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The wilds of Yellowstone National Park during the grip of winter, is landscape of awe and wonder. Bitter cold contrasts a dance of light and shadows and colors that, at times, seems to defy reality. Such was the case this late afternoon, a 3 hour snowcoach ride into the interior of the park. In all directions, the world was but a single shade of white. Clouds prevailed overhead, flattening the contrast, erasing color, creating a monochromatic experience.
This red fox was hunting out in the wind swept snow covered meadows of an old glacial lake bed. He would sit, twitching his ears back and forth, honing in, triangulating the position of his prey that scampered about the subnuvian zone of snow 3 feet below. He had been moderately successful that afternoon, having caught enough rodents to keep the internal fire stoked insuring his survival here within the coldest place in the lower 48 states for a while longer. But the photography had be blase at best – featureless, little more than a living world of white.
But as this fox turned to head up and over a hill, having seemingly called the meadow quits for the afternoon, the clouds parted. The sun broke through the storm that would later dump a foot of snow on us, and a beam of light stretched out from the heavens to bathe the hill that this fox was climbing. Color and contrast returned to the world briefly. And for a moment, in the minus 20 degree weather, there was warmth in the light. As the fox climbed, he closed his eyes, reveling and content in the momentary reprise from the biting cold and winds.