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May 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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Check out the May Overview!

Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP . Get a quick look at 12 months side by side.

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May 31, 2015

End of the Month! Watch for a new June Daily Updates page tomorrow!

Low Clouds and Mormon Row

 Low Clouds and Mormon Row: I hadn’t planned on going to Mormon Row today, but the impressive low clouds pulled me there.

Bull Bison

Bull Bison: There have been three bulls hanging around Mormon Row lately. I hope to capture them standing in fields of wildflowers. Maybe soon!

Arrowleaf Balsomroot

Arrowleaf Balsom Root Wildflowers: Balsom Root has kicked in lately. Purple Lupines are now common and others are appearing on a daily basis.

Osprey

Osprey: A female returning to the nest.

Hummingbird Taking Off

Hummingbird Taking Off: I took lots of images of this little Broad-tailed Hummingbird perched on various stems. This one was just beginning to take off. Hummingbirds are now common in the sagebrush zones near the Snake River. I took this one near Dornan’s at Moose.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: This bull moose was on the north side of the Snake River Bridge at Moose.

Bull Moose Entering the Water

Bull Moose Entering the Water: Some moose still have shaggy winter fur above patches of new, sleek summer fur as seen on this bull.

Stagecoach

Stagecoach: Town is busy already, including the return of the Stagecoach rides and Shootouts on town Square.

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May 30, 2015

Sunrise over Flat Creek

Sunrise over Flat Creek: It felt like a landscape kind of day today. I shot this from the observation platform. Nikon D800 & Nikon 24-70mm lens

Morning Duck

Morning Duck: Nikon D800 & Nikon 70-200mm lens

Spring Aspens

Spring Aspens: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D800 & Nikon 70-200mm lens

Moose Wilson Road

Moose-Wilson Road: Nikon D800 & Nikon 70-200mm lens

JH News & Guide: “Critter Closures Scattered Around Park” – This article lists some of the current dens in GTNP.

Foxes

Foxes: Following the story in the JH News & Guide, I found one of the fox dens this afternoon. Nikon D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Kit Foxes

Kit Foxes: Nikon D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Fox Greetings

Fox Greetings: Nikon D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Fox Watchers

Fox Watchers: Nikon D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Adult Fox

Adult Fox: Nikon D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Curious Kit

Kit Fox: Nikon D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Sightings: I saw a couple of moose along the Snake River just south of the bridge at Moose. There were a couple of Sandhill Cranes along the Moose-Wilson Road and on the National Elk Refuge. Elk were crossing the Moose-Wilson Road early. There are lots of Yellow Warblers on the Moose-Wilson Road along with hearing the thumping sound of a Ruff-legged Grouse. I’ve heard of a few reports of moose cows with calves, but I haven’t seen them. I didn’t see the Great Gray Owl today

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May 29, 2015

Great Gray Owl On Perch

Great Gray Owl On Perch: One of the owls was back out along the Moose-Wilson Road this morning. Nikon D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Great Gray Over Prey

Great Gray Owl Over Prey: I’d have preferred no grass across the face, but that’s exactly the terrain he landed in to take the vole. Nikon D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Great Gray Owl with Vole

Great Gray Owl with Vole: This owl has a C3 tag on his leg and a radio transmitter wire protruding from it’s back. There was an distracting piece of grass in the beak. I removed all of them in Photoshop. Some people frown on removing distractions, while others feel removing man made distractions is no problem at all. Everyone eventually has to draw their own “lines in the sand” on what they think is correct. I tend to remove distractions to make a photo better for a blog image or for my wall, but if submitting to an environmental publication, I’d follow their guidelines. Nikon D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Chimping is a term for the times people are reviewing their images on the back of their cameras in the field and effectively going “Oooh, Oooh, Oooh”—similar to a chimpanzee. Today, I made a classic mistake. I drove up and saw photographers lined up near an owl. I found a parking space, jumped out and set up my tripod. I had an empty 64 gig card in the camera and another couple in my pocket, but I didn’t think to take an extra D4 battery. Who knew I’d end up half a mile away for the end of the shooting? After taking quite a few photos I noticed my battery getting low. I resisted the urge to review/chimp my images.  When I made it to my vehicle, I started reviewing a few of the images when the screen went black from the low battery. I got lucky today!

Changing Weather Patterns: After a week or so of clouds, rain, drizzle, and fog, skies are blue again as of lunch time. Time for the wildflowers to kick in now!

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May 28, 2015

Afternoon in the Park: I did a trip “north”, then turned towards Kelly when I saw the stormy clouds in the East. I ended up driving “up the Gros Ventre” to Slide Lake.

Gros Ventre Hills

Gros Ventre Hills: Taken on the Gros Ventre Road near the campground chasing a distant summer storm. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Crabapple Bloom

Crabapple Bloom: The Park Service missed one Crabapple tree when they cut them down around the Shane Cabin. It was in full bloom today. D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Gros Ventre River Ranch Barn

Gros Ventre River Ranch Barn: D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Shane Cabin

Shane Cabin: Check out this earlier Feature Post for more info and a map. The Shane Cabins: Authentic Homestead in Grand Teton National Park. Currently, they grass is vivid green around the cabin. D800 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Osprey Landing

Osprey Landing: Taken “Up the Gros Ventre” near Slide Lake. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

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May 27, 2015

Light on the Moulton Barn

Golden Glow on the Moulton Barn: Sometimes, I get up early, see thick clouds and go back to bed. Occasionally, I take a chance and go out anyway. Once in a while it pays off! I liked the way this barn began to glow when a small shaft of light broke through the morning clouds. D4 and Nikon 200-400mm lens.

Sunrise at Mormon Row

Sunrise at Mormon Row: The Coyote mother is back at the corner house on Mormon Row. The Park Service now has that area marked with closed signs. D800 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Lake Creek

Lake Creek: On the Moose-Wilson Road. This stream flows from Phelps Lake and feeds into the Snake River. I paused on the bridge long enough to get the shot, but you are not supposed to park and get out within roughly a mile either direction. The Park Service prefers people to park at the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve and hike to the creek. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: Also on the Moose-Wilson Road. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Black Bear

Black Bear: I found this bear grazing between Mt. Moran Pullout and Spaulding Bay road. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Dusky Grouse

Dusky Grouse: This one was milling around near the road up to the top of Signal Mountain. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird: Back at home, it set up two cameras and two tripods. One was set up with a D4 and 200-400 and aimed at one of the Hummingbird feeders. This little male pulled back from the feeder, the stayed stationary long enough for me to get a dozen or so shots. This is a natural light capture.  I am almost certain I saw a Black-chinned Hummingbird today, but I didn’t get a shot. I haven’t seen a Rufous Hummingbird yet this year. I’ve been seeing more Western Tanagers, including a few females.

Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed Magpie: D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

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May 26, 2015

An Eclectic Day in the Park: I went out today with my visiting sister and her friend. We hit all the hot spots and had a great day.

T.A. Moulton Barn

T.A. Moulton Barn: Clouds were nice early this morning. D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Foot Bridge

Foot Bridge: Also at the T.A. Moulton Barn. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Chapel Cross

Chapel Cross: I shot this from outside the door with the D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: This bull was not far from the Chapel of the Transfiguration. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Geese and Goslings

Geese and Goslings: Taken at String Lake

Reflections

Reflections at String Lake:

Passing Geese

Passing Geese: Clouds hung over the Teton Range today, but they also made a good backdrop for this pair of Canada Geese.

George, the Begging Raven

George, the Begging Raven: This venerable old Raven hangs around the Colter Bay Convenience Store. He is prone to going inside people’s vehicles to steal a treat.

Canoes

Canoes: Taken at the Colter Bay Marina.

Balsom Root

Arrow Leaf Balsom Root:

Resting Bison

Resting Bison: Taken at the North end of Elk Flats.

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May 25, 2015

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird: Yesterday, I used a few strobes to stop the wings on a Broad-tailed Hummingbird. I took this one today at 1/125th second with natural light, allowing the wings to blur considerably. A Calliope’s wings beat at roughly 70 times per second as stated on this page: Hummingbirds – Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

This Morning in JH: I did a reconnaissance run this morning and never took a photo. The Grand had a cloud covering the top of the peak, and since I get the luxury of being picky, I’ll wait to see the peak before photographing it again. This morning, I parked my vehicle and hiked a mile or so of the Gros Ventre looking for a mother Moose and calf or calves. I didn’t see any, nor many tracks or scat. I’ve heard several reports of babies being born already in the valley. I saw several groups of Pronghorns, but I believe it is still early to expect to see their babies. There are still several groups of very small baby Geese at the Visitor’s Center. Purple Lupine are starting to show up in many areas. Arrowleaf Balsom Root are becoming more dominant across the valley, but they are still in the early stages. Low Larkspur are starting to accompany some of the Balsom Root plants. There are definitely more tourists in the valley now. Unleaded gasoline is holding steady at $2.79 per gallon in town.

Grosbeaks

Grosbeaks: The bird on the left is a female Evening Grosbeak and the one on the right is a male Black-headed Grosbeak. They both like black oil sunflower seeds and tolerated each other for a few minutes on a feeder filled with them. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Western Tanager

Western Tanager: This is one of my favorite shots of the day. It seems strange to me, but I have yet to see a female Western Tanager this year. There have been half a dozen different males around today. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

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May 24, 2015

LightOnTheGrand

Light On The Grand: On the way to this spot, I ran into three Bull Elk this morning.

Three Bull Elk

Elk Trio in Fog: D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Single Bull Elk

Single Bull Elk: D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Sunrise Clouds

Sunrise Clouds

Elk on the Run

Elk on the Run: The three elk I saw earlier had moved to the sagebrush while I was taking the landscape shots above. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Elk Cows

Elk Cows: Taken at the north end of Elk Flats. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Morning Fog

Morning Fog: Also taken at Elk Flats. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Power Lines

Power Lines: Taken near Lost Creek Ranch.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird: I set up a few strobes and captured a couple of hummingbirds today. Shooting Data: NIKON D800, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/1600 at f/14, Manual Mode, 1 2/3 EV,  ISO 500, Strobes Set to Manual 1/2, 1/1, 1/4.
JHNew & Guide: Popular parks trails closed down  Two of the most heavily traveled day-hiking routes in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks are closed for the time being. Looks like you can get to Hidden Falls from the boat dock, but will have to take an alternate trail to Inspiration Point.

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May 23, 2015

Making the Best of a Rainy Day: If you believe the rainy days are interrupting your JH experience, check out this page. All of the images were taken last fall on an extended rainy day. Maybe a few of the image will give you some ideas!

Ready for Rain

Kids and Parades: Nothing Like a Parade, Fair, or Circus to Bring Out the Kid in All of Us! It was a little soggy today, but the parade went on without a hitch! D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Western Tanager

Western Tanager: This nice looking male Tanager hung around much of the day. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Feeding Clark's Nutcracker

Feeding Clark’s Nutcracker: Even after the babies have fledged from the nests, the Nutcracker parents continue to feed them. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

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May 22, 2015

Still wet and cloudy! It started out that way. Just before lunch, it is actually nice out!

Black-headed Grosbeak

Black-headed Grosbeak: A pair of Grosbeaks announced their presence with their distinctive chirps, then showed up for a few shots. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel: The mother squirrel is now letting her babies roam the area freely. A couple are still near or in the hole in the tree, but I see a couple of the others completely on their own now. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Western Tanager

Western Tanager: I have a feeling the big wave of Tanagers is yet to arrive in the valley. So far, I’ve only seen a few random males and no females. This one has a hint of orange on its head, while some of the more mature males have much more, and deeper red heads. I’ve seen one, but it didn’t get close enough for a good shot. After six months of gray and brown backgrounds, its great to see the greens again. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

For People in the Park: I heard a report of Grizzly sows 610 and Blondie being out today. 601 has two cubs of the year and Blondie has three year old cubs. Remember the Old West Days Parade in town tomorrow at 10:00am. Check out the Mountain Man Rendezvous at the Fairgrounds.

White Balance and Kelvin Equivalents: Over the past few years, I have been setting my White Balance manually using the Kelvin scale.  I stay in the 5500k or 5260k most of the time, then adjust up or down a little based on the scene or mood. Auto White Balance can be good, but it can change some from shot to shot in a series—similar to Auto Exposure, Auto Focus, and Auto ISO. Now for the knuckle ball: The CamRanger lets me change White Balance from my iPad or iPhone, toggling through the various settings like Tungsten, Fluorescent, Daylight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, and Kelvin (Custom). Unless I am missing a setting, when I go into the Kelvin settings, I don’t see an option to change the actual Kelvin values. I can use Cloudy or Shade to offset a blue cast, or use Tungsten or Fluorescent to offset a warm cast if the Daylight setting needs adjusting.  If you are interested, check out Cambridge of Color — Tutorials: White Balance. Of course, all of this is a moot point if I am shooting in the RAW format. I like to see it as close to the scene as I can in the back of my camera.

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May 21, 2015

Yet another overcast morning in JH: Sounds like a broken record? Feels that way, too! The Tetons are socked in early today.

