Tour Reports & Testimonials

January 18 - 25: Winter Tour

Winter 2020 tour group
Winter Tour Adventurers: Pat, Amy, Heather, Rhett & Max
With no exaggeration, I can say that this was my best winter tour ever! With winter trips, you never know what you'll get. I've had some tours during which wildlife was fairly quiet (coyotes being the highlight), and the scenery had to pick up the slack. This time we had no trouble finding wildlife.

We began in the park interior, traveling the Madison River valley each morning and afternoon in search of wildlife. We made side trips to beautiful Norris Geyser Basin and the desolate snowy expanse of Hayden Valley. The second half of the trip was spent exploring the park's northern range, searching primarily for wildlife.

Bison blur by Pat Nowotny
Bison blur by tour client Pat Nowotny
Wildlife highlights (there were many) included a double weasel encounter, red fox, moose, a rare winter badger, river otter, and one of the most memorable wolf encounters I've ever had in the park. Truly an amazing trip, and it was a privilege to share it with this group.

"Once again Max comes through. Just about everything you can ask for in a winter trip to Yellowstone: wolves, bison, moose, fox, badger and even two ermine.

Coyote by Heather Johnson
Coyote by tour client Heather Johnson
Always a great time with Max no matter where in the world we go!" – Pat N.

"It was such a wonderful trip to Yellowstone with Max. We saw amazing wildlife and beautiful scenery. Max was an excellent, knowledgeable guide and the small group size meant that everyone had easy access to him for advice and assistance. The tour was well organized with no logistical glitches.

This was my first trip to YNP and I hope to return one day... and definitely with Max!" – Heather J.

June 2 - 8, 2019: Spring Tour

Spring 2019 tour group
Spring Tour Adventurers: Bill, Max, Jane, Barrie Lynn, Linda,
Dave & Kevin
Another spring meant another fantastic trip. We keep striking gold at this time of year, and the 2019 trip was no exception. Joined by another fun bunch of clients, I was able to share so many of the park's wonders. We enjoyed photographing frolicking bear cubs, adorable moose calves, unsteady Sandhill Crane chicks, and curious pronghorn fawns. Elk patrolled the foggy expanse of Hayden Valley, and we even ended the trip with a nice badger encounter. Through it all, the wonderful group with me made the most of every opportunity. Even the "non-photographer" in the group, who thought he'd take some breaks to go fishing now and then, stuck with us the whole time!

"What a great time we had, so many photo opportunities and fantastic company to boot." – Jane M.

"I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for making the Spring Tour a wonderful experience for me. I'm not exactly the most outgoing person and after reviewing my photos, definitely not a very good photographer, but neither of those things matter when I look back on how much fun I had. A special thanks to Max for sacrificing time away from your family and putting this all together." – Kevin S.

September 22 - 29, 2018: Fall Tour

Fall 2018 tour group
Fall Tour Adventurers: Chris, Richard, Alena, Zdenek & Max
I was excited to lead my first fall trip in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in a few years. Fall trips are always interesting because we are ready to photograph just about anything. On a given day wildlife or landscapes may be the focus. You never know what the area will offer up at this time of year.

This was a fun trip with a wonderful group. Wildlife was slow at times, yet we still managed to have some uncommon sightings and encounters, including wolves crossing the road in front of us, mountain goats up on the Beartooth, and the most cooperative otter I've ever had on tour here. We spent plenty of time workig on scenery shots as well. The colors in Yellowstone were perhaps the best I've seen, and the Grand Tetons delivered as they so often do in autumn.

Mammoth Hot Springs by Zdenek Hasek
Mammoth Hot Springs by tour client Zdenek Hasek
You couldn't ask for better balance in terms of subject matter on a fall tour!

"It has been twenty years since we fell in love with traveling around the world and exploring the beauty of nature and wildlife in particular. And almost as long since we started trying to capture our experiences through photography.

We travel mostly as an independent travelers, but we know that we can not observe the wildlife without the help of a local guide/expert. If this guide is also a photographer who can choose the right place and time to take a photo, then this is the optimal choice for us. Max has filled our expectations in Yellowstone and Grand Teton 100%. Thanks Max. – Zdenek H. and Alena H.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone by Richard Sandor
Grand Canyon by tour client Richard Sandor
"Recently I attended a photo tour led by Max Waugh. This was my first trip with Max and I'll say that I can heartily recommend him to anyone interested in his tours. I've had the good fortune to go on numerous tours with other leaders and Max exceeded my expectations. Max went out of his way to get us in the right place in order to make our photos if it meant hitting the road early or staying late.

While this was not offered as a workshop, Max made himself available to discuss any aspect of photography that the attendees were interested in. Max provides a 5 Star experience. – Richard S.

June 2 - 8, 2018: Spring Tour

Spring 2018 tour group
Spring Tour Adventurers: Doug, Miyuki, Leslie, Carl, Tom, Feli & Max
Spring trips are consistently good for wildlife activity (which is why it's my favorite time of year in the park), but this trip was pretty unique and special. Once again, I was joined by a group of rock stars, folks who were willing to go for just about anything, even if it meant waking up super early in the morning to land a potential subject.

But this trip was even better than normal because we kept hitting all of our major goals. Each morning we'd set out with our sights set on one particular subject—it may have been bear cubs, baby moose, a den site or even the elusive mountain goat—and every day we nailed each of these goals. That's pretty remarkable. And naturally, we saw a lot of other stuff too, from foxes to grizzlies to cool birds.

Unita ground squirrel by Carl Monopoli
Uinta ground squirrel by tour client Carl Monopoli
This group was incredibly enthusiastic and didn't take the encounters for granted. It made for a great tour.

"To be a great guide in tradition of the vocation, to be well versed in both human and animal behavior is crucial and Max is certainly that and then some. Having said this, he CANNOT read minds. If the client has a special need or unusual circumstance, this must be communicated.

Max has formed the essential local relationships, knows where the animals are and will be, what techniques to use and anticipates the needs of his clients. On top of all of this, he is as excited to get the shot as any client and consequently his energy and patience almost never seems to ebb and he more than likely will, if the animals and weather cooperate, ensure his client gets that singular capture." – Carl M.

February 2 - 8, 2018: Winter Tour

Winter 2018 tour group
Winter Tour Adventurers: Pete, Joss, Max, Steve and Ted
My second winter tour was a public tour for four clients. A couple of last-minute cancellations due to health concerns left me filling the final two spots very late, but I was fortunate to score a couple of great participants to fill out what ended up being a very fun tour.

We headed straight into the interior on this tour. With only two days to explore, I was fortunate to have a group of park veterans who were willing to skip some of the more popular stops in favor of venturing further afield. As a results, we were able to get over to Yellowstone Lake a couple times. The Lake and Hayden Valley in particular were in the throes of some serious winter weather, which made for a challenging and desolate setting for photography. Up in the northern range, we had some nice wildlife luck, seeing otters and several red foxes to round out the trip.

Bison by Steve Santel
Bison by tour client Steve Santel
"I've always wanted to visit Yellowstone in winter and there's no one else I would rather have toured with than Max Waugh. This trip, like all of of the tours I've taken with Max, far exceeded my loftiest expectations.

Max is the finest wildlife photography guide I've met. While he is an extremely gifted photographer (currently has 2 images hanging in the Smithsonian), Max puts the goals and happiness of his clients first. This often occurs at the expense of his own photography. He won't start photographing a subject until each client is set up. He frequently gives up opportunities of his own to insure that his clients get 'the shot.' My own photography has improved tremendously since I started traveling with Max. If you want to have the trip of a lifetime and experience wildlife like you never have before, take a Max Waugh tour." – Steve S.

Red fox by Ted Morgan
Stuck fox by tour client Ted Morgan
"I signed up for Max's trip with high expectations. I wanted to see a wide variety of wildlife, capture some quality photographic memories, and elevate my photography skills. Oh, and I wanted to have fun!

