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Web SRO Pink Sunrise Mar16

March 2014 Daily Photos and Updates for Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole

A monthly journal for both photographers and Teton visitors!

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Wildlife Banner

Wildlife Reports: Current and Archived

Road Reports and Winter Closures:  Not all areas are open. Check out the link to get a better idea of where you can to go in April.

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March Photos and Reports: Note:

Web The Pink Grand Mar23

Buck Rail Fence – March 23

March Overview:

I think of March as just a warmer version of February!  Wildlife is essentially still settled into their winter habitat. The same roads are either open or closed. March is the month the locals celebrate Winter. We’ve made it through the worst three months. Hints of Spring can give a glimmer of hope. Events like the Town Downhill, Snow King Snowmobile Hill Climb, Snow King Pond Skimming and Pole-Pedal-Paddle allow residents and visitors to gather enjoy the outdoors. A few new birds begin to appear, and some leave the valley in March. Bluebirds are some of the first of the Spring harbingers. Mountain Goats can be seen on many days in the Canyon. Trumpeter Swans are dependable at Boyles Hill and along Flat Creek. With warmer temps, you can’t go wrong taking a sleigh ride onto the National Elk Refuge. In some years, Bohemian Waxwings, Cedar Waxwings, and Pine Grosbeaks can be found in town feeding on the harvest of choke cherries, crab apples, and mountain ash berries.  March is also a good month for landscape photography, even though road access is very limited.

Check out the Wildlife Reports:  for more specifics.

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What’s Hot? — Wildlife Highlights

Web Mtn Goats Mar16Mountain Goats In many of the prior years, Mountain Goats were most reliable in February. In 2014, February was slow. March is much better. It’s about 35 miles from Jackson to the mouth of the Snake River Canyon near Alpine Junction. For more information, check out Mountain Goats of the Snake River Canyon:

Web Swans Mar25Trumpeter Swans are always a good subject during March. Some will be working Flat Creek north of the Visitor’s Center on north Cache. I like to go to the pond at Boyle’s Hill. It’s close to home and usually reliable shooting.

Web Bighorn Ram Watching Mar1Boyle’s Hill is located on the East side of Jackson on the National Elk Refuge. On any particular day in March, you might have a chance to see Bighorn Sheep, Elk, Pronghorns, Eagles, Hawks, Coyotes and even Wolves. Some years, Bison range into the area, too.

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What’s Hot? — Scenic Highlights

Web Snake River Overlook Mar8Winter Access is very limited compared to what people can get to in the summer. The most reliable spot is Snake River Overlook at sunrise. It is open all year. Just a few miles north of SRO, check out the old buck rail fences in front of Triangle X Ranch. Oxbow Bend can be okay, but water levels are low and the still water is frozen solid. If you decide to head towards Kelly, check out opportunities at the Kelly Warm Springs and the Shane Cabin just up the road. You can walk into the Mormon Row area, but Antelope Flats Road is closed in March.

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RegisterBagRegister Now!

Perfect Light Camera Store and CLIK supplied Best of the Tetons with a beautiful camera bag in an effort to entice a few more readers to sign up to follow this blog. We gave it away to Loren Davis of St. George, UT. on April 1st.

I have been hoping to get a few sponsors to help offset the cost of gas and vehicle maintenance to keep adding posts and field reports. Even if you are seeing this after the give away, I still need your support! Please register!

Oh yes, if you are not seeing a right navigation bar (typical of most cell phones or narrow view devices), scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and look for the box to sign up!

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Artists and Sculptors

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Wildlife Photos From March

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March Landscapes

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March Back Yard Birds

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Blue Jay: For much of the last month, this Blue Jay won the battle. It is much too fast for me! Today, I had the branch in just the right place to give it a perch while it examined the peanut feeder. I finally got a few nice shots of it (I don’t know the difference in a male and a female Jay). Blue Jays on All About Birds .

American Goldfinch: “Unlike most songbirds, goldfinches molt twice a year. At winter’s end, they’ll grow in a complete set of new golden yellow feathers. Again each one will have a strange, patchy appearance for a few days, but soon they’ll be vividly beautiful again.”  Source: Q&A: All About Birds

Web Mtn Goat Ledge Mar27

Snow King Hill Climb

Web SK Hill ClimbTents Mar21

Snow King Hill Climb: The event officially started this morning, but trailers and tents have been showing up all week. This event has exploded in size and stature since we moved here in 1986.

Web SK Hill Climb Mar21SK Hill Climb Racer: This was taken near the bottom of the hill. Racers aren’t timed until they hit the half way mark on the mountain where it gets much steeper.

