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October 1, 2016 @ 6:30 am - 10:30 am EDT

The American Bison: Icon of the Plains

One of the most fun and rewarding parts of nature photography for us is getting to meet the heroes of wildlife conservation, the people who are working to save, protect and restore wild animals around the planet. Dan and Jill O’Brien are two of those people, and this year we have the opportunity to visit their ranch to view and photograph the bison herds that roam the beautiful South Dakota grasslands there.  There is also the possibility of photographing antelope and deer if decide to be cooperative!

Dan and Jill O’Brien created Wild Idea Buffalo Company in 1997 with the mission of preserving the Great Plains by returning buffalo to their native habitat. From Wild Idea – “Prairie restoration is vital to our mission. Our land and animal management practices are as close to nature’s intentions as possible. By giving the buffalo room to roam, the Great Plains prairie is brought back to health. Grasses, herbs, and flowers flourish, providing a sustainable ecosystem for all life. Our vision of sweeping landscapes where the buffalo roam continues to grow, and we are now affiliated with other like-minded ranchers, including Native American ranchers and Nature Conservancy herds, positively impacting over 150,000 acres of grasslands. ”

On this workshop we will photograph bison herds in their original native habitat, as well as any other wildlife we encounter, and of course the incredible scenery around the ranch. Your instructor will provide you with key techniques for photographing bison and other prairie wildlife, as well as concepts for landscape and conservation photography. A huge thanks to Dan and Jill with Wild Idea for inviting us in, this is going to a be a very special Shootout opportunity!

Type: Outdoor Workshop

Activity Level:  Low to Moderate

Things to Know:

What to Bring: You will want a variety of lenses, from wide angle to moderate telephoto. For action like this, we recommend something like a 70-200mm, so you have a bit of reach and can react as the action moves towards, or away, from you. A tripod is always a good thing but hand-holding is sometimes necessary depending on the subject. Fill flash could be used as well but is not required.


Black Hills State University
1200 University Blvd
Spearfish, SD 57799 United States


Dick Kettlewell