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Mtn Goat

February 2015 Daily Updates & Photos for Grand Teton National Park & JH:

A monthly journal of wildlife reports, scenic opportunities, and tidbits for both photographers and Teton visitors!

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Where’s the February Overview information?

Starting this month, you can click on this new page: Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP to get a quick overview of each of the 12 months side by side. Check it out!


February 28, 2015:

Up early and in the park this morning.

Mt. Moran at Oxbow Bend

Mt. Moran at Oxbow Bend: Most of “the Bend” is now frozen over again.  Shooting Data: NIKON D800, Nikon 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 105 mm, 1/1000 at f/9, Aperture priority Mode, -1/3 EV,  ISO 200

The Grand and Morning Clouds

The Grand and Morning Clouds: Clouds were thick over the Grand as I was driving North. They eventually pulled back revealing a new layer of high country snow. Shooting Data: NIKON D800, Nikon 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 105 mm, 1/1000 at f/9, Aperture priority Mode, -1/3 EV,  ISO 200


Red Fox: Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/1250 at f/10, Manual Mode, -1 1/3 EV,  ISO 280

Red Fox Prancer

Red Fox Prancer: Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/1250 at f/9, Manual Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 280

Evening Light over the Teton Range

Evening Light over the Teton Range: Taken from Elk Flats. Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 360 mm, 1/1250 at f/11, Manual Mode, -2 EV,  ISO 180

Waxing Moon

Waxing MoonShooting Data: NIKON D800, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/1250 at f/11, Manual Mode, -2 EV,  ISO 400


February 27, 2015:

Morning in JH: I was up at 5:00am to go out for sunrise. I based that on the weather report from last night suggesting mostly clear skies with a few clouds. Wrong! It was cloudy. I stayed home and filled the bird feeders, getting a few images with light snow. These were all shot with a Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm in Auto ISO.

Mtn. Chickadee

Mtn. Chickadee: D4 and Tamron 150-600mm Auto ISO

Mtn. Chickadee

Mtn. Chickadee with light snow: D4 and Tamron 150-600mm Auto ISO

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker: D4 and Tamron 150-600mm Auto ISO

Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed Magpie: D4 and Tamron 150-600mm Auto ISO

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee: Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/1250 at f/6.3, Manual Mode, -1 EV,  (Auto) ISO 3200

D4 Feb 27

Screen Grab of D4/Tamron 150-600mm with AF Fine Tune set to -8 with a LensAlign . If you click on this image, you can view it quite a bit larger. Using Nikon ViewNX 2, I can see all of my settings, including the AF Fine Tune Settings. As far as I know, I never see that important setting in Lightroom. Without the adjustment of the AF Fine Tune, my lens and body combination were focusing sharpest somewhere around the 8 or 10 behind the zero (back focusing). Based on this image, I can probably move the AF Fine Tune to -9 and try a few more shots. -10 might eventually be the better choice. Ideally, I want the zero sharpest.  I’ve been seeing some variances in the optimum AF Fine Tune settings based on whether I am shooting at 150mm or at 600mm. Zoom lenses (in general) seem to share this issue, while a fixed prime lens will not.

Downey Woodpecker

Downey Woodpecker: Both Woodpeckers and Chickadees like peanut butter. You can see remnants of it scraped across this branch from earlier in the day. Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 420 mm, 1/400 at f/6.3, Manual Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 1800

More Birds Showing Up: Throughout most of the lean months of winter, I have had a fairly consistent list of visitors to my back yard. They include two species of Chickadees, Eurasian Collared Doves, two species of Woodpeckers, a pair of Northern Flickers, numerous Magpies, a few Ravens, several Clark’s Nutcrackers, at least one White-breasted Nuthatch, and an occasional house sparrow. With the warmer weather, I been seeing a lot more Dark-eyed Juncos and a few House Finches. Occasionally, I hear and see a few female American Goldfinches, and see several species of Sparrows working in the willows behind the ditch. As March rolls in, I expect to see more numbers and even more species.


February 26, 2015:

Ever Evolving Blog! On most days, I add a photo or a few photos, then throw in a few links to hot topics, and sometimes a little about subjects shaping the valley at the time. A month or two later, much of that information is irrelevant. “Just show me the photos and tell me where you took them!” After looking at this page on my iPhone last night, I decided to strip out much of the dialogue and leave mainly photos and locations. At least for now, I plan on including some of the information daily, then remove it within a few days. Some of the daily topics inspire upcoming Feature Posts. I am always open to input…so drop me a line at

Here are a few collected links and topic you might find of interest.

