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  1. #1
    jp80874's Avatar
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    Buffalo (not the city) Photographers?

    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. #2
    Aggie's Avatar
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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.
    Non Digital Diva

  3. #3
    jp80874's Avatar
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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. #4
    Derek Lofgreen's Avatar
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    Gifford Ewing has some in his yellow stone portfolio http://www.ewingphoto.com/index.html . He shoots larg format, great stuff if you haven't seen his sight.

    D.

  5. #5

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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...cfm?MainCat=10

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

  6. #6
    Lee L's Avatar
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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. #7

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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. #8
    Surly's Avatar
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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.
    To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  9. #9
    jp80874's Avatar
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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. #10
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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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


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