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Best of the Tetons

June

June 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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Daily Updates Archives:
2017: Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May:Apr:Mar: | Feb: Jan: |
2016: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan: 
2015: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan:
2014: Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan:
2013: Dec: | Nov: Oct: | Sept: | Aug:

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Check out the June Overview!

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

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One-On-One Excursions Openings: I have a couple of openings for mid/late July. The trips are designed to help people learn to use their DSLR cameras and help photographers find some of GTNP’s nice shooting locations. Click the link for more information. (Golden Era Studios / Mike R. Jackson is an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service and the National Elk Refuge.) The Snake River is starting to clear. If you are a fisherman/photographer, you might enjoy this trip:  Hybrid Photography & Fly Fishing Trips in GTNP

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June 30, 2015 :

Sunrise Over the Beaver Ponds

Sunrise Over the Schwabacher Landing Beaver Ponds: I caught just a few seconds of light under the clouds. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Just The Clouds

Just The Clouds: Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Reflected Tetons

Reflected Tetons: Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Morning Bluebird

Morning Bluebird: The Moose were a “no show” this morning on the Gros Ventre, but the Bluebirds were active along the river.

July 1st Tomorrow! Watch for a new July 2015 Daily Updates and Photos page.

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June 29, 2015 :

Morning Moose

Morning Moose: Taken along the Gros Ventre River this morning at first light.

Gros Ventre River Notes:

  • You can’t take a dog down to the river bottom.
  • With a Wyoming Fishing License, you can fly fish the river.
  • You can wade and swim in the Gros Ventre River.
  • The south side of the GV river belongs to the National Elk Refuge.You can’t go there at any time.
  • You can’t use inner tubes, float tubes, or air mattresses in any creek or river in GTNP.
  • You can’t float the Gros Ventre River in a boat of any kind.
  • Check out this link for more info: Boating and Floating in GTNP

Yesterday afternoon, I drove to the GV to look for moose. Two were close to the river, but were spooked back into the woods by boaters/floaters.

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird: I made an afternoon loop along the Gros Ventre River looking for Moose. Instead, I found a pair of Mountain Bluebirds going back and forth with beaks full of Caddis flies emerging off the river. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Male Bluebird at the Nest

Male Bluebird at the Nest: Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bluebird with Bugs

Bluebird with Bugs: Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Baby Chipmonk

Baby Chipmonk: While watching for Bluebirds, this tiny critter came out for a quick pose. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Clouds Over Sleeping Indian

Clouds Over Sleeping Indian: Nikon D800 and Nikon 28-70mm lens.

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June 28, 2015 :

FeaturedImage

New Feature Post: Eastern Shoshone Indian Days: 2015 Pow-Wow and Events.

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June 27, 2015 :

 Evening Grand Entrance

56th Annual Eastern Shoshone Indian Days: Powwow, & Indian Rodeo & Relay Races: Ft. Washakie, WY, Jun 26-28, 2015 Click Here for a Google Map of the area.

The alarm went off at 5:00 am Saturday morning. My head hit the bed at 3:00 am on the 28th. In between, I drove over Togwottee Pass, through Dubois and onward to Fort Washakie for the annual Pow-Wow. I put about 350 miles on the vehicle and took over 2000 images. Great time!

Little Chief Washakie

The Young Chief Washakie: This dancer is a descendent of Chief Washakie.

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June 26, 2015 :

Hummingbird Test Shots

Hummingbird Test Shots: Last evening and again this morning, I spent time working with some of my gear here in the back yard. Specifically, I was assembling the little gadgets for remote firing and downloading. These shots were taken with a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 70-200mm lens attached to a Motorized Tripod Head (MP-360) & CamRanger PT Hub. I controlled the panning and some of the firing from my Verizon Pad, along with a Vello FreeWave Micro Wireless Remote Shutter Release. (previously called RFN4s). All of the above elements were mounted atop a tripod. A friend made a ground plate for me, using his CNC machine, which lets me put the unit fairly close to the ground for flowers and other low shots. I also added some clamps, rails, and quick release clamps to hold everything as a unit, however it can look like some sort of Rube Goldberg device. Oh yes, I also mounted a Nikon SB-910 strobe to the top of the camera body. When I get “serious”, I’ll replace that element with a Nikon SU-800 so I can control multiple off-camera strobes. Rube would be oh so proud of the effort!