Mission accomplished. Max is an incredible guide who was spotting animals left and right. He made sure we were in a good position to get the shot, and he was extremely generous sharing his knowledge of what it takes to capture a great image. Thank you Max for a fantastic fun-filled week of wildlife photography!" – Ted M.

"We had a fabulous week being guided by Max in Yellowstone February 2018. Max's knowledge of the area was invaluable and led us to so many interesting sightings and photographic opportunities.

Barrow's goldeneye by Pete Downing
Barrow's goldeneye by tour client Pete Downing
He made sure we had a fantastic trip and and his relaxed and easy-going style was perfect for us and our companions on the trip Steve and Ed.

We had a real laugh as well as managing to get some wonderful images courtesy of Max's expertise in getting us into the right place at the right time. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend Max if you are looking for a full on photographic experience and we will hopefully be joining him on other trips in the future." – Pete D.

January 25 - February 1, 2018: Private Tour

Winter 2018 private tour group
Private Tour Adventurers: Zack, John, Max, Doug, Laurie,
Christie, Beverly, Martin, Ron, Doug and Mark.
Some past clients from previous tours booked a private trip for eight people. Zack joined us to help with this larger group, and we had a great time exploring the northern range and the park interior. We started with three days of exploration in the north, searching for wildlife in the snowy northeast, and getting in some exploration in the arid northwest.

Bison, of course, put on a show, but we had nice encounters with bighorn sheep, pronghorns and other ungulates, including some bull elk sparring out of season. Part of the group even had a brief otter sighting.

Coyote by Martin Cooper
Mousing coyote by tour client Martin Cooper.
Birds also offered some photo ops, including some rare sightings of Common redpolls and a few other species that are often difficult to photograph in the park.

Following our northern range exploration, we ventured into the interior for three days on a private snow coach. We were challenged with some harsh winter weather, but found nice opportunities to photograph the frozen landscapes of the interior. It's always great to work with a group that knows each other well and meshes well in the field, and these clients were no exception.

"We had a great time on the tour. Yellowstone in the winter is clearly a magical place. We would love to go again sometime.

We never got cold, and your advice on what gear to pack was spot on. Going with a built-in group of friends made the trip very special, but we would have enjoyed ourselves no matter what. Thanks for the great trip, we recounted and could remember 14 mammal species and 25+ birds. Probably forgot some." – Bob and Laurie W.

Bison by Doug Coombs
Bison by tour client Doug Coombs
"This was my second trip with Max; my wife and I will be doing my third and her second this spring.

Max always puts his clients first and works hard to find the current photo opportunities in the area, in this case Yellowstone. He has a network of colleagues and friends that he keeps in touch with online and via radio. He is very knowledgeable about the local birds and mammals as well as the area geography and history and is an excellent overall guide. His tours are dawn to dusk." – Doug C.

October 6, 2017: Private Tour

Pika by Wendy Sisson
Pika by tour client Wendy Sisson
Wendy and Alex were staying at one of our Silver Gate Cabins at the same time I happened to be in the park, so we were fortunate to be able to meet up for a half-day private tour. Because it was the beginning of their trip, our short time together laid some groundwork for future exploration, as I was able to share some of the best locations for Yellowstone wildlife spotting that they (both Yellowstone veterans) may not have visited. Wendy was ready with plenty of questions, so we were able to discuss various wildlife photography techniques and how to apply them in the field. It was a very fun morning, and kicked out what ended up being a fruitful photography trip for Wendy.

"I had the good fortune to attend a photo workshop/tour in Yellowstone with Max during the month of October. Not only did I learn tips to improve my technical skills, but it helped me gain more knowledge about where to look for various species, how to anticipate their behavior so that I'm prepared when the action starts and steps I can take to achieve better images (literally). For example, we saw a herd of antelope in the distance and by making the extra effort to take a short hike over a hill, we were able to witness two males locking horns in a battle for dominance. It was really fun to observe this and it would not have been visible from our original vantage point. I highly recommend signing up with Max for a private tour if you want to improve your wildlife photography." – Wendy S.

June 10, 2017: Private Tour

Pika by Dave O'Brien
Camouflaged pika by tour client Dave O'Brien
Dave and Kathy were Yellowstone veterans, but wanted to spend some time exploring with me in order to familiarize themselves with more of the park's hidden hot spots. So the mission on this day was as much about covering ground and exploring a lot of different spots as it was about finding photo opportunities. We were able to find some wildlife, of course, including the first good look my guests had of a pika, several coyotes, bears and birds. It was a fun, educational day both in and outside the park boundary, and Dave and Kathy came away with a better understanding of where to hunt for subjects on future trips.

"Max's enthusiastic attitude, and entertaining stories of your experiences certainly were a highlight for Dave and me. Thank you again for the wonderful personal tour! Now I know the great man behind all of those interesting trip reports and engaging photographs!" – Kathy O.

June 3 - 9, 2017: Spring Tour

Spring 2017 tour group
Spring Tour Adventurers: Sheila, Jake, Susanne, Wolfgang, Max,
Miyuki and Doug
My annual group tour in the spring of 2017 featured a mix of new and past clients, so I had a pretty good sense it was going to go well. Sure enough, we had a really fun week. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to land a perfect mix of wonderful personalities, creative photographers and great wildlife spotters. This was one of those trips.

The trip started off with a bang, with a grizzly bear and cub close to the road (so close we couldn't get out of the tour vehicle). Things took off from there, from good black bear photo sessions to frolicking bison and moose calves, to close fox encounters to the harder-to-find stuff like the American badger.

Grizzly bears by Jake Dingel
Grizzly sow and cub by tour client Jake Dingel
We even had a rare Peregrine falcon photo op! For many of my guests, it was their first time experiencing the park in spring, and now they're addicted... which, let's face it, is par for the course!

"I've finally made it home from a great two weeks in Yellowstone. Top of my list to see and get photos of was a grizzly bear. Three hours into the trip our guide Max was able to show us not one buttwo grizzlies." – Jake D.

"We spent a great 5 days chasing and photographing wildlife in Yellowstone National Park with Max Waugh in early June 2017. Fellow photographers from our local club had told us Max was a great guide, very knowledgeable about wildlife and an excellent guide and photographer. We were not disappointed!

Peregrine falcon by Doug Coombs
Peregrine falcon by tour client Doug Coombs
Max guided us from pre-sunrise to post-sunset. It was obvious he knew the park and the hot spots for wildlife. He was in constant contact with his friends and associates at the park and made real time adjustments to the day's itinerary when he received a hot tip. He personally knew many of the other photographers and guides whom shared information amongst themselves in order to better the collective experience of all. My wife, who was new to taking photographs, but had been accompanying me for years with book or Kindle in-hand for many years, had such a great time that we reserved spots for Max's 2018 Yellowstone spring tour before completion of this tour. She has told many of our friends how she has never seen so much wildlife in one trip. Our local club is doing a private 6-day winter tour with Max in January of 2018. It will be cold, but I'm confident Max will make it worthwhile." – Doug C.

September 23 - 30, 2016: Autumn Tour

Two enthusiastic photographers, Rick and Zoltan, joined Zack for his Autumn Photo Tour. The fall color was at its peak, it was a great time to be in the parks. Not only were the landscape opportunities plentiful, but the wildlife was active as well. Throughout the week we encountered everything from bears to foxes. The moose and elk rut were in full swing, and we were able to make many photographs of the animals with the colorful foliage providing a wonderful backdrop. One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity to photograph numerous Great gray owls.

June 23 - 25, 2016: Private Tour

Paul joined Zack for a short Yellowstone tour, with two main goals in mind, to come away with a variety of landscape and wildlife images. Spring is always a great time to be in the park, and this trip was no exception. Over the course of three days we photographed a rainbow at Lower Falls, plenty of geyser eruptions including a sunset eruption of Great Fountain Geyser, a unique fogbow at Grand Prismatic Spring, and some very cooperative Long-eared Owls, not to mention a variety of other wildlife.