Shane Cabin January 30

Shane Cabin Jan. 30: At the end of January, I stopped to take this shot to document the snowmobile tracks.

Shane Cabin

Even a month later, the tracks are still scarring the hillside. Off road snowmobile activity inside the Park is illegal. Nikon D800 and 70-200mm lens.

Lucas Barn

Lucas Homestead: Taken along Spring Gulch Road with the Tamron 150-600mm. I added a couple of textures to this one.

Downey Woodpecker

Downey Woodpecker: Taken in the back yard at mid-day. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker Male: Also in the back yard. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm.

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm.

Clark's Nutcracker

Clark’s Nutcracker: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle: Not on my back yard! This one was on a post just north of Kelly. Another one was on the pole just to the south. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm. I shot this one from the window of the vehicle, over a bean bag, and with the image stabilization feature turned on.

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse: This guy was in the mood for love. I found him in the S-turns heading to the Shane Cabin. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm. I shot this one from the window of the vehicle, over a bean bag, and with the image stabilization feature turned on.

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse: Same bird, but now on the prowl for a hot hen. Nikon D800 and 200-400mm lens. I was out of the vehicle and shot this one with a tripod with VR off.

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: I stopped along the highway to take this late evening shot of Sleeping Indian. Nikon D800 and 200-400mm lens on a tripod.


February 25, 2015:

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker: Taken in my back yard

Red Squirrel with Pepper

Red Squirrel with Red Pepper:

Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee taking off:

Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee: Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 500 mm, 1/640 at f/7.1, Manual Mode, -2 EV,  ISO 1800. Today, I included a link to a Depth of Field Calculator. Using the settings above, the depth of field for this image is .36″ if I was 8 feet from the subject. That’s about the minimum focus distance on a Tamron 150-600mm. If I had the focus point set exactly on the bird’s eye, only the area up to 3/16″ in front of the eye and 3/16″ behind it would be in focus. If I had been using my 200-400mm, or was pulled back to 400mm on this lens, the depth of field would have increased slightly to just under 1/2″ or 1/4″ in front and 1/4″ behind that focal plane.

Today’s New Feature Post: Swan Skirmish on Ice:

Chinese Rocket Re-entry: My wife got to see the debris burning up over the Tetons last night. Northern Lights have also been seen here lately.


February 24, 2015:

Ballet on Ice

Ballet on Ice: Boyle’s Hill Pond : Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/1600 at f/8, Manual Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 220 (Auto ISO)

Overhead Swan

Trumpeter Swan in Flight: At Boyle’s Hill.

Choir Practice

Choir Practice: Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/1600 at f/8, Manual Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 220 (Auto ISO)

Auto ISO while in Manual Mode video on YouTube: Click Here to watch a video by Steve Perry. I’ve been talking about Auto ISO some over the past couple of weeks. His video is almost “dead-on” to what I have been doing. Typically, I change back to setting my ISO and Aperture for my landscapes where I prefer to set the ISO to 100 (or the base ISO) and let the shutter speed be the variable. Thanks to Robert Leslie for the video link!


February 23, 2015:

Lens Align

LensAlign : If you are unfamiliar with the device, here’s a shot from today. The zero on the right ruler is in line with the target. The sharpest numbers might be slightly forward of the zero, but it is fairly close. I did the tests on both D4 and D800 and at 150mm and 600mm on each. A tool like this helps in adjusting the Auto Focus Fine Tune settings in most newer DSLR cameras to compensate for “front focusing issues” or “back focusing issues”.

Lightroom 6 Coming? I saw this “rumor” page for Lightroom. I’m definitely interested in the “70% faster” rumor and the one about “content aware” technology.


February 22, 2015:

Snake River Canyon

Snake River Canyon: Taken with a Nikon D4 and a 70-200mm lens from the highway. I went down early, but didn’t find any Mountain Goats I could photograph. The recent snows have melted near the road. It was very cold and windy in the Canyon this morning.

Dusted Grand

Dusted Grand: Much of the valley received snow yesterday and especially the high country. 70-200mm lens.

Coyote with Artistic Touches

Coyote with Artistic Touches: This Coyote was along Elk Flats on my way north. Tamron 150-600mm.