Lunch Time in JH: Clouds broke for a while. I grabbed a D800, a 24-70mm lens, and a strobe and headed to the Fairgrounds.

JH Rendezvous

JH Rendezvous: Traders are set up at the Fairgrounds this Memorial Day weeked as part of Old West Days.

Concho

Concho:

Don

Don:

Hombre

Hombre: Lee is a leather worker from Red Lodge, MT. Here’s an earlier Feature Post with more photos and Rendezvous Dates for regional rendezvous: Mountain Man Rendezvous:

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May 20, 2015

Another overcast morning in JH: With dark skies, I stayed home this morning. After lunch, some sun broke through and I started taking photos of the various subjects I have in my back yard. I spent some time rearranging trees, branches, feeders, and so froth to help me get unique photos.

Basic Hummingbird Setup

Basic Hummingbird Setup: Hummingbirds have been coming to the yard with more frequency this year. That’s great because I want to spend some extra time photographing them. Over the years, I’ve spent a fortune on all kinds of Hummingbird feeders. The large feeder they prefer in this area is a Perky Pet Grand Master 48 oz Feeder. Several years ago, I picked up four or five little feeders like the one in the right image at WalMart…$1 each! I cleaned out and filled a couple of the dollar feeders and birds immediately started going there. After seeing this, I moved one to the side, then added a Columbine plant just below the feeder as seen in the photo above. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird: Within a fairly short period of time, a Calliope visited the feeder.  D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird: I took hundreds of similar shots today at roughly 8′ using the Tamron 150-600mm lens on a Nikon D4. These are all natural light captures. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird and Columbine: Several of the hummers also fed on the flowers—which happens to be my goal. The feeder shots are easy! D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Hummer and Flower

Hummer and Flower: D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

A Couple of Hummingbird notes: All of the little hummingbirds I have been seeing are males. I have to assume the females are on nests. I’d love to find one! In the past couple of years, I set up feeders but didn’t spend much time with trying to photograph them. There were other priorities, I guess, but if they continue to visit my yard, I will try to get shots. I am feeding them sugar water at roughly a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of water to sugar. I don’t get too worried about the exact ratio. Some people boil their sugar water. I’ve read quite a few sites that say it isn’t necessary. All say not to add food coloring. They don’t like having their feeders moved once they find it. Some are quite territorial, while I’ve seen some places around the valley with six on the feeder and a dozen waiting to feed. I’d love to have that here! Soon, I will set up some strobes and get more serious about the little Hummers, but felt okay about the initial shots today. Here’s an earlier post: Hummingbirds: The Teton’s Tiny Winged Visitors

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole: Owls occasionally drop one wing like this. I like this kind of shot with the added blooming Crabapple flower. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Red Squirrel Family

Red Squirrel Family: A few days ago, my resident mother Red Squirrel moved her babies to a new den on the other side of the creek. She rolled each one up into a ball and carried them over. Today, she paraded the group of four back across the creek via this Golden Willow tree branch. I am sure this kind of event happens all over the Tetons, but not many of us get to witness it. The four babies are now back in the tree trunk she raised them in originally. The saga continues! D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: Short lived breaks in the clouds can yield some very nice subjects. I was heading north when I saw this one. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Mormon Row

Mormon Row: The road heading south from Antelope flats gets muddy after rainy periods. I liked the colors and overall composition in this one, with the hint of a fence and the reflected mud puddles. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Abandoned Head Gate

Abandoned Head Gate on Mormon Row: Lots going on in this capture…I placed my camera on a low base, leveled with a bean bag and controlled it with a CamRanger, PT Hub and motorized head. I controlled everything on my Verizon Pad. The bean bag was only a half inch above the water in the irrigation ditch, which would have made this a difficult shot to get without the extra gadgets. I also instructed the software to shoot with a three shot bracket at one full stop to capture the parts for an HDR composite. I used the new HDR Merge in Lightroom CC (Lightroom 6) to make a single new DNG file which I processed as a normal image. D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Balsom Root

Balsom Root: Before heading home, I drove over to the East Boundary Road and found a few Arrowleaf Balsom Root plants. With the 24-70mm lens still on the D800 and all still mounted on the motorized base, I added an Nikon SU-800 Speedlight controller and backlit the flowers with a Nikon SB-910 strobe. That setup also has a pair of Radio Poppers to convert the IR signal to radio frequency. D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Balsom Root in the Wind

Balsom Root in the Wind: It was quite windy when I was out with the flowers. For this shot, I changed from Manual to Aperture Priority, set the flash settings in the camera to Rear Curtain Sync, set the camera to a heavily underexposed ambient shot, and set the Aperture to F/22 at ISO 100 to allow a 2 second shutter speed. I used the CamRanger software to help focus on the main flower, control the camera’s settings, and compose the shot. I touched the capture button on screen, which began the 2 second exposure. I aimed the hand held remote strobe to the left and slightly behind. The strobe activated at the end of the 2 second capture. D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

hubThe Low Shots: I built a handmade wooden base similar to this Kirk Enterprises Low Pod. I recently added a motorized hub from CamRanger which allows me to rotate and tilt the camera—all controlled by my hand held pad or my iPhone. Click the links for more information. Next Winter, I hope to set up this low unit next to the feeding Trumpeter Swans (with the permission and oversight of the program director) at Boyle’s Hill. I’ll be able to pan, rotate and focus on the swans up close and personal. The shot above were really field test shots to see how everything was going to work. I wasn’t sure if the strobe would work with the system knowing the CamRanger works with LiveView.

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May 19, 2015

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: I took a gamble this morning and drove to the barns. I wanted to try out the CamRanger and PT Hub when shooting from atop a painter’s pole. Clouds finally lifted to reveal the Grand and the rest of the Teton Range.

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: I took these shots from the fence line, using both a 24-70mm lens and a 14-24mm lens on a Nikon D800.

CamRanger and Hub

CamRanger and Hub: This is just a documentation shot of the setup. I added a connector to the top of the painter’s post. The motorized hub and controller are connected to the CamRanger which controls the camera. From below, I could pan, tilt, and focus the lens on the Android Pad (Verizon pad). This worked fairly well today. I’ll try it again some morning with the blazing clouds and better light.

Rainy Day Oriole

Rainy Day Oriole: Not long after I made it home from the the morning loop, it started to cloud up and rain again. That’s no problem for me…I have a covered blind in the back yard and got to shoot even during the rain. Bullock’s Orioles are still very active. Western Tanagers are either lagging behind or passed on through and are already north. I’m speculating the recent rains are going to make this year’s wildflower season a good one! D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Mountain Man Rendezvous: I keep meaning to stop by the Rodeo/Fairgrounds and visit some of my Mountain Man friends. I suspect they are not too happy about the clouds, rain and mud this year. Maybe I can stop in tomorrow.