Sunset by Paul Kammen
Sunset by tour client Paul Kammen
"As someone who takes photography seriously, I wanted to make sure to do Yellowstone right. Books are helpful, but there's nothing like having a knowledgable guide who knows where to go and when. Thanks to Zack's help, I was able to have a relaxed trip, while getting to the key parts of the park and seeing a ton, getting shots I'd never have gotten on my own. I also learned new and better ways to take photographs. Zack was very easy-going and flexible and tailor made my trip to the kinds of shots I wanted to get. Thanks to him I left with not just a good quantity of shots to fill up a memory card, but a lot of good quality shots too. I couldn't have been happier." – Paul K.

June 12 - 18, 2016: Spring Tour

It's always nice to have a group of enthusiastic photographers who are up for photographing just about anything. Naturally, this makes my job as a guide easier, but it also means my clients can fully appreciate the bounty that Yellowstone has to offer during a spring tour.

Grizzly cub by Paul Kammen
Grizzly cub by tour client Oscar Dang
During the Spring 2016 wildlife tour, Connie, Julie and Oscar were treated to the great variety of animals the park presents each year in June. From a grizzly bear and cub at close range to great horned owlets to black bears with cubs... heck, even ground squirrel babies put on a show! It was a successful trip, photo-wise, and my clients came away with a better understanding of the park which will help them on their own future visits.

"As a first-time visitor to Yellowstone, Max provided a trip that will have me returning for many years to come. He is knowledgeable, professional and takes the task of providing an informative and productive tour very seriously. The wildlife opportunities that he provides, along with his experienced guidance have meant that I have taken some of my best photos on this tour." – Oscar D.

February 19 - 26, 2016: Winter Tour

2016 Winter Tour Group
Winter Tour Adventurers: Linda, Max, Wolfgang, Jack and Susanne
What a fun group this turned out to be. Wolfgang and Susanne joined former Yellowstone tour clients Linda and Jack for a week split between the northern range and the park interior. Everyone in the group was a Yellowstone "veteran," with at least two or three trips under their belts, so it was important to find something new and exciting. Luckily, the park came through for us!

We were fortunate to have lovely weather throughout the week, which led to some very nice photo oppportunities both on the wildlife and landscape front. Wildlife was the primary focus of most of the group, and we scored with a variety of animal sightings, including otters, coyotes, ungulates, and even the 16 member Mollies wolf pack on one day.

Old Faithful by Linda Carney
Old Faithful by tour client Linda Carney
But the real highlight was provided by Yellowstone's red fox population. The fox action was incredible, with multiple sightings nearly every day. Fox photo opportunities were overflowing, and we were fortunate to witness both hunting and courtship behavior.

"Mother Nature laid out the white carpet for Max's winter tour! Hayden Valley, Canyon and the Madison River looked spectacular in their blanket of snow. Add in the wildlife sightings of 19 fox sightings, bald eagles, otters, big horns, swans, moose and coyotes.

"Thanks Max for another wonderful adventure!" – Linda C.

Tree and shadows by Susanne Moll
Tree abstract by tour client Susanne Moll
"The Yellowstone Winter Tour with Max was an absolute great experience. My husband and I loved it both. I had been twice to Yellowstone before and dreamed of visiting the park during wintertime. My main interest was taking photographs of wildlife in snowy scenery, but I was interested in some typical landscapes and geothermal features as well. For all of this, the tour with Max was perfect. With Max we had a guide who is very familiar with Yellowstone in general and the wildlife and its behaviour especially. Even if he (of course) doesn't know, when and where wildlife shows up, he has a good intuition to know if its worth to wait or come back again. And, of course, good tips when photographing the wildlife.

I liked very much traveling in a small group (4 clients): A good thing for individual interests and needs.

Red fox by Jack Bell
Red Fox by tour client Jack Bell
Max made it easy for us to have a good time. He had an eye for individual expectations and a friendly, humorously way to bring the group together. Max always made me feel like part of the group even though I was the only one who wasn't a "big lens client." With Max I learned a lot about the Park and its wildlife, I learned some lessons about patience and profited from his experience in Yellowstone and as photographer. We liked the whole experience so much, that we're planning a Spring Tour with Max. Hopefully relatively soon!" – Susanne M.

"I wish to thank Max for another great trip. The 2016 Yellowstone National Park winter tour was amazing. Max's knowledge Yellowstone and his ability to get us up close to the wildlife made it possible for to come home with some great shots. I have already scheduled Max's Winter tour for Yellowstone in 2017. I am already looking forward to the trip with anticipation. I know it will be spectacular." – Jack B.

October 7, 2015: Private Tour

Great gray owl by Juan Bravo
Great Gray Owl by tour client Juan Bravo
Juan and Nina came all the way from Puerto Rico to explore the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in the fall.

I had one day to give them a lay of the land and set them up for the rest of their stay in Yellowstone, so it was important to cover as many areas and "hot spots" as possible.

Though things can often slow down by October we had some good luck, finding a grizzly bear on a carcass, some majestic bull elk and the elusive great gray owl. I had a great time giving Juan and Nina a lay of the land. They were eager and patient, always a good combination when searching for wildlife.

"We enjoyed every minute of our photo tour with you and we have talked about planning another one when the opportunity arises. We will be checking your website and reading your messages in order to keep abreast of your offerings.

Thank you again for making our Yellowstone vacation a fascinating one." – Juan & Nina B.

September 25 - October 4, 2015: Fall Yellowstone & Grand Teton Tour

2015 Fall Tour Group
Fall Tour Adventurers: Max, Zack, Bill, Charlotte, Rick and Ed
This was a special extended tour led by both Max and Zack. It was a trip designed to make the most of our time in both Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, utilizing the knowledge of our two expert guides and photographers for both wildlife and landscape shoots.

It was a fun week-and-a-half with this group. We tackled everything from the elk rut to grizzly bears by the lake to early morning sunrise shoots in the Tetons. Everyone was even willing to endure a heavy rainstorm in order to photograph a family of beavers working hard near their lodge. Overall it was a successful trip, from many animal "firsts" to several new lessons learned by our clients. Thanks to Bill, Charlotte, Ed and Rick for a great time!

"I recently attended Max Waugh's Fall Yellowstone and Grand Tetons Tour, and it met and exceeded my expectations!

Horse and Tetons by Ed McDermott
Horse and Tetons by tour client Ed McDermott
Max and Zack knew all the hot spots and routes to check out to maximize our chances of seeing a variety of wildlife as well as many scenic spots along our travels during the ten days. I was able to photograph a grizzly sow and her cub, black bear, mule deer, bison, moose, pika, bald eagle, elk, pronghorn and more. A very nice end to our last day was a twilight shoot of some bighorn sheep on the cliffs in Yellowstone!

"This was my first trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons and the scenery was magnificent. The weather co-operated for the most part, but even during a rather rainy late afternoon we had lots of fun heading down to a stream in the Grand Tetons to photograph a number of beaver who put on quite a nice display for us.

Being a rather inexperienced wildlife photographer I soon learned that patience is the key and you sure don't let a little bad weather stop you from getting some great shots! I learned a tremendous amount of valuable tips from both Max and Zack on shooting wildlife as well as some good info on improving my landscape photos.

Cross fox by Bill Richardson
Cross fox by tour client Bill Richardson
Max and Zack made sure we had lots to eat and we had several nice picnic lunches in the parks. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and we developed a good feeling of camaraderie between us. I was sad in one way for the experience to end but I can't say enough good things about the trip. I will definitely return to Yelloswtone and the Grand Tetons and will also check out some of Max's other photo tours." – Ed M.

"Max runs a great trip. I did Yellowstone spring and Yellowstone fall and now have booked Yellowstone winter. Enough said!" – Bill R.