Coyote on the Oxbow

Coyote on the Oxbow: Much of Oxbow Bend is frozen over, allowing this coyote to cross and go from opening to opening. I didn’t see any otters. I used a 70-200mm at the edge of the bank for this one.

Red Fox and Distant Mountains

Red Fox and Distant Mountains: 70-200 with a Nikon D4 handheld.

Red Fox Portrait

Red Fox Portrait: Taken with a Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm in saturated late evening light.

Snow Fields

Snow Fields: This was taken from the bridge at The Lodge at Jackson Hole. Tamron 150-600 and Nikon D800.

Teton Glow

Teton Glow: Wind was apparently blowing hard and pushing clouds of snow off the back of the range. I stopped to take this shot over Spread Creek near Moosehead Ranch. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm at 150mm


February 21, 2015:

Shots from “Up North” in GTNP

Red Fox with Snow On Her Nose

Red Fox with Snow On Her Nose: D4 with Tamron 150-600mm

On the Run

On the Run: D800 with Tamron 150-600mm

Alert Red Fox

Alert Red Fox: D800 with Tamron 150-600mm

Grand's Evening Light

Grand’s Evening Light: D800 with Tamron 150-600mm

Evening Teton Pano

Evening Teton Pano: Three shot stitched image at 150mm using the Tamron 150-600mm and D800.  Click on this image (it’s a thumbnail) to see a 1400 pixel image.


February 20, 2015:

Shots from “Around Kelly”

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: Taken at the edge of Kelly.


Poser: One of the bucks posed for me for quite a few shots. Shooting Data for these shots: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/1250 at f/7.1, Manual Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 900,

Mule Deer in Evening Light

Mule Deer in Evening Light: On the way home, I drove down Spring Gulch Road, but never pulled out the camera. I keep hoping to find a “mousing” coyote or fox close to the road.

Daytime Hours: Tomorrow, sunset is at 6:00 pm! Finally! Sunrise will be 7:15 am. Yesterday, I set the alarm for 4:45 am to be at Snake River Overlook at the end of the blue light period. Unfortunately, I didn’t get clouds to make everything pop, but at least I tried! A few snow flurries area also in the forecast for tomorrow.


February 19, 2015:

Shots from “Up North” in GTNP

Walking Fox

Walking Fox: After a relatively plain sunrise at Snake River Overlook, I headed on north and found a Red Fox moving from spot to spot. In bright sunlight, the challenge is to capture them with their eyes wide open. This one has natural catch light.

Artistic Fox

Artistic Red Fox: This images has two textures melded into the background.

Spooked Bighorns

Spooked Bighorns: I received several reports of wolves along the highway this morning on the National Elk Refuge. I drove over to the refuge and found a herd of spooky rams.

Canyon Mtn. Goat

Canyon Mtn. Goat: Later in the day, I went with some friends down the Snake River Canyon. We only found this one goat near the mouth of the canyon. She’s #8.

Watching Goat

Watching Goat: I had to remove #8’s ear tags and collar in Photoshop. That operation is difficult to do in just Lightroom.  It appears the goats are finding plenty to eat in the higher parts of the mountains after all the recent melting. Tamron 150-600mm except the running rams. I used the 200-400mm for that one.


February 18, 2015:

Back Yard Birdies

Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee: Taken in my back yard late this afternoon with a Nikon D4 and the Tamron 150-600mm with low light conditions. Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 550 mm, 1/320 at f/6.3, Manual Mode, -1 1/3 EV,  Auto-ISO 2000.

House Finch

House Finch: Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/160 at f/8, Manual Mode, -1/3 EV,  ISO 2800.


February 17, 2015:

Shots from “Around the Valley”


Cygnets: I modified this image with a couple of texture overlays and adjusted the layer modes. I think this one has an Andrew Wyeth look.

Young Moose and Mount Jackson

Young Moose and Mount Jackson: I found half a dozen moose today, mostly along the Gros Ventre River. One was above the restroom at the Kelly Warm Springs.

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse: Just outside Kelly. I see them regularly along the GV Road this time of the year and sometimes on the hillside above the Kelly Warm Springs.


Porcupine: Near the Shane Cabins. They are difficult to photograph, typically found in thick brush like this one.