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May 18, 2015

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird: Bluebirds are in their mating colors right now all around the valley floor. There are nesting boxes all along the highway heading north out of town. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: This buck Mule Deer was grazing along the Moose-Wilson Road. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Shaggy Bull Moose

Shaggy Bull Moose: Taken near Dornan’s at Moose Junction. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Older Goslings

Older Goslings: This group of three goslings were at the park just north of the Visitor’s Center. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Dozen Young Goslings

Dozen Young Goslings: Also at the Visitor’s Center. There were three groups of young geese. This adult had twelve youngsters.

Today In JH: Clouds were thick most of the morning and covered the upper half of the Teton Range. Later in the day, clouds pulled back for just a few minutes before a new round of thunderclouds moved through again. Bison were noticeably absent from the valley. I am not sure where they are right now? The valley continues to turn green and fresh again, including some new leaves beginning to cover the cottonwoods. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

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May 17, 2015

I’ll be on a One-on-One Photo Excursion tomorrow, so any report will probably be late in the day.

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse: In many areas of the valley you might hear a faint 10-15 second “drumbeat” back in the dark forest. More than likely, the sound is a fanning Ruffed Grouse. The head and feet remain amazingly still. At 1/125th seconds, the fast wing flaps are quite blurred. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Ruffed Grouse on a Log

Ruffed Grouse on a Log: Ruffed Grouse camouflage well in the forest floor. Unless on the road, or in the grass beside the road, they are difficult to spot. Their barred and spotted feathers are popular with fly tyers. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Ruffed Grouse Back Side

Ruffed Grouse Back Side: This image was taken at 1/640th second. Even at 1/640th second, some of the fastest wing flaps from that sequence still showed motion blur.   D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Weekend Road Updates: I photographed more in my back yard early this morning, then headed into the Park at 11:00 am.

  • The road to Spaulding Bay is now open. I always expect to see a black bear there, whether I do or not. A great area.
  • The road up Signal Mountain is now open. I go there this time of the year to see Dusky Grouse (formerly Blue Grouse). Later in the summer, I look for Indian Paintbrush and other wildflowers. There are some good view from the top of the mountain.
  • The road from Pacific Creek Road to Two Ocean Lake Road is now open. It is too early for wildflowers there right now. Grizzlies frequent the area.

Bear Updates: Knowing the bears move around so much, I’ll just give a few generic reports.

  • 399 is now reported to have kicked her cubs out on their own. She will be looking for a mate soon.
  • 610 has two Cubs of the Year (COY). She as a collar and ear tags.
  • The Griz sow commonly called Blondie surfaced recently with three yearling cubs. She now has a collar and ear tags.

Other Wildlife: People are asking me about some of these.

  • I am unaware of any coyote dens. I’ve seen a few coyotes hanging in the Mormon Row district.
  • I am unaware of any fox dens. Who knows where the Kits will show up first.
  • I am unaware of any owl nest. A GGO has been seen off and on along the Moose-Wilson Road
  • Some people are seeing beavers on the Moose-Wilson Road late in the evening.
  • Bison appear to have moved farther North. I am not seeing them along the Gros Ventre.
  • I would expect to see the first baby moose in the next week or ten days, which coincides with the fledgling Great Horned Owls coming off nests.

Wildflowers:

  • The best showing of Arrowleaf Balsom Root plants are along the East Boundary Road from Kelly to Antelope Flats Road. It appears to be a good year for them. Other wildflowers are beginning to bloom, too, but it is still quite early for most.
  • The “pond” (gravel pit) along Pilgrim Creek Road is bone dry this year. There is plenty of evidence of pending Purple Lupine and other wildflowers there, but the classic shot with water and reflections probably won’t happen this year.

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May 16, 2015

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole: I stayed home this morning to capitalize on my “investment”. During the first half of the month, I “set up” in the back yard for the incoming migrating birds by adding feeders and trees for the birds to sit in as they feed. Bullock’s Orioles are here! I took lots of shots of them today. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Bullocks on Feeder

Bullock’s Orioles on a Hummingbird Feeder: Bullock’s are attracted to sugar water and oranges. They are good at pulling off the ant guard on the Hummingbird feeders, so I usually save them the trouble and remove them while the Orioles are in town. Orioles, like many of the other Spring birds, stay around for only a week or so, then head on into the parks farther north. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Brewer's Blackbird

Brewer’s Blackbird: Yesterday, I posted a typical shot of a Brewer’s Blackbird. Occasionally, one will display its feathers similar to a grouse. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Oriole in Motion

Oriole in Motion: Early in the morning and on dark, overcast days, it is difficult to freeze all action without bumping the ISO up to extremely high settings. However, many birds will hold still for very short periods of time, and if I can capture one during the still (split) second, the resulting photo can be very sharp. ANY movement can make those shots look blurry. Sometimes, the movement can be beautifully appealing. I caught this action at 1/125th second. Someday, I hope to create a page of similar blurred action shots. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel: I have plenty of shots of this red squirrel in natural looking poses. I filled this “wreath” style peanut feeder today which attracted numerous Clark’s Nutcrackers. This crafty little squirrel can help them empty the entire wreath in a couple of hours.  D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Clark's Feeding Time

Clark’s Feeding Time: With all the clutter, I wouldn’t expect this shot wouldn’t win any awards, but I liked it because the “behavior” displayed in it. The parents adeptly fill a pouch in their throat with peanuts and safflower seeds, then feed them back to their babies or squawking fledgelings. Gradually, the parents feed them less and force the fledglings to pick out their own seeds from the feeders. Clark’s are important to the ecosystem as their long beaks are required to help spread the seeds of the White Bark Pine trees.  D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Mystery Bird

MacGillivray’s Warbler: This is a very tight crop with high ISO of the bird taking a bath across the creek. If you know the species, please let me know! Thanks to Edward Wiscombe for helping identify it! D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Squirrel Transfer 1

Squirrel Transfer 1: The mother Red Squirrel decided to move her little critters from my back yard tree to one across the creek today. She waited until one was out of the nest cavity, then rolled it up into a ball. The babies are roughly 2/3 her size. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Squirrel Transfer 2

Squirrel Transfer 2: …Down the tree trunk and down the fence line. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Squirrel Transfer 3

Squirrel Transfer 3: …Over the creek and to a new home for this one. As of 8:00 pm tonight, one was still in the original tree despite numerous attempts to get the baby out of the cavity. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

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May 15, 2015

Morning in JH: I’ve been up before 5:00 am for about 10 days straight. It was overcast this morning so I decided to take an extra couple of hours of much needed sleep. Actually, I intended on spending the day photographing the migrating birds, so I didn’t need to get up early. Yesterday was the best day of the year so far for birds in my back yard. The images below are just a few of over 2000 shots I took during the day. It was good yesterday, but getting better each day!

