Big Horn Sheep Ewe Scraping through Snow - Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada
File #: 1913377
Nikon D5, 180-400mm f/4e AF-S, f/4.5, 330mm, 1/400sec, ISO 250, Handheld.
I just finished a trip to Jasper National Park. Back when I lived in this area I frequented Jasper NP a lot, like every month for three years, almost. But, it's been 10 years since I spent more than a fleeting visit here. Back in 2008, I led a workshop in the fall and haven't been back overnight since.
The point of this trip was to shoot mammals surviving in the cold winter. Jasper NP can be exceedingly frigid in the winter with temps easily below zero F. For some reason, shooting in the environment holds a real appeal to me. Call be crazy but when people asked what I hoped to do in Jasper this trip, I usually responded, "I hope to freezings my ass off." Unfortunately, that wasn't to be the case.
Except for today when the temps dove to the low 20's, conditions were very tolerable. Whether that affected the subjects or not, I didn't see a single mammal until the end of my third day in the park. The situation was very unusual.
This subject and a partner were on the side of the Yellowhead Highway that bisects Jasper NP. They were literally the first two Big Horned Sheep I'd seen in four days. Good for me, the light--while totally overcast--was very even. With the snow reflecting from below, it was like shooting models in a studio with the even light. Unlike a lot of people, I love these conditions and tried to take advantage of this opportunity.
Another little tidbit about this image is it's the first mammal shooting I've done with my new Nikkor 180-400mm f/4e AF-S. I've always shot with either a fixed 300mm f/2.8 AF-S or 500mm f/4 AF-S. Both were great but they both had limits, mostly with the composition. I found the flexibility to change the focal length with the new lens a huge advantage. As expected, I definitely didn't want for magnification--i.e. 400mm's was plenty of focal length for this environment.
SnowBig Horn Sheep