June 13 - 20, 2015: Private Tour

2015 Spring Private Tour
Private Tour Adventurers: Phil, Cathy, Lexi, Michelle, Rob and Max
Phil contacted me about arranging a private week-long tour for his family. They have traveled to numerous locations around the globe in search of wildlife, but this was their first time visiting Yellowstone. It's always a treat to host a group that is enthusiastic about seeing a variety of wildlife (Yellowstone is a great spot for that, of course) and is seeing so much of what the park has to offer for the first time.

We had a fantastic week. After a couple near-misses, we managed to track down a wolf and view him from relatively close range. We spent part of one afternoon staking out a coyote den, getting some great looks as the pups came out to peek at us through the grass. Bears were still very active at this time of the spring as well, and we had multiple encounters with different sows with cubs.

Osprey with fish by Robert Dien
Osprey with catch by tour client Robert Dien
Outside the park we had some nice luck too, hiking out to view mountain goats up close in the Beartooth Wilderness, and finding a large band of wild horses to the east of the park. It was a wonderful week of wildlife viewing and photography with a lovely family. I can't wait to see them again!

"I had a wonderful time in and around Yellowstone with Max as a guide. We saw many more animals than we would have if touring on our own and Max's knowledge was invaluable. Whether interested in getting photographs of sunlight filtering through the trees in the early morning fog, or finding wolves, bears, owls, and bighorn sheep to photograph, Max was able to make the most of our time in the park.

Bighorn sheep by Cathy Dien
Leaping bighorn sheep by tour client Cathy Dien
While many guides may just drive through the park and point out the wildlife, Max was willing to literally take us the extra mile(s) on foot treks into the woods to find wildlife; across alpine slopes 10,000 feet up off the Beartooth highway to photograph mountain goats; and into the scrubland in Wyoming to get beautiful pictures of the wild horses.

Making the effort and taking the time to watch and photograph the animals in seclusion while on our own (away from the roadside crowds) was priceless. I hope to take another trip with Max sometime (and somewhere) in the future." – Robert D.

"It was such an awesome experience just being near the wildlife. We thoroughly enjoyed your company and appreciate all that you did to make our trip a huge success! Thank you again!" – Cathy D.

Black bear cub by Robert Dien
Black bear cub by tour client Philip Dien
"Max was a phenomenal photo guide on our trip to Yellowstone. He has an intimate knowledge of the park and the local wildlife, and he was able to find amazing photo opportunities for us that we never could have discovered on our own. Some of our close encounters with bears, coyote pups, and the wild horses east of Yellowstone will be unforgettable memories.

Max's extensive experience photographing exotic wildlife throughout the world and his enthusiasm for spotting wildlife made for an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable tour." – Philip D.

June 7 - 13, 2015: Spring Tour #2

2015 Spring Tour Group #2
Spring Tour Adventurers: Leighton, Pat, Betty, Brian and Max
My second spring tour group came together rather quickly, as I had a free week in the park and began advertising the trip pretty late. Nonetheless, we had four enthusiastic individuals ready to tackle the park. Many had been to Yellowstone previously, but wanted to see it in a new light and gain some new insights into what the park can offer in spring.

As usual, many folks in the group had individual wildlife goals, and we met nearly all of them. We were fortunate to photograph a fox den with five cute kits, we saw a black bear swimming with her two new cubs, we saw multiple great horned owls with owlets, found an active badger sett, had plenty of good bear action, and as with the previous week's tour, we capped things off with a fantastic close wolf encounter.

Red fox with kit by Betty Caldwell
Red fox and kit by tour client Betty Caldwell
"Max, I had a fantastic time on your trip and hope to accompany you again in the future." – Leighton C.

"I totally enjoyed my tour with Max and highly recommend it to any photographer who wants to experience much of the wildlife of Yellowstone. Max knows where they live, where they cross the river and where they are most likely to show up. I enjoyed our forays, was excited to experience so many animals as such close range and came home a better photographer. It is a rare experience to travel with someone who has the heart and passion of Max, and I treasured it." – Betty C.

"You far exceeded my expectations. Your knowledge of the park and the behavior of the wildlife truly speaks to your expertise in wildlife photography. Glad I came, and can't wait for the next trip!" – Pat N.

Yellow-bellied marmot by Brian Legge
Marmot and marmot-shaped rock by tour client Brian Legge
"If you're in search of a great wildlife adventure in Yellowstone, I highly recommend Max Waugh as a tour guide!

My second spring photo tour in a row didn't disappoint. Max has an easy-going demeanor that contributes to a relaxed atmosphere of the tour, while at the same time putting in the extra hours and miles to maximize viewing and photo opportunities. Be prepared to get up early and spend a lot of time in the field with Max, you'll certainly be rewarded." – Brian L.

May 30 - June 6, 2015: Spring Tour

2015 Spring Tour Group
Spring Tour Adventurers: Rick, Steve, Dee, Sheila, Jack, Bill and Max
The first of my spring group tours featured a really fun bunch of photographers from across the US.

We had a fantastic week, checking off numerous goals and "firsts" for this great group of clients. Highlights included black bear cubs, a grizzly bear walking right at us in nice morning light, a hunting fox, a very cooperative beaver and even a mountain goat. This group proved to be fantastic at spotting and their enthusiasm for Yellowstone wildlife was infectious. I can't wait to work with some of these folks again on future adventures.

"I have not stopped talking about this trip since I got home. Thank you Max for being such a fantastic tour guide, you never stopped working hard, finding the wildlife we most wanted to see and more. Getting to spend time with so many different animals, including bears, wolves, badgers, elk, moose and many more was amazing—and I'll not forget the trip to the Beartooth Highway. Every day was an adventure.

Red fox by Sheila Lewis
Red fox with prey by tour client Sheila Lewis
This was my first photography tour, I learned so much and was lucky to be with such a great group of people, it was non-stop fun. I will definitely be arranging another trip in the future. Once again, thank you Max for leading such a great tour!" – Sheila L.

"For as long as I can remember, seeing wildlife has been my greatest passion. When asked what my dreams were as a young boy, I invariably replied "to go to Africa." I was fortunate to live that dream for the first time a decade ago. I've been traveling the world to experience nature and its amazing creatures for many years. My favorite place to explore in North America is Yellowstone National Park. I've been there numerous times and always return home with a smile on my face. This year I decided to do something different and elected to forgo exploring the park on my own in favor of participating in a Tour hosted by renowned photographer Max Waugh.

Beaver by Steve Santel
Beaver by tour client Steve Santel
I had fairly high expectations for this journey as a result of following Max's trip reports for the past couple of years. My expectations were not only met, but they were exceeded tenfold!

Max is the consummate guide and his wildlife knowledge as well as his familiarity with and passion for Yellowstone made every second of this trip truly enjoyable. I saw a greater variety of wildlife than I've ever experienced on my own in the park. The great variety of species sightings was only exceeded by the quality of the aforementioned sightings. All of my realistic goals for this trip were accomplished and then some. Even a couple of "pie in the sky" dreams such as sharing the same small parcel of Earth with a red fox came true. Now, some two weeks after returning home I find my thoughts continuing to return to the recent time spent in Yellowstone. It was a very special experience and one I'll never forget. Thanks to Max and the great group we had for making this my best trip to YNP." – Steve S.

Black bears by Dee Weston
Black bears by tour client Dee Weston
"Thanks to all for a great trip... All kudos to Max and your super efforts in getting us in position to find the animals. Can't argue that 0400 is too early to look for the bears, wolves, beavers, moose, etc.... now I am CULLING through hundreds of photos and am getting starry-eyed." – Dee W.

Thanks so much for your fantastic tour. I have been telling all of my photographer friends that this an experience not to be missed! This was my first nature photography tour, and I was not sure what to expect. I had many animals on my "to see and to photograph" list, and thanks to your knowledge of the park, of the animals and their habits I was lucky enough to check off all them.

