Got Elk? Luck and preparation yield an arresting Yellowstone coyote photo

A coyote is smeared with elk blood after feeding on a carcass in the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. (©Meg Sommers - click to enlarge)

A coyote is smeared with elk blood after feeding on a carcass in the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. (©Meg Sommers - click to enlarge)

By Meg Sommers

Being a carnivore is a messy business!

This coyote in Yellowstone National Park had been helping himself to an elk carcass provided to him by wolves that had vacated the site, at least temporarily.

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"Standoff" was shot with a Canon EOS D60 camera with a 500 mm lens at an exposure of F5.6 at 1/100 of a second shutter speed.

When I look at this image I remember it as lucky shot. But to paraphrase Louis Pasteur, “Luck favors the prepared.” When this coyote crossed the road in front of me that January day in the Lamar Valley, I knew where the carcass was, and I had the right lens and tripod already set.

The coyote crossed the road, looked back at us and I took the shot.

I was lucky and prepared.

Meg Sommers is a wildlife and nature photographer who also works as an attorney and part-time judge in Cody, Wyo. She teaches a wildlife photography course in Yellowstone Park for the Yellowstone Association Institute.

How I Got That Shot takes you behind the scenes to learn how a top Yellowstone or Grand Teton photographer captured a terrific image. If you have a great shot you’d like to share, please send it to [email protected]

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