February 16, 2015:

Morning in Uintas

Morning  in Uintas: Near Kamas, UT

Wanship Weather Vane

Wanship Weather Vane: Wanship, UT

Wanship Lock

Wells Fargo Lock: Wanship, UT

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat: We drove through the Snake River Canyon in the latter part of the evening. Most of the Goats I saw were fairly high on the mountain peaks. This one was lower and posed for a few shots on the ledge.


February 15, 2015:

Morning at Farmington Bay

Morning at Farmington Bay: I made it to Farmington Bay at 7:00 am and caught this sunrise. I also shot it as a pano.

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes: These were very far off. I include them here to show other possibilities at Farmington Bay.

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier: Also very far off. These raptors are fairly common in the Tetons in the Summer. I didn’t see Barn Owls or American Kestrels at Farmington Bay this time.

Flock of Gulls

Flock of Gulls: Unfortunately, the Eagles didn’t show up in numbers this year at Farmington Bay. The entire valley floor is free of snow and ice, allowing eagles to spread out. I didn’t see a single eagle all morning.

Gull in Flight

California Gull: I was told this is a California Gull.  I’ll take their word for it, but it looked like there were at least two species there. I sat in my vehicle and shot out the window with a Nikon D4 and the Tamron 150-600mm lens. The distant snow-capped Wasatch Mountains were captured in quite a few of the images.

Flock of Gulls

Flock of Gulls Taking Off: Lacking any eagles, I spent part of the morning practicing with the new lens with birds in flight.

Gull Against Gold

Gull Against Gold:

One Sharp Gull

One Sharp Gull: After reviewing the gull images, I seem to see a bit of back focusing on the D4 and Tamron 150-600mm . I’ll adjust it for my next outing.

Heron Rookery

Heron Rookery: Also at Farmington Bay.

Wood Duck

Wood Duck: I went to Farmington Bay hoping for eagles, but Wood Ducks were also on my wish list. I did much better with them. These were taken at a small pond near Ogden, UT.

Wood Duck Drakes

Wood Duck Drakes: The males are especially beautiful.


February 14, 2015: Valentines Day

Headed to Utah: No goats in the canyon as we passed through.

Evanston Roundhouse Roof Line

In Evanston, I shot a lot of grunge textures and subjects. This was taken at the historic old roundhouse along the railroad tracks in Evanston. Tamron 150-600mm and D800.

Roundhouse Door Ring

Roundhouse Door Ring and Chipped Paint: From one of the doors on the Roundhouse.

Dining Car Rear Door

Dining Car Rear Door: I took a lot of images at Evanston. Many were close-ups at about 8 feet using the Tamron 150-600mm.


February 13, 2015

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel: Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 280 mm, 1/1250 at f/8, Manual Mode, -1 2/3 EV,  ISO 1000

Passing Swan

Passing Trumpeter Swan: Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 300 mm, 1/1250 at f/8, Manual Mode, -1 1/3 EV,  ISO 160. Taken at Boyle’s Hill this afternoon.

Swan Quartet

Swan Quartet: 280mm. Same shooting data and also at Boyle’s Hill. I was able to pull back on the zoom to get all four in one shot.

Swan against Cottonwoods

Swan against Cottonwoods:

A couple of weeks ago, I made this post about Focus Stacking: Increased Depth of Field by Combining Multiple Images.  A reader followed the instructions and ended up with a single image with nothing assigned in the layer masks on the other layers. Apparently, there is a known glitch in the Auto-Blend feature on some systems when using Photoshop CC-2014. Mine works fine on a Windows 7 machine. The photographer switched back to Photoshop CC and it worked fine. Worth noting if you are having any issues!

Most Recent Feature Post: Tamron 150-600mm F/5.6-F6/3 Lens:

Phone Box crop detail at 100% 100% Cropped
Click either of these two little thumbnails to see 100% zoom images from shots taken at 600mm. The Caution labels were on a box 55 yards away and the license tag sticker was 25 yards from the camera. 


February 12, 2015

Teton Sunrise

Teton Sunrise: (Click this image to see it larger) Taken along Spring Gulch Road early this morning. This is a two shot, stitched pano.


Morning Fences: Taken along the JH Golf and Tennis road.

Morning Mailboxes

Morning Mailboxes: Taken along Spring Gulch Road.

Boyle's Hill Barn

Boyle’s Hill Barn: Taken on Boyle’s Hill Road.

Landing Swan

Landing Swan: Evening shot at Boyle’s Hill.


