When Less Is More: Close-Up of a Bison

Bison (Bison bison) close-up

Sometimes – actually often times in photography, less is more.

By simplifying an image to its core elements, by eliminating distractions, by focusing on bare essentials such as color, lines, textures, contrast, the photographer may come up with a more powerful image, one that grabs the viewer’s attention, even if it portrays a well known subject.

Sometimes, even revealing only part of a well known subject may be an effective technique to resort to in order to engage the viewers by making them mentally process the partial information they see and linking it to the complete mental image they have of the subject.

In this photograph of a Bison (Bison bison) in Yellowstone National Park‘s Hayden Valley, I zeroed in on the bison’s face, isolating its most distinctive features – the horn and the expressive eye, by placing them in opposite power points in the frame. Using a telephoto lens added the extra benefit of compressing the scene, thus emphasizing the color contrast and blurring the background, which contributes to simplifying the image.

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)


28 thoughts on “When Less Is More: Close-Up of a Bison

  1. caleephotography

    Superb capture, well done daring to crop the frame 🙂 I love how sharp it is, think it’s the first close-up I see of a bison! (Never seen one in real life, but Yellowstone’s on my travel wish list..)

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you very much, Camilla: your words are much appreciated!
      Sometimes in photography you need to be a little daring and push the envelope a little bit – at least, that’s what I think! 😉
      Yellowstone really is a beautiful national park, one that is definitely worth visiting when you have a chance. Given your photography skills, I am sure you would have a wonderful time and plenty to photograph there!

    1. Stefano Post author

      Hahahahaha!!! That’s awesome, Jeff: yes, after that time I realized that Photoshop could be an easier way to show my copyright rather than putting a sticker on the horn myself! 😉 😉 😉

  2. Heather (Sweet Precision)

    Quite the capture Stefano! It gives the impression that you’re in a staring contest with the bison… right here on my computer screen. Too much fun, I can tell that your photography has taken you to many great locations. Yellowstone is still on my list for a camping adventure in the future.

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you, Heather! And yes, I can confirm it was the bison who blinked first! 😉
      Yellowstone is a beautiful National Park to visit and explore, Heather: warmly recommended!

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you, Anatoli! I understand you would like to see more of a documentary photograph of a bison. I have those too and at some point I will upload them to my Webiste. But the point of this image was to make it a little different from all the million photographs there are out there showing the full image of the animal. Here instead it is up to the viewer to connect the dots and say (or think) “bison!” It is just a different way to portray a pretty well known subject giving it a fresher twist. 🙂

      1. talkavino

        not precisely what I meant. Too long to explain in the comment. Will chat next time with the glass of wine : )

  3. laurasmess

    Wow. Amazing photo Stefano. I agree completely with the ‘less is more’ standpoint, I am such a details person. Seeing a tiny portion of something in macro means more to me than the entire animal, in most situations. Bison are truly beautiful creatures.

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you so much, Laura! Glad you liked it.
      And, let me tell you, your outstanding food photography really shows how keen of an eye you have for macro shots and close ups and for attaining pleasant lighting and composition, two key ingredients of photography.
      PS: I apologize that due to workload I am so behind and still owe you an answer to a question you asked a few days back. I hope I will get to it by the end of the day. Bear with me please! 🙂

  4. kbvollmarblog

    Dear Stefano,
    a great composition, cleverly done 🙂 I am impressed – actually all your wildlife photography impresses me and my Bookfayries Siri und Selma as well.
    With lots of love from
    Klausbernd and his funny Bookfayries Siri and Selma

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you very much for your kind words, Klausbernd and Bookfayries!
      Glad you enjoyed my bison closeup.
      A big hug to the four of you – I am actually considering starting calling you the Fantastic Four! 🙂

  5. Dina

    It is such a beautiful shot, dear Stefano! A lovely eyecatcher, indeed. The eye of the bison keeps me glued to the screen, congratulations!
    Big hug from sunny Norfolk

  6. Lyle Krahn

    I kept thinking about what photo to take of the bison when we were in Yellowstone this spring. You came up with a wonderful alternative. It captures so much with less.


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