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Jackson Hole Bison

Ryan Longnecker


Behind the Shot

Ryan, inspired by photographs Ansel Adams shot of the Grand Tetons, visited Jackson Hole, Wyoming in January 2020. “This was taken on my first visit to Jackson Hole. I rented a car and drove 16 hours a day for 3 days trying to find photogenic landscapes to shoot. A massive snowstorm had come in, and the compositions that would normally take shape, with the mountains in the background and the clear sky above, were completely gray, and the ground was completely white.

“The landscape trip turned into more of a trip spent looking for wildlife. I decided to look for moose, but I wasn’t having luck finding one. It was the last day, and I was about to give up when I saw several cars pulled over to the side of the road. They were more properly prepared for the weather than I was. I did not come prepared for a Wyoming snowstorm winter; I came prepared for a southern California winter.

“There were guys out there in full parkas prepared to just hang out in this spot and shoot pictures of bison all day. I must have looked like a crazy Californian who was way out of his element. I’m out there in the snow, knee-deep in jeans and regular boots, and I’m staying just warm enough to take a few photos.

“Not knowing any better, I wandered up close to the bison, and shot a few pictures. Once I got what I was happy with, I turned around and ran back to my car. My feet were numb and I could feel hypothermia setting in. There were lots of pictures from that trip that I shot like that—I had prepared to be outside my car for maybe three or four minutes but couldn’t go much longer.”