February 11, 2015

Sports Illustrated

Area in the News:

Schwabacher Landing:
Photo credit: James Macari/Sports Illustrated.

This image is linked from The Cut‘s web site. The article is calling Robyn Lawley a “plus-size” model.

“First Grizzlies in Yellowstone”
via Billings Gazette
The article shows a Grizzly walking across a bone dry road with now snow visible. I haven’t heard of any sightings so far in the Tetons, but then we have lots of snow north of the JH Airport.

Cygnet Stretching

Trumpeter Swan Cygnet Stretching: Taken at the pond north of the Visitor’s Center.

Swan Pair

Late Evening Swans: At the Visitor’s Center

Winter Cattails

Winter Cattails: North of the Visitor’s Center

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: Taken from the observation platform along Flat Creek.

Snow King Resort

Snow King Resort: Also taken from the viewing platform along Flat Creek.

Valentines Arch

Valentines Arch: The town recently wrapped one of the antler arches with additional red lights. I assume this was for Valentines.


February 10, 2015

Feb 10 Weather

The Big Story: Warm Weather! The annual Jackson Hole Shrine Club: Cutter Races have been cancelled for this weekend, along with the Ski Joring races the next weekend. On the 13th, we start the JH WinterFest  events. I am sure the warm weather will affect some of them.

Refuge and SK

The sleigh rides on the National Elk Refuge are surely wagon rides now. Elk are scattered all over the refuge. This shot was taken on February 7th on the Refuge Road looking back towards Snow King. The Miller House is on the bottom left and the hospital complex is on the far right.

Afternoon Images taken with a Tamron 150-600mm lens:

Miller House

Shaft of Light Hitting the Miller House: Handheld 170mm

Bighorn Jumper

Bighorn Jumper: 450mm

Bighorns on Rocky Ledge

Bighorns on Rocky Ledge: 420mm. The lamb above is the smallest one on the refuge. It must have been born later in the season. Many of the Bighorns are bleaching out which can make them show up better if they get on the rock faces.


February 9, 2015

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch: 600mm

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel: 600mm

Shots from this morning with an off camera strobe and using the Tamron 150-600mm lens. It is overcast again today, with light drizzle coming down at times.


February 8, 2015

Sunday in the Park: I was up and out early. With thick clouds over the Tetons, I switched from thinking about landscapes to looking for wildlife. I spent the first part of the early morning in Kelly looking for wolves. I hear they have been spotted there lately, but I didn’t see them. I headed on north after seeing some of the clouds lifting.

Red Fox Male: 250 mm

Red Fox Male: 250 mm. Except for the sunset shot at Snake River Overlook (last image), I shot today with a Nikon D800 and the new Tamron 150-600mm lens. It performed well! I spent part of the day working with “back button focus” along with some Manual shots with Auto-ISO.

Red Fox Approaching: 220mm

Red Fox Approaching: 220mm

Red Fox On the Move: 600mm

Red Fox On the Move: 600mm

Sleeping Red Fox: 600mm

Sleeping Red Fox: 600mm

Gray Jay: 500mm

Gray Jay: 500mm

Red Fox: 500mm

Red Fox: 500mm

Red Squirrel: 600mm

Red Squirrel: 600mm. On this shady shot, I had Auto ISO turned on with Manual settings of 1/800th second and F/6.3. The result was ISO 2800.

SRO Sunset

Sunset at Snake River Overlook: Shot with a D800 and 24-70mm lens.

Loose Ends and Wildlife: I saw three moose east of the highway between Triangle X and Moosehead Ranch. I heard of one bull in that area still with antlers. I also heard a report of Grizzly Bears out and about in Yellowstone right now. They have very little snow in many areas this year. I got a report of Mountain Goats on “Goat Rock” in the Snake River Canyon. With warm weather over the past few days, there are some openings in the ice at Oxbow Bend. I didn’t see them today, but I heard a couple of people saying they saw River Otters there a couple of days ago. No one can go down there now, but there were openings in the ice at Schwabacher Landing.  While the snow pack in the south end of the valley is very low, it is much heavier north of the JH Airport and on northward.


February 7, 2015

Below are shots with the new Tamron 150-600mm lens.380mm Clarks Nutcracker

Clark’s Nutcracker: 380mm. Taken in my back yard.

Mountanin Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee: 600mm. Taken in my back yard.

