Standoff at Yellowstone National Park

Wildlife photographer and author Stan Tekiela was out photographing wolves when he came upon a mule deer under attack. “I could see nearly a mile away that a grizzly had gotten wind of it. It took it 45 minutes to work his way over across the valley. When it saw (the kill scene), it charged in there.” One of the two wolves, a nursing female, scattered when the bear approached, and the male wolf quickly followed suit after attempting to take on the bear. “That morning I got up and had a feeling something was going to happen,” he said.

Common loons

“I lead many photo tours for common loons. Photographers from around the world come visit me for a chance to capture world-class images of our state bird. The most-prized image is an adult with the baby on the back. Sometimes it takes many trips to be lucky enough to capture the close relationship between a parent and baby loon. This baby was tired and falling asleep. He was yawing just before nodding off to sleep on the safety of its parent’s back.”

Bull moose at Denali

“While working in Denali National Park I was hoping to photograph some moose. Each day I would make the long trek out near the base of Denali Mountain in search of the largest subspecies of moose. One day the clouds finally broke up and the sun came out, which is not common in this remote part of Alaska. There was a moose drinking in a small pond. The concentric rings emanating out from the moose show the action in this amazing scene. This picture has now doubled as the image on my new line of 1,000- piece jigsaw puzzles.”

 

Bobcat, northern California

“Trying to photograph wildcats is one of the biggest challenges. I spend a week searching bobcats to photo in northern California. At the end of a particularly nonproductive day, I saw a bobcat on a hillside. It was way too dark to capture any images. But I anticipated this cat might walk along the crest of the hill against a brighter sky. I made sure my camera setting was just right, and waited. Sure enough the cat walked along.”

 

Sandhill cranes at sunset

“I spend every spring in Nebraska photographing the migration of sandhill cranes. One day I noticed a rather photogenic windmill. When the sun was setting I set up waiting to see if I would get lucky enough to have a large flock of cranes fly near. Everything came together and as the sun set, the windmill turned just right and a gigantic flock of cranes flew by, allowing me to capture this once-in-a-lifetime image.”

Caribou in Denali

“I spent two weeks in the most remote parts of Denali National Park capturing images of moose, wolves and caribou. One day near the base of Mount Denali a particularly large caribou was feeding. I was able to get close enough to capture it as it walked from one patch of lichen — caribous’ favorite food — to another. With its head held high, the caribou walked by with the mountains in the background.

Bugling elk

“I found a large bull elk that was bugling to gather his harem of females while I was photographing in Colorado. One female was too far away and the male walked up a ridge line high above his females and began to bugle. There is nothing like the sound of a bull elk bugle to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.”

Wolf in tundra

“Seeing and photographing wolves in Denali National Park is not easy. The vastness of the park makes finding a wolf very difficult. While I was photographing a bear, I saw a wolf who was trotting long, obviously wanting to go somewhere. I turned the camera, and the wolf saw my movement and stepped into thick tundra vegetation. At first I thought that was it, I would never see the wolf again. I moved a bit closer and as I did I could see the wolf staring at me through the autumn color of the tundra. I was able to capture just one or two images, and he turned and vanished.”

Western grebe

“ I lead photography tours for loons and western grebes. Photographers from around the world travel to Minnesota to join me. The babies will ride on the backs of the adults after hatching. Sometimes up to four babies will crowd onto the adults. This adult turned slowly toward me, two babies, one on each side of the adult’s neck.

 

Online information and work: Learn about Tekiela’s presentations and books, and see more of his images at naturesmart.com