Sunday, February 06, 2011

Day 3: Finish Strong

Day 3: Finish Strong
Originally uploaded by fiznatty
January 30th, 2011


Congrats on tying for 2nd place in the weekly photo contest with this fantastic catch Max!

Photographers notes:
In the last couple weeks I had started reviewing my shots from 2010 for my annual "Best Of" collection. What I found was a year filled with a couple of obvious highlights and standout photos, but overall a bit of a subpar year photo-wise for me. I was actually having trouble finding 15 images to fill the gallery. So naturally I was hoping my final photo trip of the year might produce something memorable/spectacular.

The trip hasn't been great up to this point, and until today photo ops seemed few and far between. That all changed this afternoon.

A nice couple guided me to where the Lamar Valley's resident river otters had been hanging out the last few days (Yellowstone vets: not the Confluence). We arrived to find three of them slithering in and out of the mostly-frozen Lamar River. That's when two coyotes showed up.

I remembered a shot I had seen here on Flickr depicting some awesome otter/coyote interaction, taken by Ian Gethings during a winter Yellowstone visit a couple years ago. Naturally, I was hoping for something similar between the predatory coyotes and the underdog otters this time.

One coyote slowly circled the pool where the otter was hiding out, and I finally got both animals in the same frame when the otter peeked out. What happened next was completely unexpected.

The otter jumped out of the water, and instead of being pursued, it became the aggressor and went after the coyote. The poor confused song dog turned tail and ran. The otter kept moving like nothing had happened, dove back into the river and headed back to the den.