Slepping Indian 150mm

Sleeping Indian: 150 mm. Taken from the Elk Refuge Road

Sleeping Indian 600mm

Sleeping Indian: 600mm. Taken from the Elk Refuge Road

Bald Eagle: 600mm

Bald Eagle: 600mm. Taken from the Elk Refuge Road

Evening Ridge Line: 160mm

Evening Ridge Line: 160mm. Taken from the Elk Refuge Road

Sunset over Jackson: 150mm

Sunset over Jackson: 150mm. Taken from the Elk Refuge Road


February 6, 2015


Early Clouds: I made it to Snake River Overlook at 6:30 am this morning. That meant getting up at 5:15 am. I checked the weather reports and checked the Photographer’s Ephemeris to confirm the moon would be setting over the Grand today—if I could see it.

Sunrise at Snake River Overlook

Sunrise at Snake River Overlook: The moon went behind the clouds as the clouds exploded in color.

Moon over the Grand

Moon over the Grand: The moon eventually became exposed between the layers of clouds. I switched from my 24-70mm lens to the 70-200mm lens for a few shots.

Grand Peaks

Grand Peaks: Once the moon dropped behind the peaks at SRO, I jumped in the van and drove north. The moon was visible again from the bottom of the hill.

Buck Rail Fences

Buck Rail Fences: There are still some old buck rail fences along the highway.

Most Recent Feature Post: Snake River Overlook

Blacktail Butte

Blacktail Butte: I pull over and take a shot from the Gros Ventre Road if the light and clouds are appealing. You can see a similar image from late in the day yesterday (below).

Tamron 150-600mm

Swans, Ducks & Goose

Swans, Ducks & Goose: Taken with a Tamron 150-600mm at 600mm with a Nikon D4

Swans in Flight

Swans in Flight: Taken with a Tamron 150-600mm at 600mm with a Nikon D4

Evening Light

Evening Light: Taken with a Tamron 150-600mm at 350mm with a Nikon D800.

Evening Light: Taken with a Tamron 150-600mm at 350mm with a Nikon D800.

Spring Gulch: Taken with a Tamron 150-600mm at 150mm with a Nikon D800.

The new lens came in this afternoon. I opened the box, added an Arca-Swiss plate and headed out to Boyle’s Hill and then Spring Gulch Road. I tried it on both bodies and in a couple of different situations. The images above were processed the same as I would normally process any other image. On it’s maiden voyage, the lens appears to have done a very good job right out of the box. I purchased mine from Perfect Light Camera and Supply in Idaho Falls.


February 5, 2015

Afternoon Shots taken around Kelly

The Grand and Blacktail Butte

The Grand and Blacktail Butte:

Buck Mule Deer

Buck Mule Deer: At the edge of Kelly.

The Collection

The Collection: On the end of a barn in Kelly. I took this with my 200-400mm lens at a respectful distance.

Snow Covered Wagon

Snow Covered Wagon: Evening light on the wagon at the intersection in Kelly.

Buck and Yearling

Buck and Yearling: At the edge of Kelly.

Buck and Yearling

Evening Barn: Also taken with a 200-400mm zoom.


February 4, 2015

Mountain Goats taken in the Snake River Canyon

Resting Mountain Goat

Resting Mountain Goat: I found just this one Mountain Goat today. He was resting on a ledge as seen here. I had to wait over two hours before he finally stood up.

On the Ledge

On the Ledge:

Cropped Detail

Cropped Detail of the Image Above: This one was captured at 1/40th of a second, which let the snowflakes streak. Unlike some of the birds in my back yard, Mountain Goats will often strike a pose and hold it.

Mountain Goats of the Snake River Canyon: Just in case you missed the links, here’s a page full in information about getting shots of the Mountain Goats.


February 3, 2015

Back Yard Birds:

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker: We had drizzle, wet snow, then heavy snow at different times today. I spent most of my free time in the back yard photographing birds and experimenting with my strobes.

Downey Woodpecker

Downey Woodpecker: I used an off camera SB910 strobe on this shot today. This male was still wet at the time.

Downey Female

Downey Female: This image shows rear curtain sync in action. The exposure was set to 1/50th second to get streaks, but doing so allows the birds plenty of time to move during the exposure. The success ratio was very low on that group—but I had plenty of changes to get a good one.

Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed Magpie: No strobe. 1/5oth second at F/7.1 and ISO 100.


February 2, 2015

Mountain Goats in the Snake River Canyon near Alpine Junction.