The Hummingbird tests above are preparing me for more self portrait style fly fishing shots as seen on this page: Remote Triggering: CamRanger and RFN-4s

Upcoming Plans?  If you are planning a trip to the region, here are a couple of suggestions:

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June 25, 2015 :

Saddle Detail

Saddle Details: Last night, I met a couple for some late evening / night photography at the Moulton Barns. (4 Hr. Excursion).  The shot above shows the normal exposure on the left, then the same shot augmented with some warm light on a three second exposure. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

John Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn: The last time I took a similar shot, we were in the “new moon” cycle. At that time, there was almost no ambient light. Last night, we had a moon with about half coverage. It helped light some of the distant buildings and clouds, while I lit the close elements with a 2 million candle power flashlight. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Night Sky

Night Sky: Again, the moon helped light the clouds and snow on the peaks. At this time of the year, the Big Dipper is standing upright for the typical shooting times. Near the top of the image, you can see the four stars that make up the dipper portion and one of the handle stars. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

If you like night photography, check out this earlier Feature Post: While Most People Were Sleeping.

At 5:00 am yesterday, I was waking up in Yellowstone and at Midnight I was driving home from the mini-workshop. It was a long, yet productive day!

Noon Time at GTNP

Noon Time at GTNP: To illustrate this article in the JH News and Guide Story: Yellowstone visitors numbers are up sharply, I stopped on my way out of GTNP at noon yesterday to get a shot of tourists heading into GTNP . I counted roughly 15 cars in each of the two middle lanes plus the group on the far right—and there were more driving into the line as I was taking the shot. Note: The drive from the town of Jackson to either Fishing Bridge or Old Faithful is 100 miles. You have to allow close to three hours to make the 100 drive at a maximum speed of 45 mph once you are in the parks. Nikon D4 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

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June 24, 2015 :

Back From Yellowstone: I had planned on returning late last night, but ended up staying in the Fishing Bridge RV Park and sleeping in my van. Photos are downloading as I make this short post.

Grizzly Cub on a Log

Grizzly Cub on a Log: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Resting COY

Resting Grizzly Cub of the Year: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Standing Grizzly Cub

Standing Grizzly Cub: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Grizzlies

Grizzlies on the Move: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Grizzly Cubs Nursing

Grizzly Cubs Nursing: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Nursing

Nursing Time: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Up and Alert

Up and Alert: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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June 23, 2015 :

Day Trip to Yellowstone: I packed the van Monday night in order to head north early Tuesday and spend one of the longest summer days in Yellowstone. JH News and Guide Story: Yellowstone visitors numbers are up sharply:  The visitor count at Yellowstone National Park so far this year is running far ahead of the pace of 2014, which saw the second-largest number …” Looks like I get to add to the numbers.

Lewis River

Lewis River:

Mule Deer

Mule Deer:

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June 22, 2015 :

Photographer

Photographer: A common sight along Antelope Flats Road right now. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Yellow Wildflowers

Yellow Wildflowers: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Flower Patchwork

Flower Patchwork: Taken along Mormon Row. The road has been closed recently, but is open now. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Pronghorns

Pronghorns: Taken along Mormon Row. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Great Gray In Pines

Great Gray In Pines: Besides the park, GGOs are seen along Fish Creek Road and Fall Creek Road near Wilson.  Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Mother Moose

Mother Moose: (June 18) This moose has two calves and has been hanging around the Moose Visitor’s Center. The two babies were bedded down the day I saw her. I didn’t hang around long enough to see them, but maybe someday soon. Another moose with one baby has been seen off and on along the Moose-Wilson Road. I hear of quite a few cows with calves along the road to Teton Village and in the Wilson area. Watch for moose cows and calves just about anywhere there are low willows, good cover, and water, including Schwabacher Landing, Willow Flats, Pacific Creek, Buffalo Fork and Gros Ventre river bottoms, and Blacktail Butte Overlook. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Mormon Row: There’s a lot of activity along Mormon Row right now, especially near the Chambers Homestead. Youth Conservation ProgramGrand Teton National Park volunteers are cleaning up the area, repairing fences and so forth. Last week, a crew replaced some decaying roofs on some of the smaller buildings and sheds. Another group of volunteers will be working on the TA Moulton Barn and other structures in July and August. There are survey stakes along the east side of the road for a pathway and improvements for parking— plus a restroom.