Sunrise by Bill Richardson
Sunrise by tour client Bill Richardson
I really appreciated how you led the group and created such a positive and friendly atmosphere for all of us. I want to especially note how you helped provide everyone, regardless of their skill and experience, an opportunity to achieve their photography goals for the week. The tour was an unforgettable experience for me, and I am looking forward to taking another tour with you. Thanks again!!" – Rick P.

"Great trip! Max offers door to door service which is a necessity for me because I do not drive. Very well organized and dedicated to the guests' success. Going back soon!" – Bill R.

May 24-27, 2015: Private Tour

Richard joined me for a short Yellowstone tour that had one goal: Wolves! He had visited the park three times before, and had never seen a wolf, much less come away with decent photos. So the pressure was on...

Yellowstone Wolves by Richard Barrett
Lamar Canyon wolves by tour client Richard Barrett
Not only did I manage to find some wolves for Richard, but we had multiple encounters, including one of my best wolf photo opportunities in three years. We put in a lot of work scouting and following the progress of the wolves in Yellowstone's Northern Range, and on our final morning had several members of the Lamar Canyon Pack approach and cross the road. Richard was able to photograph both gray and black wolves, and came away with a number of nice images.

We did see more than just wolves, of course. Bears also provided some nice photo opportunities, including a mother with cubs from 20 yards (photographed from the safety of the vehicle!) and a grizzly bear crossing the road in front of us. Overall, the trip was a rousing success given Richard's very specific goals! View more of Richard's photos from the trip here.

"Many many thanks for such an excellent job guiding me these last few days. It was a superb experience. I know you said we were lucky with the wolves, but I think your skill at anticipating where they were heading, and moving to the right spot each time was the difference that turned a mildly useful encounter into a really excellent encounter. Great job! It was a pleasure and privelige to be with such an expert for my time in Yellowstone." – Richard B.

February 27 - March 6, 2015: Winter Tour w/Zack Clothier

Three seasoned photographers joined Zack for his "Winter in Wonderland" photo tour in Yellowstone. Explorations included the northern range, as well as an overnight snowcoach trip into the steamy, geyser-filled park interior.

Winter Bison by Robert Warrington
Winter bison by tour client Robert Warrington
The trip started off with a bang when we had a close encounter with the Canyon wolf pack on our way south. Besides the wolves, we also located a fox and several coyotes, making it a "three dog day". We stopped at several thermal areas to photograph the ghost trees, and even ventured out into the rarely visited (at least in the winter) lower geyser basin, where we came across a very large set of grizzly tracks in the snow... keep in mind this was February!

We arrived at Old Faithful just in time to catch two eruptions, one at Old Faithful, and another at Castle Geyser at sunset. After dinner we set out into the dark for a night session at Old Faithful. A cloudless sky, combined with a waning gibbous moon, provided us with ideal conditions for the shoot. Later when we downloaded the images to our laptops we all noticed what appeared to be faint auroras on the horizon. The color was not visible to our naked eye, but our camera sensors were able to pick it up.

Fox and Sheep by Jack Bell
Fox and bighorn sheep by tour client Jack Bell
The rest of the trip provided us with many more opportunities for wildlife, including numerous foxes, bison, coyotes, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, and even wolves. Plentiful wildlife aside, we also had some incredible winter landscape opportunities in our first National Park.

"Anyone who says Yellowstone isn't good for landscape photography hasn't met Zack. Being local to the area, he knows the place like the back of his hand. Not only does he show you the best places, he tells you what he's "seeing" and will go step by step with you through his technique. Then, over dinner he'll take you step by step through his post-process workflow. I can't recommend Zack enough." – Robert W.

Soda Butte Creek by Paul Zaretsky
Soda Butte Creek by tour client Paul Zaretsky
"The Yellowstone Winter Photo Tour with Zack was an amazing adventure and a photography feast. Zack had us in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the winter photography opportunities in our first National Park. Thanks to Zack for making the tour so comfortable, easy and a lot of fun. I plan to join future tours offered by Zack. – Jack B.

"This was my first trip to Yellowstone and I can't imagine a better way to experience this amazing National Park. Zack is a fantastic guide and his knowledge of the park and wildlife really helped me get the most out of the time I spent there. I'm already looking forward to a return trip and connecting with Zack again." – Paul Z.

September 22-28, 2014: Fall Yellowstone & Grand Teton Tour

2014 Fall Tour Group
Fall Tour Adventurers: Linda, Max, Karin, Zack, Gustav, Kel,
Jack and Robert
Autumn is a unique time in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. It's not all about the animals, and I was fortunate to have an enthusiastic group that bonded over both wildlife and landscape photo opportunities in Yellowstone and the Tetons. I also invited photographer Zack Clothier as a special guest, and the group really appreciated seeing his take on landscape shooting.

We spent the first half of the trip in Yellowstone, and enjoyed some nice shoots with rutting elk, pronghorn and even the threatened trumpeter swan. We also spent time on the Beartooth Pass, seeking out pikas and photographing spectacular mountain landscapes. The second half of the trip was spent in the Grand Tetons, where there were more wildlife sightings for us to enjoy. Elk clashed at dawn in the sage flats, and bull moose roamed riverside areas. We even had a great horned owl (one of four on this trip!) pose for us late one afternoon.

Horses and Grand Tetons by Gustav Evertsson
Horses and Grand Tetons by tour client Gustav Evertsson
(Click to see larger version)
Of course, the Tetons offer more than just wildlife viewing. The tour offered ample opportunities to photograph the autumn colors, which had just reached their peak. Yellow and orange groves of cottonwoods and aspens were favorite subjects, even at a macro level. The landscape highlight was an excellent sunrise shoot at Oxbow Bend.

"Thank you Max, Zack and the rest of the group for making it a very memorable visit to the great Yellowstone Park!" – Gustav E.

Bull Moose by Robert Warrington
Rainy bull moose by tour client Robert Warrington
"Poor weather and errant wildlife activity might be a problem for some, but Max was able to overcome those two items and take us on a fantastic fall tour of both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. His knowledge of the area and the habits of its wildlife really come into play when nature conspires against you. Most would have spent the time indoors, not our group.

Having the very talented Zack Clothier along with us was a fantastic bonus. Zack too has immense knowledge of the area and is an incredibly talented landscape photographer. He wasn't shy in sharing his ideas, tips and techniques, and that doesn't come at a better time than fall in the Tetons. Add in an incredibly funny and talented group of fellow travelers and this made for an extraordinary tour. I highly recommend it!" – Robert W.

Trumpeter Swans by Karin Occhialini
Trumpeter swans by tour client Karin Occhialini
"Took my first photo tour with Max this fall and it will not be my last. We concentrated on Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Max also included Zack Clothier, a landscape photographer, whose talents and knowledge were a wonderful addition for photographing the Fall colors.

Max tirelessly ensured that our experiences viewing bull elk with their harems, moose, and other wildlife—including the rare Trumpeter swans—were met and exceeded. Sunrise at Oxbow Bend and and a bull elk with cows on a hillside silhouetted against an orange, dawn sky were unforgettable. Owls, pronghorn, bison and horses grazing with the Grand Tetons as a backdrop were special opportunities to photograph. Max and Zack were both available to help and, as a new photographer, that was so appreciated. Toss in a great group of fellow photographers and it became a week to remember. Thank you Max!" – Karin O.

Oxbow Bend by Kelvin Blake
Oxbow Bend by tour client Kelvin Blake
"I recently did the Autumn Yellowstone Park trip with Max Waugh photography tours. The trip was well planned and executed by both Max and his colleague Zack Clothier. I was very new to the area and relied on both Max and Zack for information of the local terrain and the wildlife in the area. Max not only had an extensive knowledge of the local wildlife but also could fill in the history of the local area.

This is the first time I have ever travelled with a group of photographers and it will definitely not be the last. Overall I had a fantastic time, and I would highly recommend anybody considering travelling to Yellowstone consider joining a group with Max Waugh photography tours. Once again Max thank you for a very enjoyable and educational experience." – Kelvin B.