Begging Fledgling Clark's Nutcracker

Begging Fledgling Clark’s Nutcracker: Clark’s babies have pink in the corners of their beaks, are slightly smaller than the parents, and beg for food by squawking and flapping their wings. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Black-headed Grosbeak

Black-headed Grosbeak: This is the first of the Grosbeaks I’ve seen so far this year. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Red-naped Sapsucker

Red-naped Sapsucker: I’ve had Downey and Hairy Woodpeckers, along with Northern Flickers in the back yard over the years, but never a Sapsucker. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Lazuli Bunting

Lazuli Bunting:  Right now, Bullock’s Orioles are the star of the show with two or three pairs coming around regularly. Buntings are more more difficult for me to photograph. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Western Tanager

Western Tanager: This is the first male I’ve had a chance to photograph this year. The bigger wave should arrive soon. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Mystery Bird

Brewer’s Sparrow: Mia at onthewingphotography.com identified this little bird. It is about the same size as a Pine Sisken. It seems to prefer feeding on the ground vs on any of the feeders. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Brewer's Blackbird

Brewer’s Blackbird: The color on these birds shows up great on overcast days. Brewer’s Blackbirds are often accompanied by Brown-headed Blackbirds. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Green-tailed Towhee

Green-tailed Towhee: This was another mystery bird for me until Paul Gore identified it. It seems each year, I see something new. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

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May 14, 2015

Sunrise Reflections

Sunrise Reflections: The parking area at Blacktail Ponds Overlook is closed until the bike path project is over. I parked along the highway and hiked in early this morning.

Big Sky

Moody Big Sky: Nikon 24-70mm lens and a Nikon D800

Great Gray in Aspen Tree:

Great Gray in Aspen Tree: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road today. This owl has two tags above his talons, plus a radio transmitter on it’s back. If you know to be looking for it, you can spot the small wire protruding from the feathers on its back. This one is C3. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

GGO in Flight

GGO in Flight: D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

GGO Take-off

GGO Take-off: D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

GGO in Old Lodgepole Pine Tree

GGO in Old Lodgepole Pine Tree: D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Goose and Goslings

Goose and Goslings: Taken late in the day yesterday south of town. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Stellar's Jay Bathing

Stellar’s Jay Bathing: Another shot from late yesterday. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Purple LupineArea Comments: When I went south of town yesterday, I saw lots of Arrow Leaf Balsom Root plants in full bloom. That’s typical. They usually bloom about a week before the large group inside GTNP. I am starting to see a few Purple Lupines, but not in large numbers yet. I don’t know all the names, but I am starting to see the first of many species of wildflowers. It is still early, but things look promising.

Mountain Man Rendezvous / Trader’s Row: As I was driving by the Rodeo Grounds, I noticed a couple of signs for Trader’s Row and quite a few of the trader’s tents being set up. There’s no admission fee. The traders will be there until late in the day on Memorial Day.

Baby Red Squirrel

Baby Red Squirrel: While the mother was away, one of the babies emerged from its tree trunk den today. The mother returned and was not happy. She proceeded to plug the “back door” hole and I haven’t seen them since. They’ll be out again soon. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole: This one was captured at ISO 5000. I saw my first Western Tanager today. A Yellow Warbler has been staying on the other side of the creek.  D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

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May 13, 2015

Chapel of the Transfiguration

Chapel of the Transfiguration: I went out this morning thinking “landscapes” and tried initially going to the top of Shadow Mountain. The gate was locked, so I headed back towards the barns. A bus was parked along the road at the north Mormon Row barn with around 40 photographers lined up side-by-side in the sagebrush. I went to the south barn where only one person was taking photos. The irrigation ditch is open now, so it offers some interesting shots. I went to the Chapel for some additional shots using the CamRanger and PT hub with the camera close to the ground. This one was taken with a Nikon 14-24mm lens and a Nikon D800.

GGO Perched

Great Gray Owl: I had a good time this morning photographing a Great Gray Owl on the Moose-Wilson Road.  D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Perched GGO

Perched Great Gray OwlD4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

GGO with Vole

GGO with Vole: I processed around ten shots this morning in Lightroom to post here, but these three probably give you a good idea of what I captured. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Canada Geese

Canada Geese: You don’t see Geese perched on the top of trees like this too often. I captured several with better poses on the perched goose, but liked this one with the passing goose. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

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May 12, 2015

Schwabacher Landing

Schwabacher Landing: Just about everyone has this classic shot. Clouds were nice this morning. D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Schwabacher Landing

Schwabacher Landing: Taken at the first pool. D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Schwabacher Landing

Schwabacher Landing: The Grand and Mt. Moran. D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

CamRanger and PT Hub

CamRanger and PT Hub: Last week, I ordered the motorized hub to go with my CamRanger. I used it today at Schwabacher with a D4 and 24-70mm lens attached. After leaving there, I drove towards the barns thinking I might try some flowers along the east boundary road. No one was a the TA Moulton Barn, so I thought I’d try out the combination with a D800 and 70-200mm lens. I set up the rig shown above near some of the active Uinta Ground Squirrels. After I moved back from the tripod, a few of them came out of their burrows.

Uintal Ground Squirrel

Uinta Ground Squirrel: Using my Verizon Pad and the CamRanger setup, I was able to follow the squirrels around and focus on them as they went about their business. The slow rotation of the camera didn’t seem to bother them at all. This is cropped from a D800 image with the lens set to 200mm. I probably could have stayed there all morning, sitting in a lawn chair well off the active area. Nikon D800 and Nikon 70-200mm

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole: I heard this male long before I actually saw him. It might take a day or two for them to get comfortable coming to the feeders for the oranges and sugar water. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Morning Notes: On the way north, I saw four moose along the highway, just south of the Climbing Rocks (or north of Moose Junction). A small herd of elk were crossing the highway north of Antelope Flats Junction just before sunrise. I didn’t see any bison today. Some of them have made it to Elk Flats now. Grass is green and lush there, now. On my way home from the barns, I drove east to complete the Kelly Loop and found a Gray Wolf walking down the East Boundary Road near Ditch Creek. I didn’t get shots, but it was definitely a wolf.

