A Backcountry Recovery in Yellowstone: Camping in the Lower 48’s Most Remote Place (Part 3 of 5)

I woke up to the not-so distant howl of a wolf in the deepest backcountry location in the Lower 48. The half light of coming dawn allowed me to barely see our five horses and two mules standing at attention seeking the source of the deep howl. Another wolf joined the chorus, this one further…

A Backcountry Recovery in Yellowstone: Adventures on Horseback (Part 2 of 5)

See “A Backcountry Recovery” Photo Gallery Getting ready for a long horse expedition always takes longer than expected. The morning we headed into the Teton Wilderness to meet veteran Green Beret Ray Knell and travel with him through Yellowstone was no exception. A common misconception is that horse journeys are easier than bicycling or backpacking…

A Backcountry Recovery in Yellowstone: Wilderness, Wild Horses, Warriors (Part 1 of 5)

Ray Knell, a Green Beret and Afghanistan war veteran, called me in January 2015 seeking advice on how to ride a thousand wilderness miles from Colorado to Montana along North America’s Continental Divide. Two years ago, I completed a 3,000-mile ride using wild mustangs across the American West as part of the documentary Unbranded, so…

Freedom to Move: Field Rhythm and Longtime Friends

My daily rhythm is typically a solo wandering in a wild landscape with crisp air and clean dirt. I feel super lucky to be able to spend a lot of time in the backcountry having experiences with wild animals, setting up camera traps, and photographing the rhythms of an animal migration. I’m a loner, and…

Freedom to Move: “A Wild Mind Sounds Pretty Good to Me”

Joe Riis is the best photographer I know. I’m biased—I get to hang out with, work with, and count some of the best National Geographic photographers as my friends. But Joe stands out. It’s partly because of his work, which speaks for itself, but it’s also because of his character and how he chooses to…

Freedom to Move: Legendary Help

Bottom line, a bunch of people helped me become a photographer. I did not do it alone, idols became friends, researchers shared years of experience, and locals gave me a place to call home. People from all walks of life, who have done all kinds of things, have stuck their necks out for me, and…

Freedom to Move: Camera Trapped

A remote camera trap is pretty simple. It’s just a normal DSLR camera connected to a motion trigger. I don’t push the shutter button, the animal trips an infrared beam, and then click, click, click. It’s really the only way to make intimate wide-angle pictures of wild animals without disturbing them. Pronghorn like to see…

Freedom to Move: Living Among the Greater Yellowstone Migrations

I love to think about the ever-evolving mixture of science, adventure, and conservation in the West. Old-school science is being combined with current-day media to reach the people that care—and who didn’t care. That’s my gig. I’m trained in wildlife biology and not in photography, but work as a photographer to tell wildlife and science…

Freedom to Move: Unplanned Migration

Seven years and three animal migrations later, here I am, still in western Wyoming focusing my life around photographing animals that migrate. I sometimes call myself a National Geographic magazine contributing photographer, but I need to pinch myself because it all was a far-fetched dream that became real. I grew up in rural South Dakota, then…

Utah by Dirt: Off Road and Behind the Lens

A desert road trip is something that I look forward to year in and year out. As a neighboring Coloradan, it’s become a staple of the yearly adventure diet. While I may not call Utah my home, there is something there that I can’t live without. Anyone who has been there and experienced the full value…