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June 21, 2015 : The Summer Solstice : Father’s Day

Great Gray Owl in Aspens

Great Gray Owl in Aspens: Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush: I’ve only seen a few of them so far, but should be more prominent soon.  Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

TODAY! RaptorFest JH: June 21, 2015 – 1-5pm in Wilson, WY. Get portrait shots of many of the birds of prey and learn about the center’s efforts to save and rehabilitate wounded birds.

Father's Day Sunset

Father’s Day Sunset: Taken near Moose Junction. Nikon D800 and Nikon 70-200 mm lens.

My Wife and I made a quick trip north and had late lunch at the Pizzeria at Leek’s Marina. At the time, it was windy and light was flat so I didn’t take many photos. We didn’t see any bears at Oxbow or Willow Flats, nor along Pacific Creek Road.  The fox kits at Beaver Creek were apparently under the porch when we went by. We saw a few elk in the distance at Willow Flats. The same clouds turned nice colors at sunset.

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June 20, 2015

Weather Channel

The Sun and Moon: At one time, I included sunrise and sunset hours on the daily entries for this blog. Recently, I figured the information is so readily available, I was wasting time and space. All you have to do is click on the Weather Link in the navigation on the right on computers or near the bottom on small devices. Above is a screen grab from a few minutes ago showing all the information I used to supply, plus twilight data. This page explains the three types of twilight to accompany the screen grab above.  What exactly is twilight? | EarthSky.Org

Here’s an entry from 2013: “December 21, 2013  | 7:00 AM: 18°F : Sunrise 7:52 AM, Sunset 4:50 PM :  High Temp Forecast 23°F.” At this time of the year, I have to get up at roughly 4:15 am to be at a good location for sunrise—or even earlier for Alpenglow.  Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice – or the longest day of the year. Worth noting! Days will begin to get shorter until the Winter Solstice in December.

Upcoming Plans?  If you are planning a trip to the region, here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Cody, WY: Cody Museum and Pow-Wow . Held over Father’s Day weekend.
  • Jackson, WY: 4th of July Parade & Fireworks: Saturday, 4th of July
  • Driggs, ID: Celebrate America, large fireworks display: Saturday 4th of July
  • Driggs, ID: Hot Air Balloon Festival, early mornings July 02 – July 05
  • West Yellowstone, MT: Smoking Waters Mtn. Man Rendezvous: July 31-August 9
  • Ft. Washakie, 56th Annual Eastern Shoshone Indian Days:, Powwow, & Indian Rodeo & Relay Races: Jun 26, 2015 – Jun 28
  • Pinedale, WY: Green River Rendezvous Days: July 9-12, 2015 : Parade, Trader’s Row, Mountain Man Museum, Pageant
JH NEWS & GUIDE: Refuge Road is getting $2.5 million renovation  Watch for construction and delays.

TOMORROW! RaptorFest JH: June 21, 2015 – 1-5pm in Wilson, WY. Get portrait shots of many of the birds of prey and learn about the center’s efforts to save and rehabilitate wounded birds.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers: Yep…I know I broke the “rule of odds” (1, 2, 3, 5 subjects). Still, I liked the back lit flowers and the propeller shaped leaves on the left one. Worth a shot anyway! Balsam Root flowers are dwindling, but other similar yellow flowers are taking their place. Nikon D4 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Sticky Geraniums

Sticky Geraniums are fairly common valley wide now. Also look for purple Penstemon. I’ve seen quite a few along the Moose-Wilson Road and are usually found near the visitor’s center and marina at Colter Bay. Nikon D4 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

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June 19, 2015

Night Time Barn

Night Time Barn: I stayed out last night and did a little more light painting. The waxing crescent moon had already cleared the west side of the valley. Venus is seen in the upper left. I was standing on the road with my flashlight, slightly south of the barn and triggered the camera from around 100′ with a remote RFN4s. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Milky Way

Milky Way: After the “blue light period”, I switched to the West side of the John Moulton barn and did a three image pano group. I stitched them together in Lightroon CC. The barn was lit with a small LED panel with an orange plastic sheet to neutralize the blue of the LED lights.