Elk at Sunrise by Jack Bell
Elk at Sunrise by tour client Jack Bell
"I was fortunate to participate in the 2014 Fall Yellowstone photo tour organized by Max Waugh. He did a superb job of organizing the tour and provided a wide range of photographic opportunities. Having a tour leader that knows the 'territory' and his wildlife, and has eyes like a hawk was key to our success.

The real highlight of the tour for me was that I was traveling with a wonderful group of fellow photographers with the same aim. Everyone in the group understood the need to be at the right locations with the right light. The group was always cheerful about the early mornings and the late evenings as we pursued photographic opportunities. We had a great deal of fun together, discussed our love of photography, and shared the excitement of capturing images.

I returned home with a large number of images and have been reliving the experience as I complete the processing. I plan to join Max next year for his 2015 Yellowstone Spring Tour." – Jack B.

June 7-14, 2014: Private Tour

2014 Private Spring Tour Group
Spring Private Tour Adventurers: Mark, Tracey, Amy, Ruth, Cherry,
Ross and Max (Not Pictured: Jules)
Lucky me! For the second week in a row I was blessed with a fantastic group of travelers. This time, it was a private tour organized by Jules and Tracey, for a group of seven mostly traveling from the United Kingdom.

This was an experienced group of photographers that had met and traveled together in the UK and abroad, including a previous winter trip to Yellowstone. Despite traveling to a number of top wildlife destinations around the globe, they wanted to experience the wonders of Yellowstone in spring. Thankfully, the park was up to the task.

As with the tour the week prior, the wildlife action was non-stop. We enjoyed sightings and photo opportunities with most of the park's major species, including mating grizzly bears, multiple black bears with cubs, prancing elk calves, playful pronghorn fawns and more. We were also treated to some rarer sightings, including mountain goats, great horned owlets, an active badger den and a cooperative long-tailed weasel. It was a spectacular week for wildlife photography!

It was a real pleasure guiding this group. Their experience traveling for wildlife photography and working together on past adventures led to a relaxed and very fun atmosphere. I can't wait to see them again on a future adventure.

Long-tailed Weasel by Tracey Lund
Long-Tailed Weasel by tour client Tracey Lund
"I wanted to thank you for such a great trip. We were all exhausted but it was worth every minute. I honestly came back home saying that this was perhaps the best vacation I have ever taken. Like everyone else, I have traveled a lot but having you as a guide and this being my first photography tour, it was definitely outstanding for me. I also appreciate your help and tips. Some of the things I learned took me back to the basics that I had forgotten, but I feel like I came home having learned a lot." – Cherry K.

"I still can't express what a fantastic trip it was and I didn't want to come home. You have been by far the best guide I have traveled with so far. There is no doubt you will be seeing us again, whether it be as a group or individuals on your trips. There are so many trips that you do that is on our list and even if it's not on your list I'm sure we could persuade you to organise something." – Tracey L.

Baby and momma badger by Mark Spridgeon
Badger family by tour client Mark Spridgeon
"Thanks for a lovely week. Very much enjoyed the whole set of days, especially running around after a weasel and stumbling up windy mountains for some very furry looking goats!! Thanks very much for all your efforts. They were long days for us, so even more so for you!!" – Ruth W.

"I cannot express in words just how much I enjoyed the trip, and your style suited me perfectly. I knew you would help if I needed it, but ultimately you were focused on getting us the opportunities we so desperately wanted." – Mark S.

"I would like to thank you for the great trip that you put on for us. I certainly know that I enjoyed myself and I feel confident in saying that we will be hoping to join another one of your tours in the future." – Ross S.

May 31 - June 7, 2014: Spring Tour

2014 Spring Tour Group
Spring '14 Adventurers: Sharon, Richard, Max, Brian, Jean-Philippe
My official spring group tour was a rousing success. The action started on our first day with several close black bear sightings, and didn't let up the rest of the way.

The many, many highlights included a black bear climbing a tree to dig out a bird nest, courting grizzly bears close to the road, a moose cow and calf dramatically trying to cross a flooded riverbed, and numerous smaller species such as beaver, foxes, owls and other spring birds. And we capped the trip with a marathon session with three cute black bear cubs!

Brian, Jean-Philippe, Richard and Sharon were wonderful clients throughout the week. Though a couple members of the group had spent considerable time in Yellowstone before, they all shared a common enthusiasm for seeking out and photograph the incredible variety of wildlife Yellowstone offered up.

Grizzly Bear by Sharon Powell
Grizzly Bear by tour client Sharon Powell
They certainly had an appreciation for the amazing number of wildlife encounters and photo opportunities we had, and took full advantage of them.

"Thank you so much for the wonderful Yellowstone wildlife tour. I got the best pictures of my life and had a great time. I really appreciate your knowledge, professionalism and everlasting patience! Thanks so much for the help with my camera skills too. I had the time of my life—especially loved all the bears and the owls!" – Sharon P.

"I have fond memories of the welcome you have given me and the great atmosphere that reigned during this week. Sincerely and thank you." – Jean-Philippe B.

"This was my first trip to Yellowstone.

Black Bear Digging Out Nest by Richard Bergey
Black Bear digging out a nest by tour client Richard Bergey
Going into the trip I hoped to see a bear or two, and possibly some cubs. Within the first 2 hours I had my first wild black bear sighting and within 24 hours I added a grizzly sighting too. By the end of the second day I lost count of how many bears we saw.

To top it off we saw baby antelope, baby buffalo, baby moose and yes, bear cubs too. Beavers, foxes, coyotes, and my list of wildlife sightings never ended. I saw my first Western Tanager, first Black-Billed Magpie, first American Pelican and had great opportunities to photograph them all.

All of this was possible because Max worked his butt off, we left every morning well before sunrise and several days it was dark when we returned.

Great Horned Owl by Brian Legge
Great Horned Owl by tour client Brian Legge
Max's knowledge of the animals, their habits, and locations they like to frequent was evident from the first day through the last. Max was absolutely an awesome guide. This trip was more than I ever imagined, for me it was definitely a trip of a lifetime. Thank you, Max!" – Richard B.

"This trip was a great opportunity to photograph wildlife. Max kept finding more and more wildlife for us to photograph, and it was a lot of fun sharing these encounters with some great people. It was a pretty amazing experience. I'd recommend Max as a tour guide if you ever have a chance to visit Yellowstone." – Brian L.

May 21, 2014: Private Workshop

Chipmunk and Golden-Mantled Squirrel by Karen Napoli
Chipmunk and Golden-Mantled Squirrel by tour client Karen Napoli
Annette and Karen returned to Yellowstone and opted to join me for a short private workshop for the second year in a row. It was a good excuse for them to brush up on their technique and get their technical questions answered while we searched for wildlife. We spotted four grizzly bears, harlequin ducks at LeHardy Rapids and moose in the Lamar Valley. Believe it or not, squirrels and chipmunks provided some excellent photo opportunities. It was a fun day and great to catch up with my former clients again!

"Just wanted to say thanks again. We are really hoping we can meet up with you somewhere in the park on our future trips. We've really enjoyed our time with you and have learned so much about Yellowstone wildlife and wildlife photography. We have gotten totally hooked on Yellowstone." – Annette P.

"I was a repeat customer for a private Yellowstone workshop in May. Once again Max outdid himself, from spotting pointers to composition and lighting tips, to ongoing camera function tutorials and so much more, Max has it all covered. He has a casual professionalism that invites questions and I felt there was no question too 'dumb' to ask (and ask, I did). I hope I will have an opportunity to shoot under Max's guidance yet again some day. I encourage anyone considering a tour or workshop to do it. You will be glad you did!" – Karen N.