Mountain Goat Amongst Trees

Mountain Goat Amongst Trees:

Mtn. Goat in Rocks

Mtn. Goat in Rocks:

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle atop Spruce Tree:


Traversing Snow Fields:

Mountain Goat on Rocky Ledge

Mountain Goat on Rocky Ledge:


February 1st, 2015 (Superbowl Sunday)


Downey Woodpecker: The shot on the left was captured with an orange gel over the SB-910 strobe. The White Balance was set to a Custom setting of roughly 4750K and the scene was slightly underexposed. The settings gave me a cool background with a warm subject. The image on the right was captured a split second later, but the strobe had not had time to recharge, so it didn’t flash. The actual image was equally blue in Lightroom to the one on the left, but I used the Temperature slider to warm it back up.

Clark's Nutcracker

Clark’s Nutcracker: Shot with a bit of fill flash.

Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee:

Downey Woodpecker

Downey Woodpecker: I photographed the male Downey earlier in the day. This one is a female with natural light.

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch: I can usually hear this bird coming in. It sounds somewhat like a cheap “squeak toy”. Like the Chickadees, they don’t stay still long.

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker: Also a female. They are considerably larger than the Downey Woodpeckers. Taken in my back yard.


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Comments (8)

  1. Jackie Ireland

    Mike, Thanks for sharing your pictures. The Canyon Highway is a tough one for stopping to take a picture, (but a driver doesn’t have to go out of their way to be a jerk). It looks like you guys are getting more spring weather than winter.

  2. Ron Case

    I went to Farmington Bay today. Not a single eagle to be seen. The temperature has been in the 50’s and 60’s and this may have caused the eagles to not migrate this far this year. I would do some checking before I came down specifically to see eagles. There were lots of dead carp (poisoned) around but they don’t appear to be attracting anything. You may want to check with the Utah Division of Wildlife Services (Phone: 801-538-4700) and see if things pick up this week. I was there with my grandson around 8:45 am. There were a few photographers with long lenses but they were mostly just standing around talking to each other. None were taking any pictures. Good luck.

  3. Hi Ron, Thanks for the helpful note. With the warm weather, this year will be different for just about everything associated with wildlife. I hear there are Grizzlies roaming around in YS right now. I hear it takes the eagles a few days to find the carp, so my timing might be good. We are going down to see our kid in Park City and we timed the visit to give me a “chance” to go to the eagles. Either way, I will find something to photograph. If you hear anything about masses of eagles actually showing up, please let us know. Thanks again, MJ

  4. Bill

    One of the comments under a photo mentioned “back focusing” with the D4 and the Tamron lens. What is “back focusing”.

  5. Hi Bill,
    Ideally, you focus on a subject and that subject is in sharp focus. Some cameras and lenses are not tuned perfectly. Back Focusing refers to times when parts of a scene are sharper just behind the subject, and conversely, Front Focusing means the lens is focusing slightly in front of the desired focal plane. Both Nikon and Canon have a utility built into the modern cameras that lets you Fine Tune the focusing. Check out for more information and a relatively inexpensive tool to help correct it.

  6. Bill

    Thanks….I’ll check out the subject on that website.


  7. Steve Nickerson

    Hi Mike,
    I enjoy your blog very much and check in regularly. I, for one, enjoy your text describing the day, weather conditions, etc., especially as I am an east-coaster visiting Jackson Hole vicariously via your blog. I loved the shot of the squirrel with the red pepper, but I just have to know what were the circumstances surrounding the picture? Did the squirrel actually try to eat the pepper? If so, what was its reaction?

  8. Hi Steve…you are now approved, so please post as often as you can! I have a Green-cheeked Amazon parrot here in my office. He’s around 34 years old and going strong. I was at Albertson’s one day and saw a basket full of parrot food on sale. They were changing brands. I bought all I could afford at the time. I wish I had bought all of them now. The price was lower than I usually pay for just sunflower seeds, so I occasionally feed some of it to the back yard birds. It has all kinds of seeds including pumpkin seeds, safflower seeds, peanuts, and these red peppers. The other birds don’t eat them, but the red squirrel seemed to show interest. Yes, she eats about half, then throws it to the ground and gets something else. I have been extensively testing my AF Fine Tuning focus settings all week and was shooting tight at the time. It’s not something people see often. Cheers, MJ

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