Lazuli Bunting

Lazuli Bunting: This male has more brown still in his head area than the two I photographed yesterday. I don’t believe it takes long for the color change. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Stellar's Jay

Stellar’s Jay: I hope this bird finds a reason to stay around all summer. I heard him earlier in the day and hung around hoping it would come closer at some point. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

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May 11, 2015

Balsom Root

Arrowleaf Balsom Root: I took shots of this plant on May 4th. It was the first fully bloomed Balsom Root plant I found this year. We had a hard frost this morning…many people were driving around with small openings in their frosted windshields. Quite a few of the early bloomers may have to pay the price of getting a head start. I did a quick loop around to Kelly. There are lots of Balsom Root leaves appearing. Should be a bumper crop this year. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Goslings

Goslings: These baby geese were alongside the bike path just north of the Visitor’s Center. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Single Gosling

Single Gosling: I found another couple of sets of babies at the Visitors Center.  D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Canada Geese

Canada Geese: This pair floated by with nine chicks. Another pair had only one chick. Later in the morning, both groups were feeding on the grass beside the pond and it appears the chicks got all mixed up. I’d have loved to stay long enough to see how many swam off with each pair, but the chicks intermixed freely with both pairs. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Cinnamon Teal

Cinnamon Teal: A pair of Cinnamons were swimming around in the small pond behind the Visitors Center. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Red-naped Sapsucker

Red-naped Sapsucker: A pair of Sapsuckers continue to seem interested in building a nest in my back yard but the Red Squirrel is running them off. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed Magpie: Light was good for this shot today. They are difficult to photograph in bright light. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Cassin's Finch

Cassin’s Finch: Right now, quite a few Cassin’s Finches are visiting my back yard—and they are becoming more accustomed to me being in the yard. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Lazuli Buntings

Lazuli Buntings: When a new bird shows up, I usually start with “record shots” like the tight crop on the left. It was fairly deep in the trees. Later, a couple of males made their way to the close feeder. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Lazuli bunting Male

Lazuli Bunting Male: Males are brown for much of the year but turn cobalt blue for the breeding season. Females are golden brown without a lot of features or details. The two Buntings are a couple of the most colorful so far this year. I am expecting Bullock’s Orioles, Western Tanagers, and a few Cedar Waxwings in the next week or so. A Cedar Waxwing was hissing in one of my trees today, but never came down to feed. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

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May 10, 2015

Band of Mustangs

Band of Mustangs: Early morning out on the range at McCullough Peaks HMA.

Wild Horse Chase

Wild Horse Chase: Full speed chase through prairie grass and sagebrush. D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Sylvan Pass Bighorns

Sylvan Pass Bighorns: I passed quite a few Bighorn Ewes coming up the canyon from Cody. The group of Rams were only a mile or so from the summit of Sylvan Pass.

Grizzly Sow and Cubs

Grizzly Sow and Cubs: Another record shot for me. On the way home, I turned north towards Hayden Valley. I didn’t see a bear, nor the normal bunches of bear and wolf photographers. If I had only turned south earlier, I might have had a chance for better shots of this sow. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Griz Watchers

Griz Watchers: This is just a small sampling of the tourists and photographers watching the sow and cubs. I told my wife I’d be home in time for Mother’s Day dinner, so I had to book it on home. D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

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May 9, 2015

Mustang Band

Mustang Band: Wild mustangs can be found on any of Wyoming’s 16 Horse Management Area (HMA). The McCullough Peaks HMA is outside of Cody. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Mustangs

Mustangs: Mares graze while stallions take care of business. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Stallions

Stallions: This kind of action clearly differentiate these horses as wild mustangs. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Younger Challenger

Young Challenger: It will probably be a year or two before this gray stallion has a band of mares of his own, but he was testing the resolve of each band stallion this morning. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

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May 8, 2015

Harlequin Ducks

Harlequin Ducks: A long exposure taken at LeHardy Rapids in Yellowstone. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Grizzly:

Grizzly: Unfortunately, this is my very first Grizzly shot of the year. Others have been getting them regularly in the Tetons, but I’ve been shut out each time I was in the prime areas. This Grizzly was 225 yards off the road along Mary Bay in Yellowstone. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Mustangs

Mustangs: Taken at McCullough Peaks outside Cody. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Too Close:

Too Close: This kind of action can occur when two bands get too close to each other. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

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May 7, 2015

May 4, 2008

New Feature Post: May Day at the Old Patriarch Tree For this page, I went back through my Lightroom catalog to find images taken on (or around) May 1st going back to 2008.

I stayed home this morning to finish this new Feature Post. It rained off and on all night and was still dark and damp. These kinds of days offer “opportunities”, such as rain drops making patterns in pools of calm water, drops clinging to leaves, berries and cones, and lingering fog. The Teton Range is seldom visible, so I spend the day “looking down” for subjects I might normally pass up.

Pronghorn Buck in Flowers

Pronghorn Buck in Flowers: Balsom Root and a nice buck at the intersection to the old Teton Science School Road. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Web_Zodiac_May7

D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

Zodiac SignCircle of Animals —Zodiac Heads by Ai Weiwei at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

I’ll be heading north into Yellowstone and Cody for the weekend, but if you are in town, there’s an official dedication ceremony on Saturday. Even if you miss the ceremony, you can see the set of 12 sculptures anytime the gates are open thru October 11. Currently, there’s an exhibit inside called “Fight or Flight: Art, Action, Animals”. Worth viewing, too!

Zodiac Sculptures

Zodiac Sculptures: Click this image to see them much larger. You will be amazed at the details sculpted into the pieces and also by the detail captured by the camera and lens! D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens

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May 6, 2015

Setting Moon

Setting Moon: I shot this one from the Albertson’s parking lot here in town. Clouds were thick and low in the Park during the morning period. I made a Kelly, Mormon Row, Moose-Wilson road loop, but didn’t take many photos. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

May 6 Road Updates, 2015

  • May 1: Inner Park Loop Road and Moose-Wilson Road is Open.
  • May 1: Curtis Canyon and Bridger Teton Forest Open.
  • May 1: Mormon Row Road from Antelope Flats Rd. to Gros Ventre Road.
  • May 1: RKO Road is Open.
  • May 3rd?: Road to Schwabacher Landing is Open
  • Road to Spaulding Bay: Barricaded.
  • Road to the top of Signal Mountain: Barricaded.
  • Cattleman’s Bridge area near Oxbow Bend: Open
  • Road to White Grass Ranch and Death Canyon Trail Head is  Open.
  • Upper Gros Ventre Road past Red Rock Ranch opens later.
  • Grassy Lake Road won’t open until at least June.
  • Colter Bay Convenience Store and Signal Mt. Station and Store are open. The restaurant at Signal Mt. Lodge opens this weekend for Mother’s Day.
  • Gros Ventre Campground is open.
  • Yellowstone’s South Entrance opens early Friday morning.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel on Trunk: I came home early this morning, then set up my tripod in the back yard after seeing and hearing a pair of Red-naped Sapsuckers. It looked like they might be interested in building a nest in this old hollow tree trunk, but my resident Red Squirrel might have dissuaded them. Maybe the Sapsuckers will find another suitable tree in the yard. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Red Squirrel Resting on a Branch:

