bighorn sheep, absaroka front

Fighting Bighorn Rams : Prints Available

 Bighorn sheep rams battle for the right to mate during the autumn rut. About 80% of Wyoming's bighorn sheep population live in the Absaroka Range. The North Fork herd migrates from Yellowstone National Park.

I returned late last week from an 8-day trip to the Cody area. My ambitious plan to photograph the big Yellowstone elk migration got rearranged because of fickle, dry, warm weather and other factors; so I recalibrated and focused on bighorn sheep and landscapes in transition. I’m still amazed at the wild diversity of the Absaroka Front – grizzly bears are still out, bighorn are mating, the Bighorn Basin has the highest density of golden eagle anywhere, and I photographed in alpine, sub-alpine, riparian, canyon, and sagebrush steppe ecosystems. Did I mention wind? It’s one of the most difficult challenges for a photographer to deal with, but it comes with the territory in Greater Yellowstone. Enjoy the photo essay:

bighorn rams, rut

Bighorn Rams : Prints Available

 Bighorn rams during the autumn rut, or mating season. These rams had just finished a lengthy battle for the right to mate, and moved on for the evening.
sunlight basin, absaroka range

Sunlight Creek Passing Storm : Prints Available

 An early winter storm passes through Sunlight Basin, leaving a trace of snow and a promise of winter. Sunlight Creek flows from high in the Absaroka Range and is an important tributary of the Clarks Fork River, eventually meeting with the Yellowstone River. 
playa, oregon basin

Oregon Basin Playa : Prints Available

Golden light in late afternoon highlights to texture in dried mud and golden grasses of a playa in the Oregon Basin.
carter mountain, absaroka mountains

Carter Mountain Approaching Storm : Prints Available

 An early winter storm approaches Carter Mountain from a ridge high on the peak. Carter, in the Absaroka Mountains, is the longest mountain massif in North America, with seemingly endless ridges. I hiked to the top to look for a few thousand elk migrating from Yellowstone National Park.
greybull river, meeteetse

Greybull Autumn : Prints Available

 The Greybull River, one of the most important rivers in the West, flows through ranchland in Spring Creek Basin west of Meeteetse. The Greybull is critical habitat for endangered Yellowstone cutthroat trout and wildlife that depend on riparian habitat from its headwaters high in the Absarokas to the plains on the sagebrush steppe.
sunlight basin, shoshone national forest

Sunlight Basin Change Of Seasons : Prints Available

 Golden grasses of autumn contrast with snow-covered Absaroka Mountains in Sunlight Basin as an early season storm clears. 
carter mountain, greybull river

Frozen Rose : Prints Available

 From high on Carter Mountain, Rose Creek appears frozen in time. The creek flows to the Greybull River below, one of the most important rivers in this part of the West.

4 thoughts on “Absaroka

  1. Very nice set, Dave, in some very nice early winter conditions! I really long to get into the Absarokas some day. I think Sunlight Basin Change of Seasons is my favorite here, with the dusting of snow on the desert hills and the peaks looming into the cloud. Those dry, bare foothills transitioning abruptly to big peaks are an aspect of the northern Rockies that doesn’t get photographed enough.

  2. Thanks for these beautiful images. I love the eye in the left-side ram of the jousting pair, but Sunlight Creek draws me in and I ache to be there.

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