January 17-23, 2014: Private Winter Tour

2014 Winter Private Tour Group
Winter Private Tour Adventurers: Samantha, Michelle, Ben and Max
Michelle came all the way from Australia for a private tour with her two children. It's not often that someone's first visit to Yellowstone comes during the frigid, harsh winter, but they dove into the experience with gusto. We spent three fabulous days in the interior, followed by a couple days in the Northern Range. The sun was out nearly the entire time, so we were presented with some fantastic landscapes near the various geyser basins. The wildlife highlights included a couple of carcasses that were visited by coyotes, eagles and even a distant fox.

"My kids (18 and 15) and I just came back from a winter Yellowstone tour with Max. I have traveled around the world photographing wildlife with professional guides for some years now, and I would say that Max is the best guide I have ever had. It's not just about his enthusiasm, knowledge and experience. All photography/wildlife guides have that. To put it simply, he was such a pleasure to be with. He was thoughtful, kind, generous, helpful, funny. He was really focused on ensuring we all had a good time. He was wonderful with the kids and was always happy to help them learn more about their cameras and excited them with some cool techniques. We really enjoyed his company and felt very relaxed with him. This is so important when you are in someone's hands for 5 days and you've come so far for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I did extensive research on the internet before choosing Max out of all the guides available, but of course, until you actually meet the person, you really have no idea what you are getting into. As soon as we met Max, it was clear I had made a great choice. Thanks Max!!" – Michelle L. (Note: Read an essay by Michelle about the magical Yellowstone winter experience.)

January 11-17, 2014: Winter Tour

2014 Winter Tour Group
Winter '14 Adventurers: Max, David, Jane, Richard, Bill and John
Five hearty souls joined me for a week-long adventure in wintery Yellowstone. We split time between the northern range and an overnight trip into the park interior.

Wildlife was often scarce throughout the week, but we managed some nice photo opportunities with moose, elk, bison and had close encounters with a cooperative coyote and trumpeter swan.

Despite the occasional challenges with the animals, the landscape opportunities were bountiful. Yellowstone presented some gorgeous photo sessions during our week, especially in the park interior. From the various thermal areas to the nice sunset and moonrise/moonset viewing, winter scenery dominated the week.

"Don't miss an opportunity to take a photography tour with Max. I just returned from a wonderful winter adventure in Yellowstone National Park and it was the trip of a lifetime. Max was the consummate guide right from the beginning with excellent advise on clothing and gear to keep this Florida boy warm enough to enjoy every minute. Beyond being always willing to help with technical questions, Max added so much with his complete knowledge of the park and its inhabitants. He also know the locals and had fresh updates daily on the best places to visit. He had a plan but was always sensitive to what the group wanted to do. I can't imagine a better guide and I know I had the best photo tour of my life. I hope to do another tour with Max soon." – Bill L.

Coyote by David Douglas
Coyote by tour client David Douglas
"While I've spent many spring and summer months in Yellowstone, this was my first winter visit. As a Floridian I was concerned with how to prepare for the winter weather as well as locating and photographing wildlife in these conditions. Max prepared us well with suggested clothing and general preparations for the trip.

Once in the park Max kept us informed and was a wealth of knowledge on Yellowstone's winter wildlife. Once the tour ended we stayed on in the park for an additional week and used the knowledge gained from Max to come away with many wonderful photos of this magical land." – David D.

"Joining Max Waugh on a winter tour into Yellowstone proved to be one of the great adventures of my life. Max brings a knowledge of wildlife that can benefit photographers of every level. Despite dealing with photographers of different skill levels, Max showed a genuine interest in making sure each member of the group had the best opportunity to experience and photograph their specific interest. The trip exceeded my expectations." – John S.

"My week spent with Max, along with four other very keen photographers was just incredible. To see Yellowstone in all her winter glory was something I had been looking forward to for a long time and it was everything and more of what I had imagined. Although not all creatures' great and small came out to play we had some very up close and personal encounters with a few of the amazing animals that call Yellowstone their home.

Ice formation by Jane Motley
Ice formation by tour client Jane Motley
Max is the perfect host, his local knowledge of the area is extremely useful (knows where some of those critters hang out) and I truly appreciated Max's photographic knowledge and tips along the way.

Whether an amateur photographer like myself or a more, avid professional photographer, this tour would suit you. For me it was truly inspirational and one of the most enjoyable weeks of my life. I would highly recommend this fantastic winter wonderland tour, a unique adventure in one of the most spectacular places on earth!!!!!!" – Jane M.

"P.S. - Loved the Huckleberry Sundae at Silver Gate."

June 1-8, 2013: Spring Tour

2013 Spring Tour Group
Spring '13 Adventurers: Anirban, Robert, Kathy, Chris, Linda and Max
I had five wonderful clients for my spring tour. Everyone came from different backgrounds and experience levels. Some had visited the park before while others were in Yellowstone for the first time. So it was rewarding being able to find subjects that appealed to everyone throughout the week.

We were afforded good opportunities to photograph grizzly and black bears, foxes (including an active den), migrating birds and even a badger. There were even some nice scenic photo opportunities mixed in, from the rainbow hitting Yellowstone Falls to misty sunrises to a trip up the scenic Beartooth Highway.

For many, the highlight of the tour was our visit to an active great gray owl nest. We were on hand when the male owl flew in to feed the female, and during a later visit we were afforded a peek at one of the owlets, only a day or two old.

"I wanted to thank Max for bringing us all on this wonderful trip. It was indeed one of my most memorable trips so far. I was mesmerised by the sheer beauty of this vast expanse. For me it was a dream come true, having waited for so long. I hope to visit again sometime." – Anirban D.

Fox kits by Kathy Barnhart
Fox kits by tour client Kathy Barnhart
"Max did a superb job of getting us in the right place at the right time, which is quite a feat in a 2 million acre park. I stayed on for a day and didn't see nearly as much as when we were all together. I loved being able to talk about ISOs and apertures to our heart's content, to enjoy a meal together at the end of the day's adventures, and to being in the presence of wildness.

Max is a marvelous teacher in a relaxed way, in addition to being a kind and thoughtful person, full of knowledge, experience, patience and enthusiasm. He was always generous with his information and just loves sharing the park and the animals, as well as his experiences from the past.

It would be great to go on another trip with him, or even to repeat this one. I also loved the small size of the group, which really helped things work well." – Kathy B.

Great Gray Owl by Linda Carney
Great gray owl with chick by tour client Linda Carney
"When I signed up to go on your tour I never knew what I was in for. This week of wildlife watching has totally exceeded my expectations. You go out of your way to meet your clients' needs. The generosity, hard work and dedication shown to me this week was unbelievable.

I can't thank you enough for carrying my tripod, checking my camera settings and taking us to see the owls was over the top. It has been an incredible week. Another Max trip is on my 'bucket list.' I will be talking about you for months to come." – Linda C.

"Thanks to Max for being such a great guide, teacher, inspiration and, well, just one heck of a nice guy. He put everyone at ease, gave great help, answered any question asked and not just verbally, but by explaining it then doing it right along with you.

Getting to see and experience a bit of his ideas and thought processes was truly a fantastic learning experience. I also learned that he never stops and does quite well with minimal sleep.

The trip itself was one for the ages." – Robert W. (Note: See Robert's photos from the tour here.)

May 22, 2013: Private Workshop

Bighorn sheep by Laura Cole
Bighorn sheep by tour client Laura Cole
Tami and Collin contacted me about setting up a private half-day tour as a graduation gift for their daughter Laura. It was a whirlwind trip for them, but they wanted Laura to get a taste of Yellowstone and wildlife photography before she started her new job. Laura's enthusiasm for learning and all of the wildlife we encountered was a treat, and I was pleased to be able to track down two of the three canid species she longed to see.

"Max was an incredible guide to have during our short time in Yellowstone! He brought to the table experience and knowledge about the park's wild animals and their habitats, giving us a rich overview of the park as well as the chance to witness a number of incredible sightings. With our untrained eyes, Max undoubtedly helped us to see far more wildlife than we could have dreamt of encountering on our own. Aside from the wildlife itself, Max was also a great photography teacher who was able to offer practical and useful tips on the spot to help me improve the shots that I was getting. We had a great time, and definitely made the most of our tight schedule with Max's tour." – Laura C.