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Web Camera Level Tether

My Tether: A few weeks ago, I created a Feature Post called Get Down—and sometimes dirty! I included the photo above on the page. The tether is made from a heavy duty dog leash I shortened by braiding it to a length of about 20″. Both tripods have one connected to the underside and I added rings on both cameras and all of my longer lenses so I can attach them easily as seen above. The tether was added after my D4 and 200-400mm lens fell to rock hard ground from around 5 feet a year and a half ago. My insurance paid all but the deducible of $100 including shipping, but I was down for an extended period. Yesterday, I was walking out to take photos of birds in the back yard, with my tripod over my shoulder, and I felt the body and lens across my back as it released from the tripod’s head. My $30 investment paid off! If anyone is interested in seeing the full rig, just write me a note and I’ll do a feature post with more photos and more details.

Fishing Dave Brackett 753Fly Fishing Notes: For many years, the Snake River was closed to fishing in March, then opened officially on April 1st. A few years back, the Game and Fish opened much of the Snake River to catch and release during the winter months (not counting the closed river bottom stretches of GTNP). Traditionally, March can be a great time to fly fish here. I always thought of “winter fishing” as “100% of the fish in 10% of the water”.  I see more and more vehicles parked along the river and occasionally see a fisherman along the banks. Besides using streamers, many fishermen watch for hatches of midges and blue-wing olives.  Most of the boat launches are still closed.  Downloadable 2014-2015 Regulations Brochure (Adobe PDF) Photos From Sunday: I shot over 5000 images over the weekend so it is taking some time to look through them. The next few shots were taken yesterday.

Web Bohemian And Berry _Jan16

Bohemian Waxwing with a Choke Cherry:

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Web Pond Skimmer Mar15

Snow King Pond Skimmer: Around lunch time, I headed over to Snow King to photograph a few of the pond skimmers.

Web Pond Skimmer on SnowboardMar15

Snowboarder at the Snow King Pond Skimming Event: This guy sprayed the “rookie” viewers gathered near the water’s edge.

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Web Wrapped Blind Mar6

Wrapped Birding Blind: Yesterday, I spent some time wrapping my Grill Gazebo for the spring birds. We bought the Grill Gazebo at WallMart a few years ago and have been adapting it ever since. The original canvas cover worked fine for one year, but the tie-in straps gave out on the second year. I use C-clamps now. I found the camo tarp material at K-Mart last month. I originally searched online and at Cabella’s for camo tarp materials, but came up empty. It was a pleasant surprise to find it locally.  The screening material above the lens is netting I purchased at the local fabric store. It is doubled to block a little bit more of my movements, but I can still see through it well enough. When actually taking photos, I am always looking through the viewfinder anyway. The front angled piece is hinged and held to the frame with C-Clamps so I can adjust it higher or lower as necessary. The angled part was added last year to let the legs of the tripod reach out in front of the blind and make more room for me inside. Three people can fit inside the blind, but two is much better. Normally, I am the only one out there.

Web Winter Setup Mar5

It started snowing yesterday. Snowfall lasted about two hours. We woke up to a couple of inches of fresh, wet snow today. I took the shot above from within my “blind” showing the branches, trunks and trees I use to photograph the back yard birds. Of course, it also shows what it might look like here after an overnight snow.

Web Winter Setup With Gazebo Mar5

My “Grill Gazebo”: Currently, my modified blind is unwrapped. The hungry winter birds don’t seem to mind me being out with them, so the main purpose is to keep rain and snow off my lens and body. The grill gazebo is frozen to the ground for the winter, so I don’t have to worry about it blowing over. In the summer, I drive stakes at a couple of corners and wire it in place. New birds are showing up now, so I am about to wrap the blind for the Spring.

Web Auto Upright Mar5If you are interested, I recently posted: Attracting and Photographing Wintering Back Yard Birds:  It has more in-depth information about the topic. I’ll probably do a Springtime version of the subject soon, too. Auto Upright in Lightroom: Oh yes, in case you haven’t found it, the newest version of Lightroom 5 has a new feature called “Upright” or “Auto Upright” found in the Lens Corrections tab. These two shots were taken with a Nikon 14-24mm wide angle lens. Both had fairly severe keystone distortions. With a click of the mouse, all of the distortions disappeared! Check it out! Hint: before applying any of the Auto Upright commands, make sure to check “Enable Lens Corrections”. The thumbnail image on the left is the original image before the corrections.

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Comment (1)

  1. Jackie Irleand

    Thanks Mike for keeping this blog, I check daily just to see what is happening in the area. And now I can finally go to Boyles Hill pond!! The map really helped. 🙂
    Todd and Jackie Ireland

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