Aerial Images of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
73 Bravo is Tracker Photography
"73 Bravo" has been working the skies of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for more than a decade, logging over 8000 hours flying radio telemetry research, animal surveys and game population counts for the US Forest Service, National Park Service, the States of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho as well as for private foundations concerned with the welfare of wildlife inside Yellowstone National Park. His many years of work with grizzly bears and their habitat have made them a focus of his travels, but he’s also in demand from biologists studying the behavior of bison, elk, antelope, wolves, mountain goat and sheep, eagle, osprey, swan- even fish. Each kind of flight demands a different approach to flying and covers specific territory within the Park and surrounding areas. This affords the pilot an opportunity to experience the environment as a whole as vividly as the people who live there.
A federal license to fly below 500 feet inside the Park gives the pilot of a research aircraft a special freedom, a unique perspective and an unparalleled chance to observe and photograph the spectacular scenery, unique geological features and abundant wildlife that can only be found in America’s first national park. Flying year-round in every kind of weather allows him to see up close the changing face of the landscape as it slides from the snow-bound depths of winter, to the springtime explosion of color and life, through Wyoming’s hot and hazy fire season and back into snow again. And becoming acquainted with each of the geysers and waterfalls on his beat has resulted in a fascinating season by season catalog of the many faces of these dynamic and continually evolving natural phenomena.
Preferring to call his photographs "images", Steve has no pretensions of being a professional photographer, but rather sees himself as a pilot with a camera who happens to have a mobile office with wraparound windows located in one of the most beautiful places in the country. He prefers to print on a large scale to help convey the vastness of the view that makes up his daily work environment and his preferred media is gallery-wrap canvas as it is a less formal medium and ultimately a more accessible way to share his working experience.
Tracker images include panoramic landscapes of well known landmarks as well as secret corners of the Park that can’t be seen without an airplane. Geysers and waterfalls, wildlife and weather round out this body of work, with some portraits of geothermal features so otherworldly as to seem like abstract paintings. Other seemingly abstract images are the close details of larger scenes, or sometimes a momentary glimpse of natural phenomena seen from a pilot’s perspective. All current Tracker editions are designated as Artist Proofs until the size, composition and content of the edition are set. The complete catalog is an evolving document as images are added or withdrawn and the flights continue. Something new and amazing happens every day!
All images are copyright Tracker Aviation, Inc. Tracker images are printed on the Epson 9890 series ink jet printer. This state of the art printer produces exhibition quality images using a Micro-Piezo TPF printing head and industry leading Epson UltraChrome K3 ink system using three quality blacks and Vivid Magenta. All images are top coated with UV protectant, personally printed, inspected and signed by the artist.