Great Gray Owl
Great Gray Owl: Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Bull Elk
Bull Elk: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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June 18, 2015

MooseCow

Moose Cow: I found this sleek cow and a yearling calf crossing the Moose-Wilson Road this morning. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Loose End Images:

Buck in Flowers

Washakie: This is the first set of shots of Washakie I’ve taken this year. He was along the Gros Ventre River last night. The little specks are mosquitoes, mayflies, and caddis flies hovering around once the wind died down. The bulls will continue to grow their velvet covered antlers throughout July and August and begin stripping them in early September. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Washakie's Detail

Washakie? This is a tight crop of the previously cropped image taken at ISO 2800 in the evening shadows. It shows the two split ears and scars on his muzzle. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Sunset

Sunset: Skies look promising for a fiery sky last night. I waited it out, but the event turned out to be less spectacular than I had hoped. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

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Pronghorn Buck: I took this one a couple of evenings ago along the East Boundary Road, just north of Kelly. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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June 17, 2015

Northern Sunrise

Northern Sunrise: Taken near Snake River Overlook at first light. Nikon D4 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Northern Fog Cover

Northern Fog Cover: Looking North towards Signal Mountain with Triangle X pastures below. Nikon D4 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Bison Bull Sparring

Bison Bull Sparring: Taken at Elk Flats along Highway 89/191. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Summer Fox

Summer Fox: Taken near Colter Bay. I couldn’t tell if this is the Vixen or the male. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Baby Marmots

Baby Marmots: Taken on Pilgrim Creek Road. Some Marmots have adapted to building dens inside downed tree trunks instead of rock fields. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Baby Pronghorn Nursing

Baby Pronghorn Nursing: Taken along the Inner Park Road (Teton Park Road) near the Pot Holes Turnout. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Quick Retreat

Quick Retreat: A few cars starting pulling off the road. The doe quickly shuffled the little one out of the area. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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June 16, 2015

Clouds Over Flat Creek

Clouds Over Flat Creek: Taken across from Dairy Queen and looking North over Flat Creek. Nikon D800 and Nikon  70-200mm lens.

Just the Grand

Just the Grand: Taken from the Grand Teton Park entrance sign along Highway 89/191. Nikon D800 and Nikon  70-200mm lens.

Fog Bank and Tetons

Fog Bank and Tetons: Taken just south of Moose Junction along Highway 89/191. Nikon D800 and Nikon  70-200mm lens.

Foggy Homestead

Foggy Homestead: Taken along Antelope Flats Road. Nikon D800 and Nikon  70-200mm lens.

Arrowleaf Balsom Root

Arrowleaf Balsam Root: Taken along Angelope Flats Road. Nikon D800 and Nikon  24-70mm lens.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers: Taken along Antelope Flats Road. Balsam Root flowers are still in great shape in some areas, but are past prime in others. Sticky Geraniums are mixed in now. Nikon D800 and Nikon  24-70mm lens.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2015: Adobe released new versions of their Creative Cloud Suite yesterday. Here’s a link to a group of new tutorials: Photoshop CC Tutorials From Novice to Expert. I like the new features they recently added to Lightroom CC (Lightroom 6)—especially the feature to build DNG files from stitched pano images and a single DNG file from multiple HDR shots.

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June 15, 2015

Wrangler Gear

Wrangler Gear: After the NBA basketball game, I drove out to Mormon Row for a few night shots featuring some of the western gear I have been collecting. D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens in manual focus.

The Old Barn

The Old Barn: This is the last shot I took. With the long days, I didn’t finish until 11:00 pm. I made it back home at 11:45 pm. This is a 30 second exposure at F/3.5 and ISO 640 in manual mode. D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens in manual focus.

Early Morning Aspens

Early Morning Aspens: Along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Baby Moose

Baby Moose: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road in one of the beaver ponds. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Creekside Moose

Creekside Moose: Taken from the bridge over the Snake River at Moose Junction. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Passing Storm

Passing Storm: I keep trying to capture lightning bolts over this barn. This looked like the right kind of storm, but I didn’t capture any bolts. Nikon D800 and Nikon  70-200mm lens.

Storm Over Shadow Mountain

Storm Over Shadow Mountain: Lightning regularly strikes Shadow Mountain. If I happen to be on the mountain when I see a storm approaching, I get off the ridge line as quickly as possible. Many people pitch tents at the top, but I don’t recall ever hearing of anyone actually hit by lightning there. Nikon D800 and Nikon  70-200mm lens.