Red Squirrel Resting on a Branch: This Red Squirrel raised a litter of six babies last year. I believe she is using the big tree trunk again this year. Yesterday, I am fairly certain I saw fledgling Clark’s Nutcrackers in the yard. It seems early, but then everything does. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker: These are such distinctive birds. Even though it only came to a homemade feeder, I couldn’t resist taking a few shots. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Schwabacher Landing: I mentioned seeing the gates open this morning. I drove down and had the entire area to myself. There were a few footprints, so I’d have to assume the area was open yesterday. I heard lots of birds chirping around everywhere. Beavers have been active building their dams higher than last year, though I didn’t see one. There a couple of pairs of Barrows Golden-eyes along with other Mallards and common ducks. Around the valley, I have been seeing birds well ahead of schedule including White-crowned Sparrows and Chipping Sparrows. I am wondering how many migrating birds will hang around in town before heading on North this year? Some may pass through without stopping at all. We’ll see!

Pronghorn Doe

Pronghorn Doe: I went out this afternoon hoping for 1:Lightning, 2:Rainbow, 3:Baby Bison. I never saw a lightning bolt nor heard thunder. I found some bison, but didn’t see any babies. Instead, I found a very cooperative Pronghorn within yards of “Antelope Flats Road”. I shot from the window using a bean bag support. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Singing Meadowlark

Singing Meadowlark: This is a fairly tight crop, but it was still quite sharp. I look for them in the tops of the sagebrush, but will still photograph them on the fence posts. D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

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Cinco de Mayo, 2015

Afternoon storms are in the forecast for the next few days. They offer chances for Lightning, dramatic clouds, and rainbows.

Old Patriarch

Old Patriarch — May 5, 2015: I hiked out to the Old Patriarch this morning. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Old Patriarch May1, 2009

Old Patriarch — May 1, 2009: They say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. I can talk all day about how much this year is different than many of the previous years but these two photos should illustrate it much better. Normally, moose, deer, elk, and pronghorns won’t venture into this area until the snow melts. Here’s a link to an earlier Feature Post:  Revisiting an Old Friend: The Old Patriarch Tree

Lake Creek

Lake Creek: Lake Creek is flowing nicely out of Phelps Lake. The Park Service closed the Moose-Wilson Road to parking a mile in either direction. The best way to enjoy Lake Creek is park at the Laurance Rockefeller Preserve, and hike up either side. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Yellow Bell

Yellow Bell: One of the first flowers to bloom in the valley each year. They are currently found in the lush, moist areas. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens

Wildflowers: I’ve been getting a few emails asking about Wildflowers. It appears the Arrowleaf Balsom Root plants are getting ready to kick off their season. They usually appear south of Jackson first, but I saw a lot of them along the Gros Ventre Road Monday afternoon. I saw some Low Larkspur and other small, ground hugging flowers. It’s still very early, but I am at least seeing some now.

Wildlife May 5

Wildlife May 5: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. These were all taken hand held and are cropped significantly. Nikon D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Road Updates: The road into the old Cattleman’s Bridge near Oxbow Bend is now open. The road up to Whitegrass Ranch and Death Canyon Trailhead is now open.

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May 4, 2015

First Band of Fog

First Band of Fog: Taken from Antelope Flats Road. Nikon D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Peach Sky and Low Fog

Peach Sky and Low Fog: Hand held out the window along Antelope Flats Road. Nikon D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Low Clouds

Morning Fog and Low Clouds: Lots of photographers were at the John Moulton Barn this morning. The cloud just to the left of the peak of the Grand quickly covered the tip after this shot. Nikon D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Homestead PanoHomestead Pano: I changed my angle to eliminate the photographers. This is a three shot stitched image in the new Lightroom. Nikon D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: Low angle on this one. There were no other photographers at this barn today. Nikon D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Curious Cow

Curious Cow: This bison watched me for quite a while before rejoining the passing herd. Taken from Antelope Flats Road. Nikon D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Dancing Pronghorn

Dancing Pronghorn: Also on Antelope Flats Road. Nikon D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Cow and Calf

Cow and Calf: I found three baby bison today. I had to wait (read the newspaper) for the group to slice across the sagebrush to cross the road. Nikon D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Red Dogs

Red Dogs: I took all of the Bison images from inside my vehicle, using VR/VC “on” and a bean bag on the window. Nikon D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Bison Mother and Baby

Bison Mother and Baby: Nikon D800 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Barrows Golden Eyes

Barrows Golden Eyes: Taken in the afternoon at Sawmill Pond on the Moose-Wilson Road. There was a pair of Wood Ducks swimming around near this group, but flew off just before I had a chance to snap a shot. A pair of Ruffed Grouse were strutting around alongside the road, too. Sandhill Cranes were grazing alongside the road. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

Bison and Baby

Bison and Baby: I found roughly 9 baby bison today. This one had much more white in the legs than the others. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

Arrowleaf Balsom Root

Arrowleaf Balsom Root: I found clumps of Balsom Root in several locations today, including along the Gros Ventre Road a couple miles East of the highway. I saw plenty of sprouts along the East Boundary Road, but they are probably a few days or week behind. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

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May 3, 2015

Gold Sunrise

Gold Clouds: Looking back towards Shadow Mountain…taken from Mormon Row. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

Morning Range

Morning Range: Tetons range only a few minutes later. Nikon D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Murphy Barn

Murphy Barn: Encouraged by the moody clouds out my windows, I loaded up and drove north. I made it to Antelope Flats Junction just as clouds lifted from the Grand. Figuring that was my signal, I turned towards the barns. Yesterday, a group of people were heading north on the road in front of the barns. They were going out to view the Sage Grouse “strutting” at sunrise. I’ve never gone out, so I figured today was my day. I put the Tamron 150-600mm on a D800 and headed out just behind this morning’s new group of spectators.  The grouse were there, but were only tiny specs several hundred yards out. Hmmmm. Not what I had hoped to see! I abandoned that grouse project and starting taking photos of the barns from some of the lesser photographed angles. Nikon D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Moulton Homestead

Moulton Homestead: Taken from the north, looking south. Nikon D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Bunkhouse

Bunkhouse at the John Moulton homestead. Nikon D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Peach House with Mt. Jackson

Peach House with Mt. Jackson: The white wash house was restored last summer. Nikon D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Coyote and Buck Rail Fences

Coyote and Buck Rail Fences: Taken along Mormon Row. Nikon D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Watchful Coyote

Watchful Coyote: Coyotes are typically skittish around here. Outside the park, they can still be shot as pests. Nikon D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Chambers Barns

Chambers Barns: Also along Mormon Row. Nikon D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Bison Herd in Early Morning Light

Bison Herd in Early Morning Light: Nikon D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Spring Bison

Spring Bison: We’re seeing more green each day—both in the grass and the aspens. Nikon D4 and Tamrom 150-600mm lens.

