Greater Yellowstone

Meet our Guests: Steve Fuller

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Steve Fuller

Winterkeeper, Yellowstone National Park

Canyon Village, WY


We sat at our campsite in Yellowstone National Park, as darkness gripped the forest. A weathered, quiet man walked into our chair circle with three carousel trays, a screen and a slide projector. Steve Fuller was about to show us his life’s work as a photographer in Yellowstone. Steve began his work in Yellowstone as a winter keeper at Canyon Village in 1973, and every frigid winter cleared snow from the roofs of over 100 buildings. Steve got this process down to a science after a short time. 

When he wasn’t knocking monstrous blocks of snow off of the Park’s buildings, Steve explored the landscape with his Kodachrome film camera in hand—often at 40 degrees below zero. One of the only people in the Park during Yellowstone’s wild winters, he was able to capture splendid visual stories that are seldom seen in person. His photos reflect the artist within him, and each seems to be the product of endless competition between composition and quality; they are simply inspirational. Steve isn’t a photographer, but a storyteller, and his vivid anecdotes of the park’s dramatic change of season almost make the photos unnecessary. 

Within Yellowstone’s 2.2 million acres, over 4 million people visit a handful of places in the park each year - most of them taking the same photo as everyone else. It’s very difficult to capture scenes that are beautifully composed in a place visited by so many people, but Steve’s seclusion and talented eye allow him to capture the changing of the seasons in images - photos that have helped me to do the same in my own compositions. 

Steve’s eyes lit up at the idea of being in grand isolation in the dead of winter; taking photos that no one else can when his canvas is Yellowstone’s vast landscape is an exceptional pleasure for him. The playground of Yellowstone is packed with an endless number of nooks yet to be explored, if you just know where—and when—to look. 

Still living in the Park, Steve is set to retire this year, but carries his Nikon DSLR around his neck everywhere he goes, searching for the next shot. I don’t think anyone doubts that he’ll get exactly the one he wants.

By Ethan Thomas

Meet our Guests: Todd Traucht

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Todd Traucht

Bison Manager, Flying D Ranch

Gallatin Gateway, MT


At first, Todd Traucht didn’t speak more than needed. He hid behind a beard and a cowboy hat and communicated as much in shrugs as in words. But as our time with him wore on, a gently self-effacing smile began to show, and he spoke about Ted Turner’s Flying D Ranch with increasing length and enthusiasm. Todd has been at the Flying D for 37 years, working his way up from mowing the lawn to managing the 5500 American Bison which generate the bulk of the ranch’s income.

The Flying D occupies the liminal between public wildlife preserve and private ranch; at 113,000 acres, its separate pastures are larger than most ranches. There, the bison roam and browse on grass until, in the last days of their lives, Todd and his staff corral them into a feedlot and finish the grass-fed meat on corn. To ranch is to live alongside death, especially on the Flying D. This tension has given Todd a darkly pragmatic humor. He rocked back on the heels of his boots, gesturing at his collie Agate, and told us of the time she leapt from the pickup to chase a wolf. “I thought, well, she was a good dog,” he said, but not even the beard could hide his smile of relief that Agate, who returned from her chase alive and unharmed, still curled at his feet.

By Noah Dunn