Wilsall, Montana – 2023
When working with bison, a big bull in the cold with a winter backdrop and sense of place, is always what I would like to have in front of my camera. The reality is, that this has to be earned, and there will be many more failures than successes. That is the way it should be.
In Montana, which hosts most of our bison shoots, the weather can fluctuate so quickly in the winter. To have a cold morning with fresh snow, on the days penned in to work, is often a big ask and we know from experience that the best solution is time and patience.
When we talk about cold, we are not talking about 32°F or 0°C, that is a fairly lame degree of coldness for the mountain folk of Montana. We are talking about it being frigid – like -10°F or -23°C - that is when the magic can happen.
This morning, north of Livingston, Montana, the textural clues in the bison’s beard hint at extreme conditions. That is what we always look for as it adds character to the most stoic and primeval of beasts. 1700 pounds of flesh standing in front of the camera is enough of a visual jolt to allow the cold to be briefly forgotten.