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12-07-2013, 08:58 PM   #16
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I posted a report on the lenses I used after spending nearly a week in Yellowstone with lots of hiking HERE. My conclusion: The DA 18-135 was an outstanding lens, and I ended up often just taking it out on hikes. I really like the Sigma 10-20, but it just wasn't worth carrying it around for the situations in Yellowstone. The 55-300 is another great lens, that is handy for getting wildlife shots, but when the buffalo walk right by the car, I didn't need it as much as I thought. For good and ill, I didn't see any bears!

12-08-2013, 01:46 AM   #17
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Yellowstone is a huge place with a lot of diversity in the landscape from place to place in the park. In the winter, I really wonder how much wildlife is going to be out and about? You may not find as many occasions to use telephoto stuff as you would with warmer temps. The 18-135mm sounds good but I haven't used it myself.
12-08-2013, 03:13 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ahab Quote
15 Limited and DA*300 should do just fine.
Aye +1 on this.

I would certainly consider a lens long enough to stop you getting eaten by bears, i.e. plenty distance between you and them or a reasonable head start at least, sort 300 ish plus.
12-08-2013, 09:43 AM   #19
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I guess I'm a nut case as I'm not interested in taking a picture of an animal a quarter of a mile away. These were taken in Zimbabwe with a DA*200 and the OP could have done just as well with his 70-300.

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12-08-2013, 03:44 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
I would certainly consider a lens long enough to stop you getting eaten by bears, i.e. plenty distance between you and them or a reasonable head start at least,
Should not be a problem in the winter, they will be hibernating. And I agree with @littledrawe not sure how much wildlife will be moving around in the winter. Bison surely, but big tele is not needed for them. Elk most likely as well and again big tele not needed, you can get plenty close. The 300 should be fine, but not having wider than 50mm is a problem, IMHO.
12-09-2013, 09:09 AM   #21

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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
not sure how much wildlife will be moving around in the winter
Winter is actually not a bad time for wildlife. The only major section of the park open to automobile traffic is the Lamar Valley, which is teaming with wildlife, even in the winter. The bears are sleeping in their dens (although they ocassionally wake up and wander outside for a bit), but many of the other critters are out fighting the winter cold with the rest of us. Winter can be a particularly good time to watch wolves, although I doubt you can get close enough to photograph them, even with a super telephoto.

Other than Mammoth Hot Springs, most of the thermal areas cannot be reached by car. You have to take a snow coach. Nor am I sure the geysers and hot springs generate enough heat to keep ice and snow off the boardwalks. You may not be able to get all that close to them. So I wouldn't recommend getting an ultra-wide zoom like the 12-24. You're going to want something longer. DA 16-45 or the DA 17-70 would be about right.
12-09-2013, 09:41 AM   #22
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I agree with Ahab… telephoto images taken at long range lack punch in that they look really flat.. I've used my A-400 mainly for birds, at less than 20 feet. Shooting large animals like moose, I've so often changed to my 60-250, and then taken an image I could have taken with my 18-135, for large non-carnivours I use the 18-135 and get out the longer lenses only if needed. The recommended length for bears is 400 mm on APS-c and that's going to be a heavy lens to carry, no matter which one you choose. If you want those shots, you're going to have to be committed, (because your family may have you committed.) I suggest taking your bear shots when they are close to the road, and you don't have to get out of your car.
12-09-2013, 01:44 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I suggest taking your bear shots when they are close to the road
I lived in Prince George, B.C. for a while, near a green belt, and in the fall the elementary schools would keep students indoors at recess because of bear sightings. Our neighbour had a sow and cub in their backyard for about 10 minutes, they got some point and shoot pictures from their kitchen window.

Twenty years ago I camped at Yellowstone with my wife and four month old daughter and I got to observe three Japanese tourists get out of their rental car and walk into the bush to look for a cub that crossed the road. They never made the news (so presumably the cub was reunited with its mother before the trekkers found it), but a park employee who went hiking on her day off was fatally mauled during that time, and another woman was seriously injured by a bison bull after she got out of her car. According to the news report her trip came to a painful end when she decided to leave the tree shielding her from the animal and make a run for her car.

Personally, if I find bear scat on the trail, I turn around. The best defence against a bear attack is a .50 calibre rifle, and it is damned near impossible to shoot your gun and camera at the same time. As far as I know, armed escorts aren't allowed in national parks either, and your chances of sneaking up on a bear are virtually zero. If they are close enough for your zoom lens, they are coming for your food and probably won't agree to pose. The grazers and smaller predators at Yellowstone are used to the smell of humans, so you can still get some great wildlife photos, but don't mess with bears.


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