Buffalo (not the city) Photographers?

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by jp80874, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    In another thread I mentioned that I have been doing a B&W series on a huge group of abandoned greenhouses. Yesterday while hiking about with my 8x10 and baby jogger I met the member of the owning family who manages the land. He said the place attracted photographers like a magnet. Because of the insurance liabilities I was welcome to return if I called ahead, but I should not enter the buildings. He said they had six acres enclosed under glass and flying shards in the high winds off Lake Erie was quite common and dangerous.

    He also casually said he runs a herd of 86 buffalo, the oldest and nearly the largest herd in Ohio. He was about to feed them and asked would I like to go along? You can’t make up stuff like this. After seeing these huge animals for the first time, hearing about their behavior (unbelievably dangerous) and seeing what they do to the landscape, I wanted to photograph, perhaps with a long lens.

    Looking on the web today for bison or buffalo photography I have found mostly stock or record work. Does anyone know of photographic work more in a fine art, even abstract vein? I would like to see what has been done to avoid what may be new to me but cliché to the more experienced.

    Thanks,

    John Powers
     
  2. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    use a buffalo hide instead of a darkcloth and become one of the herd. Indians use to use hides to get up close. Just remember to take a bath or have some one hose you down outside before you get near your family, or you won't have a family afterwards.
     
  3. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Aggie,

    Thanks, but I don't see one of the hides at www.llbean.com. Besides mating season approaches and I'm not sure I want one of those big guys to get out of the trough and think I am one of the girls.

    John P.
     
  4. Derek Lofgreen

    Derek Lofgreen Subscriber

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  5. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    I'd do some searching for Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota or Montana based photographers. I use to live out there, and many photographers photographed American Bison.

    http://www.jerrygeistphotography.com/gallery.cfm?MainCat=10

    As far as water buffalo photography, I'm of no help. You'll have to look towards Africa. Grin.
     
  6. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Off topic a bit, but one of the funniest things I ever saw was a 6' 4" strapping American 24 year old male try desperately to scramble up a nearly vertical wet mud hillside to escape an asian water buffalo that was a bit out of sorts. It ended quickly when a tiny 6 or 7 year old Nepali girl, every bit of 3 1/2 feet tall, stepped casually right in front of the beast, shouted, and beat it hard across the bridge of the nose twice with a heavy bamboo pole. My cameras were in dry storage waiting for the monsoon to end.

    My understanding from people who raise them is that american bison are of similar temperament. Have fun John, and take whatever advice the breeder offers. I suspect you wouldn't want to appear to be a status challenging male during the mating season either, unless you're really hard-headed and have been working out a lot.

    Maybe Dave at Satinsnow or the Blackjacket folks will bring out a new product line - Not-So-Buff-Alo darkcloths. Maybe not...

    Lee
     
  7. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    John,

    You are correct in that these animals are really quite dangerous. About twenty years ago I traveled to Yellowstone and was possible to get as close to the buffalo as one wanted. The outcome is that some people got hurt.

    I know of only one image that depicts buffalo in a fine art way. Charles Phillips, a Kansas photographer who studied with Ansel, has a black and white image of the buffalo lying near a geyser in the snow. It is quite nice with the steam rising from the snow and the buffalo partially covered with snow. Very reminiscent of the Bev Doolittle hidden images.

    Good luck should you decide to go forward with this.
     
  8. Surly

    Surly Member

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    When I went to Yellowstone as a teenager they were all over (the buffalo) and the rangers made the dangers very clear. One evening one of these awesome animals strolled through the campground. Of course, I didn't have a camera. I guess this does not really answer your question.
     
  9. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Thank you Derek. He is new to me. I like his work very much, perhaps the landscapes more than the Buffalo.

    John P.
     
  10. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I don't do B&W of Bison, but do thousands of color Bison shots every year, in Yellowstone, and the National Bison Range in Moise, MT and they sell quite well, people are facinated with Bison, in both Yellowstone and the National Bison range they have hundreds of examples of various images of Bison that have been taken over the last 100 years, but I never get tired of looking at another one, they are fantastic animals and I can sit and watch them for hours on end...