May 20-21, 2013: Private Workshop

Sassy pika by Karen Napoli
Sassy pika, by tour client Karen Napoli
Annette and Karen hired me for a private two day wildlife session. They wanted to get a better sense of where to find certain species since they were spending some extra time in Yellowstone on their own, and also wished to pick up some photography tips. We had some great luck, including several grizzly bear sightings, a very cooperative fox and we were able to find one of Annette's "target" animals, the bighorn ram.

"I must start this 'testimonial' by stating I do not normally gush about anything. But any time I describe my experience with Max, that seems to be what I do since my two-day YNP workshop. The experience far exceeded any expectations I could have had. Max's casual professionalism put me at ease immediately. I have been a serious wildlife amateur for years – my pictures were decent... almost there, but not quite. I knew most of the technical points, but was just never disciplined enough to put it all together to reach that next level. Well, two days with Max connected many of the dots for me. With his guidance in the field, we experimented with various settings and seeing the immediate results was fantastic.

In addition to the photography workshop, Max is a wealth of information on all things YNP and wildlife, enlightening us about the animals and giving clues to maximize our sightings. Peppered in with tons of fun and exciting stories, the two days literally flew by. If at all possible I will definitely repeat a workshop with Max, and can't recommend it enough to others who want a top-notch guide and teacher. And there I am gushing again..." – Karen N.

Grizzly bear by Annette Piechowski
Grizzly bear, by tour client Annette Piechowski
"I had no idea what to expect when we signed up for a private photo tour of Yellowstone with Max. I was hoping to pick up some good pointers about photographing wildlife and I hoped to learn a little more about Yellowstone National Park. I never expected it to be the awesome experience that it was. Max was everything I could hope for in a photography instructor and his knowledge of all Yellowstone wildlife was beyond compare. I've taken photography lessons before but Max really put it all together for me with his instructions, suggestions and critiques. And he did it in a way that was very comfortable. We had a fun-filled tour with a lot of laughs, and had the good fortune to photograph lots of YNP wildlife including bears (black & grizzly), foxes, pika, harlequin ducks and, of course, the ever-present bison and elk. We even hit one of my target species: the bighorn ram! I got pictures I never thought I could get!!

Along the way, Max also provided us with valuable information about the natural history of YNP wildlife that you could never find in a book! I hated to see our 2 day photo workshop end but I will definitely be calling on Max in the future for a 'refresher.' I can't say enough about his knowledge and professionalism and would definitely recommend his photo tour/workshop!" – Annette P.

January 14-19, 2013: Private Workshop

Blacktail wolf by Steve DeRose
Blacktail Pack alpha male "Big Brown," by tour client Steve DeRose
In January I led a private four day workshop for Steve, whose main goal was to photograph the park's winter wildlife and improve his photography skills. We were presented with several opportunities to photograph many of the park's ungulates up close, including a number of good moose encounters. Other highlights included bighorn rams and pronghorns near the road. Many of the park's smaller, more elusive species proved scarce, but our patience and determination was rewarded with an incredible wolf encounter on our final day. Based on a bit of deduction (and luck!), I managed to place us in the right spot just as two wolves from the Blacktail Pack emerged in the open near the road. Soon after, these wolves proved to be excellent subjects for us and a number of other visitors as they howled from the hillside above the road. It was a rewarding end to the workshop.

"Thank you for serving as tour guide extraordinaire for my private Winter Yellowstone Photo Safari. Your knowledge of the park and its birds and animals was of vital importance in putting me in the right places at the right times to photograph the amazing wildlife. My primary reason for attending the tour was to improve my photography skills. I am confident that the numerous pointers and demonstrations you offered will benefit me greatly in the future. I especially appreciated our nightly image review sessions in which you provided constructive suggestions which will remain with me for years to come. Another unexpected but welcome addition to the tour was your spending a portion of one evening teaching me, in classroom style, the essential elements of quality photography. I could not have asked for a more skilled, patient and respectful guide and very much enjoyed getting to know you over the course of the tour. I hope to team with you on another adventure in the near future.

Thanks again for a great trip!" – Steve D.

January 4, 2013: Private Workshop

Napping coyote by Lance Gilliland
Napping coyote in the Lamar Valley, by tour client Lance Gilliland
Lance hired me for a one day workshop to focus on improving his photography skills in a difficult environment, and wintery Yellowstone certainly qualifies!

We were fortunate to be able to work with moose and coyotes quite close to the road, and finished with a nice session photographing American dippers as they dove in and out of Soda Butte Creek in some golden afternoon light.

"I found the workshop informative and practical, and Max certainly knows Yellowstone well, including sources of information as to wildlife movement." – Lance G.

September 22-26, 2012

Ryan joined me for a few days in the park in autumn, staying at the Silver Willows Cabin. Though it was not a long trip, we pack in a lot of sightings. We found not one, but two weasels, several pikas up in the Beartooth Pass, a great gray owl and rutting pronghorns. It was a great way for Ryan to put his little-used SLR camera and gear through their paces.

Long-tailed weasel by Ryan Groce
Long-tailed weasel, by tour client Ryan Groce
"After several years of following Max's photography in Yellowstone (and beyond) from the comfort of my computer, I was finally able to schedule a 4-day tour with Max in the park in September of 2012. Max's knowledge of Yellowstone, its inhabitants, where specific inhabitants are known to have been spotted and how the park changes over time is second to none. He is comfortable making recommendations for how to proceed through the park to give you the best opportunity for a great experience, but he also open to when his participants have a specific goal in mind they'd like to pursue or "wait out." He'll definitely work with you to get all the buffalo, bear, elk and pronghorn pictures you know you want from your trip, but he will also make suggestions (based on known activity and season) of where to have more unique encounters with moose, pikas, coyotes, wolves, otters and owls.

Although I was familiar with basic operations of my photography equipment used in everyday settings, Max was patient with my questions about how to set up my equipment up for wildlife encounters. He was comfortable and gentle about making suggested lighting settings, shutter speed, etc. for unique conditions so that you don't miss an opportunity or come away with poor shots when you have less than optimal conditions. He gives particularly good advice on how to observe when birds are readying to take off so that you are ready to fire away.

Max also remains in touch with many people who he knows are currently in the park or have recently left in case they might have information about wildlife activity. All of this makes for a very fruitful and fun experience." – Ryan G.

June 8-14, 2012

Phil was a friend and past client of mine who happened to be visiting the States for an extended period. I agreed to bring him to the park for his first Yellowstone experience. We had a tremendous amount of success searching for and photographing spring wildlife. On our first couple hours of exploration (after driving all the way from Seattle) we saw a great horned owl, an elk calf, and a rare mountain goat at close range. Things only got better the rest of the way. During the trip we saw six different black bears with new cubs, had an osprey catch a trout right in front of us, and encountered loads of other species.

Osprey with trout by Phil Yates
Osprey with trout, by tour client Phil Yates
"For my first trip to Yellowstone National park, I was fortunate to be able to spend a few days in the company of Max photographing wildlife. Max is a great teacher of photography—he is very knowledgeable and good at explaining how to make the most of your equipment in a clear, "jargon-free" style. Max has a friendly, relaxed teaching manner and has an engaging personality and contagious enthusiasm for wildlife and photography.

Max has many years experience of visiting Yellowstone throughout all seasons of the year and this experience was invaluable in maximising the photographic potential of each day—from assessing the weather conditions in order to decide which area of the park to visit to anticipating the behaviour of any wildlife encountered. Max also has great connections within the Yellowstone wildlife photography community and these connections, along with his own experience, enabled us to make the most of each day's wildlife encounters. I would heartily recommend Max as a guide to anyone considering a photographic tour to Yellowstone." – Phil Y.