Bears? So far this year, I have been striking out when looking for any of the bears. A few people have seen them, but the reports I am getting indicate the bear traffic is slow. 399 and her two older cubs passed through, but hasn’t been seen since. Same for 610 and her two new cubs. Several large boars were visible for short periods. I didn’t hear anything today, nor did I go that far north.

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May 2, 2015

Cow Moose in the Snake River

Cow Moose in the Snake River: This moose was standing and occasionally sleeping along the edge of the Snake River at Moose Junction. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

Moose Cow and Calf

Moose Cow and Calf: The youngster in the back was a year old. These two were a few yards upstream from the moose in the river. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

Door Knob and Lock

Door Knob and Lock: This was mostly a test shot to see how close I could focus at 600mm with the Tamron 150-600. I’ve seen numerous specs saying Minimum Focus Distance: 106.3 in. I shot this at 600 mm and I know I was much closer than that. I didn’t have a tape measure with me, but I’d estimate it closer to 78-80″. More tests later.

Chapel of the Transfiguration

Chapel of the Transfiguration: I shot this image from a long distance using the Tamron 150-600mm lens. I zoomed in tight, took three shots, and then stitched them together inside Lightroom CC (Lightroom 6). That created a single DNG file which I processed and took into Photoshop. There, I converted it to black and while using NIK Silver Efex Pro.  Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

Chapel Entry

Chapel Entry: Shot from ground level with a Nikon D800 and 24-70mm lens at 24mm.

Chapel with Family

Chapel with Family: Also shot with the Tamron 150-600mm lens from a distance.  Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm

String Lake Road

String Lake Road: The camera was on the ground for this one. Nikon D800 and 24-70mm lens.

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May 1, 2015

This is “May Day”. Somewhere around the world, kids are dancing around a Maypole….Around here, many areas of the park are reopened for the summer and fall seasons and photographers are dancing for all their own reason!

  • May 1: Inner Park Loop Road and Moose-Wilson Road is Open.
  • May 1: Curtis Canyon and Bridger Teton Forest Open.
  • May 1: Mormon Row Road from Antelope Flats Rd. to Gros Ventre Road.
  • May 1: RKO Road is Open.
  • Road to Spaulding Bay: Barricaded.
  • Road to the top of Signal Mountain: Barricaded.
  • Schwabacher Landing: Gate Locked.
  • Cattleman’s Bridge area: Barricaded.
  • Upper Gros Ventre Road past Red Rock Ranch opens later.
  • Grassy Lake Road won’t open until at least June.

Remember, this is the 1st of the month. You can view April of this year and April or May of last year by clicking on any of the Recent Daily Updates Archives: above.

Cathedral Group

Cathedral Group: Taken along the road into String Lake. Notice the lack of snow on the ground! I would have loved to see a few clouds!  Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm

String Lake

String Lake: In many prior years, I’ve walked out onto the frozen ice on May 1st. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm

Layered Mountains

Layered Mountains: I took this shot as I was driving East on the RKO Road. It is open early this year. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm

Elk

Elk: This was also taken from the RKO road. Elk and Bison have scattered into their summer ranges much earlier this year. In many areas of the valley floor, you might think someone sprinkled salt and pepper all over it. In reality, they are distant elk, bison, deer, and pronghorns. To see that, you have to be up very early! Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm

Young Moose

Young Moose: This youngster and her mother were grazing around the Signal Mountain complex today. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm

Amongst Civilization

Amongst Civilization: Not exactly “Wild Kingdom” is it? Even in the wilds of GTNP, some animals choose to co-exist with humans—at least part of the time. Most of the adult moose look absolutely terrible right now. This youngster is getting a new coat without looking mangy. Interestingly, his mother was also slick, dark and clean. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk: Someday, I’ll get a closer shot. They are beautiful birds! Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm

Gros Ventre Campground

Gros Ventre Campground: Employees were reinstalling the campground sign. The campground opened today. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm.

Spaces Available for One-On-One Photography Excursions in May. I have open dates between May 4 and 15 and a space available for May 20-30.

Birding: Today, I saw my first Hummingbird visiting my back yard. I put out a few more feeders for them. In the past few days, I have been seeing Brewer’s Blackbirds in the back yard. Tree Swallows have been showing up in large numbers around the valley.

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Please help me by spreading the word about this site with your friends. Feel free to link back to the blog on other forums and bulletin boards. MJ

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Please Note: All images on this site are protected by the US Copyright Office in Washington DC. No image may be used, copied, forwarded, or posted to an other site without permission and/or compensation to Mike R. Jackson. Also, no image may be used as source material for paintings, drawings, sculptures, or any other form of art with permission and/or compensation to

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Comments (9)

  1. Hi Mike:
    Beautiful shot (and crop) of the young moose! Love the bokeh and catchlight. Aloha, Bud

  2. Mike, the mystery sparrow is a Brewer’s Sparrow.

  3. Mia…Welcome aboard! And thanks for the I.D. on that little cutie!

  4. A pleasure Mike. Richard Pontius pointed me towards your site to show me what your Tamrom 150-600mm lens could do.

  5. Edward Wiscombe

    I believe the mistry bird is a McGillivrays Warbler,Mike

  6. Edward M Wiscombe

    Mike, I believe the mystery bird is a MacGillivray’s Warbler

  7. Thanks to Richard! I have been pleasantly surprised of the image quality of the Tamron lens. It seems to be on the bodies all the time now. MJ

  8. Hi! These are beautiful photos. I have a photo of a GGO from last June on that road with C3 on a blue tag. Do you know what C3 means and if it’s a male or female? Thank you and maybe I will see you in a couple weeks.

  9. Ashleigh,
    I always assumed C3 is a male since it is out hunting more often than the mate. The biologists with the trackers probably know for sure. I saw Henry out a few days ago. Enjoy your trip! Mike Jackson

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