    Here is a shot I took last summer in Yellowstone, in which the biologist that was with me stated he had not seen the Bison in Yellowstone exhibit this type of behavior of watching each others back, and the only thing he could attribute it to is the re-introduction of the wolves.

    Dave

    [​IMG]
     
  11. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Thanks Dave,

    The land manager mentioned that there is a pack of coyote that hunts in the woods just beyond where these buffalo pasture. I will show him your picture and ask if he has seen anything like it here, especially when there are young calves.

    John Powers
     
  12. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    I'm not so sure I would thump a buffalo on the nose when it's in a nasty mood. Might just make the big fellow too frisky. They are wonderful animals, but have a head like a battering ram and the physical structure to thump small cars into the next zip code for fun. tim
     
  13. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    About 5 years ago in Yellowstone over by Old Faithful Geyser, there was what they can a "Bison jam" which involved a large number of very large bulls, and it was during rut(mating season) so we are all backed up, waiting for them to cross the road and this yahoo in a small import car decided he didn't like waiting!!!! so he started honking his horn at them, three of the bulls, one on each side and one in the front of him all flipped their heads very quickly with a burning look in their eyes....

    Well to make it short, they all charged at the same time, two big dents in the doors later as well as a blown out grill, two of them hit from one side and basically turned the car up on its side!!!! and the people in the car were all yelling at the driver who had decided a Bison knew the meaning of a horn blowing...fortunately nobody was hurt...but the looks on their face when the guy honked their horn was great, and the car got carried off on the back of a wrecker...after it was all said and done, it was really quite comical!!!

    Dave
     
  14. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Bison 1 - Horn Blower 0

    Too funny

    Glad no one was hurt.

    A buddy of mine went Bison hunting in Paradise Valley just north of Yellowstone this winter. They took done a cow that was acting out on a ranch. Her behavor was too dangerous to be around.

    I was told that the shot had to be just right, or she would just get mad. Seems you can't shoot a bison straight into the head 'cause a high powered rifle bullet won't penetrate. Had to shoot her behind the ear.

    I need a herd of bison when I drive into the city!
     
  15. Markauf

    Markauf Member

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    Dave

    The bison would have liked to have just "honked" back.....too bad their "horns" didn't work :D

    Mark
     
  16. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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  17. jp80874

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    The land manager showed me the skull of a bull with a large bullet hole, centered between the eyes, about two inches above a line between the eye sockets.

    John Powers
     
  18. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    I have heard this about cape buffalo, but they have horns that cover their entire head.

     
  19. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Cape Buffalo and American Bison are two different species,

    In north america, there are no Buffalo, they are considered a completely different species that were named incorrectly, the Cape Buffalo is a very nasty animal with a very bad temper, the american bison is just a nasty creature with a bad attitude..But I am here to say, I don't want to mess with either of them!

    Dave
     
  20. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    In Nepal the asian water buffalo is called "bhaisi", which doesn't help with making the buffalo/bison distinction. They are considered calmer than the Cape buffalo, but they are still rather short tempered and a typical adult male weighs 1,000 kg or more. They are on my "don't annoy" list, somewhere near the top.

    Lee
     
  21. cdholden

    cdholden Member

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  22. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    John,
    I'm glad to see others are pointing out the potential dangers of being around buffalo. They are truly magnificent creatures and a most worthy photo subject. Take some time and study their body physiology. I'm sure you will quickly realize just how powerful they are.

    Being another boy from Kansas, and having been around them some over my lifetime, here's my two rules for staying alive.

    1. Never go inside the fence with them alone, especially when your attention will be focused on manipulating a camera. Make sure the other person is one whose familiar with the animals and how they behave. Just a slightly awkward sudden movement, one that you wouldn't think would be of any consequence, can provoke a deadly charge from a previously docile bull.

    2. Don't even think about trying to get close to them when the cows have calves. The cows are extremely protective. You will notice they start pawing the ground and snorting as soon as they catch sight or wind of you. That's their warning and it needs to be heeded. I well remember one unfortunate ranch hand who's brand-new pickup was totally destroyed when he got it between a cow and her calf. He was lucky in that he was still inside the truck when she charged.

    Have fun, keep safe, and hope you post some good scans from your efforts.