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June 14, 2015

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: Captured at the split second of take-off along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Focused on His Landing

Focused on His Landing: Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Perched

Perched: I didn’t officially keep track, but I estimate I’ve driven up and down the Moose-Wilson Road around 30-35 times in the past couple of months. The actual number could easily be 50 times. Until this morning, I’ve only had two good days of shooting. So now, I’ve had three good days out of 30-50 trips. The odds are not in our favor, but it shows up just often enough to make it worth going back once in a while. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird: After giving up on seeing the GGO again, I searched out one of the smallest Hummingbirds. This one would fly off to feed, then return to one of about 5 perches. All I had to do was focus on his landing spot and wait. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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June 13, 2015

$15 Pika

$15 Pika: Today, I slept late, then headed into the Park. I planned on taking the ferry boat across Jenny Lake and attempt to capture some little Pikas. The round trip ferry ride costs $15. This is the ONLY Pika image I came home with on my “Great Pika Safari”. I saw a few Pikas, but wasn’t able to get shots of them out on the rocks. It looked like this one might move out into the sun, but then pulled back into the shadows and underground. I managed to take a few other shots of other subjects, so I can’t complain. I also got a little exercise on a wonderful bluebird sky, Wyoming summer day. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Late in the Summer of 2014, I created this Feature Post: Cascade Canyon: One of the Teton’s Many Gems. Check it out for more information and photos of the area.

The Top of Hidden Falls

The Top of Hidden Falls: Anticipating shots of the Pikas, I toted the lighter Gitzo tripod, a Nikon D800, and the Tamron 150-600mm lens up the trail to Hidden Falls. I doubt many people haul that much gear up the mountain. This shot is the very top of the falls. I photographed the entire waterfall with a five shot vertical pano, but will have to process it later. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Hidden Falls Detail

Hidden Falls Detail: This is a tight section of the interior of the falls at 1/50th of a second. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bolder Field

Boulder Field: This is only a few yards from the Hidden Falls Overlook. I seem to recall the ferry pilot saying the hike from the boat dock to Hidden Falls is roughly a half mile each direction. That sounds about right to me, too. It’s not a terribly strenuous uphill hike either. Currently, the Park Service is reworking the trail from Hidden Falls to Inspiration Point, so that portion of the trail is closed. While at the bottom of the mountain, you have a choice to go left towards Hidden Falls or right to a trail to Inspiration Point. You can do both, of course. This boulder field normally has a lot of Pikas, but I guess it was just “not my day” for Pikas. Notice the bluebird skies! Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Yellow-bellied Marmot

Yellow-bellied Marmot: I saw several Marmots around and on the boulder field today. This one was closer to the falls and mostly in the shadows. While I didn’t see any today, there are a few very dark colored Marmots reported to live near the lake in this area of the park. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Chipmonk

Chipmonk: I found a comfortable spot in the boulder field and sat quietly for several hours. Luckily, there was a slight breeze and it wasn’t too hot today. This little Chipmonk came out onto a boulder and posed for a few images, then scampered back into the rocks. This what I “wanted” the Pikas to do! Last August, I made the additional climb to Inspiration Point. On that portion of the climb, I saw several Three-striped Ground Squirrels, but I’ve never seen them in the bolder fields near Hidden Falls. Keep an eye out for Pine Martens. They prey on some of the small critters like Pikas, Chipmonks, Red Squirrels, and Ground Squirrels. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: On my way out this morning, I drove down the Moose-Wilson Road to find out I had missed getting to photograph a Great Gray Owl by about 30 minutes. On the way home, I drove back to the Moose-Wilson Road. This bull was feeding on the aquatic grasses in the pond below the big overlook and making a lot of tourists very happy. This should be a very nice bull by fall. Notice most or all of his winter fur is gone. He has a beautiful new summer coat now. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Dog Rules in GTNP — Early on, I created this page: 2013 GTNP Closures and Miscellaneous Rules. In short, dogs are required to be ON A LEASH at all times if out of a vehicle….and dogs are permitted ONLY WHERE YOU CAN DRIVE a vehicle. People can walk their dogs on a leash inside the boundaries of most of the campgrounds and the rules do not pertain to service dogs. Today, I saw a couple get out of their vehicle at the big pullout on the Moose-Wilson Road and take off south along the trail at the top of the ridge. The had no leash on their Golden Lab that walked out in front of them! The trail they headed down happens to be the exact same area where the bull moose above spends some of its days.  In my experience, about half know the rules and then break them and the other half simply don’t know the rules. Unfortunately, it is also possible for people to be “in the park” on the Moose-Wilson Road and not know they are actually in the park—nor have ever been handed any kind of rules to follow.

Old Patriarch Tree: Revisiting an Old Friend: I just now added the GPS coordinates to the Old Patriarch tree and included a link for The Photographer’s Ephemeris indicating a red pin at the shooting location. You can use your scroll wheel to zoom in and out or use the slider on the left.

