find them and gave up as the sun was going down, which sets early in winter here. This time it did not take long before we spotted them in the dense fog, then we approached with caution.
You don't want to get too close to bison as they are large and unpredictable, so I mounted my telephoto lens on the camera. The bison spotted us and decided to come closer to investigate. In no time at all we were surrounded and they were at an uncomfortably close distance. I no longer needed my telephoto lens and zoomed it back to 70mm and I was still too close for some of the shots.
The bison got between our vehicles and separated our friend from the rest of us. He was patient and waited it out, but it took a while for him to be able to move safely without spooking the animals.
If we drove the ATV too fast, the bison would chase, and they are fast. We slowly made our way past them until they lost interest in us. It was a great day to be out shooting photos of such beautiful creatures surrounded by this amazing fog.
If you would like to write up a story about your own experience with your Raven watch, please let me know and I would be happy to publish your story here on our website. I can also help plan the write up, or give you suggestions on how to take the photos. Just contact me. Thanks! - Steve