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June 12, 2015

Northern Saw Whet Owl

New Feature Post: Eastern Idaho Birds and Critters. This new post contains photos of owls and various waterfowl I captured on my recent weekend trip to the Mountain Man Rendezvous. This young Northern Saw Whet Owl is just one of the species of owls I found. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Curtis Canyon Vista

Curtis Canyon Vista: When I got up this morning, clouds looked very promising to the east. I went out the Elk Refuge Road and then up the Curtis Canyon Road for something different. There was a haze this morning and not that many clouds on the west side of the valley, but it was a nice experience. Nikon D800 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Miller House

Miller House: On the way through the National Elk Refuge, I stopped for this shot. It was taken at 6:40 am today. In the winter, first light on the same spot is at 10:40 am. I didn’t see ANY animals on the National Elk Refuge. There are survey stakes and signs indicating there is going to be road construction sometime soon. Nikon D800 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Flat Creek PanoFlat Creek Pano: I drove over to East Gros Ventre Butte to take this shot over the National Elk Refuge and Flat Creek. Haze was still a factor in the upper left. The Miller House complex can be seen at the top center of this image and the very edge of the town of Jackson is visible in the upper right corner. My fishing buddy used to deliver UPS shipments to the Game and Fish offices. They told him some of largest cutthroat trout in the valley are in some of the spring creek ponds on the National Elk Refuge, but no one ever gets to fish for them. (Click this image to see it much larger) Nikon D800 and Nikon 70-200mm lens. Fout shots stitched in Lightroom.

Wildflower Report: Balsam Root are about “prime” in almost all areas of the park, and there is a bumper crop this year. Good concentrations are along the East Boundary Road, Antelope Flats Road and Pilgrim Creek Road. Purple Lupines are prime in many areas, including the spot next to Pilgrim Creek Road. The traditional pool of water behind them is dry this year. Scarlet Gilia is common now. Sticky Geraniums are also common.  I haven’t seen any Indian Paintbrush. There may be some Mule’s Ear mixed in here and there.

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June 11, 2015

Red Fox Kits

Red Fox Kits: I did a quick run into the park this afternoon. The six kits are still at Beaver Creek. The parents come in occasionally, but not while I was there today. I’ve been told the family of foxes near Jenny Lake has moved to a new den. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Sleeping Indian Sunset

Sleeping Indian Sunset: Taken from the observation platform along Flat Creek. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Evening Swan

Evening Swan: This Trumpeter Swan was milling around in front of the observation platform at sunset. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Moose-Wilson Road is open again following a couple of days of closure. I looked for a Great Gray Owl, but didn’t see one. I had considered driving over to Antelope Flats road to see if I could photograph Bison and Pronghorns in the yellow Balsom Root flowers, but opted to come home to photograph Hummingbirds. I should have tried the flowers today. Never took a shot of the hummers.

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June 10, 2015

Balsom Root

Balsam Root: I was trying out a hand held strobe this morning. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Web_BalsomRootTetons_June10

Sunrise Balsam Root: Town was completely covered with thick cloud as I began driving north. Once on the valley floor, found mostly clear skies. This was taken just off Antelope Flats Road. I went to another spot and tried to capture some images for “stacking”, but that area was much too windy for that technique. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Teton Ridge Line

Teton Ridge Line: Taken from the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D800 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Broad-tailde Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird: I tore down most of my back yard bird blind today and set up for Hummingbirds. This afternoon, I noticed a few Western Tanagers and a pair of Bullock’s Orioles are still around. Nikon D800 and Nikon 200-400mm lens.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird: They are still not wanting to feed on the flowers, so I am having to photograph them as they back off the feeder. I have five Nikon strobes set up at the moment. One of them is blasting into a reflective umbrella to bounce light off the underside of their neck (gorget). Nikon D800 and Nikon 200-400mm lens.

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June 9, 2015

 

Stormy Possibilities

Stormy Possibilities: Skies darkened this afternoon, so I headed out hoping for lightning. I was ready, but it just never happened. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Approaching Moose

Approaching Moose: This bull moose was grazing on the National Elk Refuge, allowing many people to see one from the highway. There wasn’t much light at the time, but I managed to get a few sharp ones even at slow speeds. This bull seemed to be interested in a couple of bikers riding along on the bike path. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Moose in Motion

Moose in Motion: At 1/30th of a second, I panned as the moose walked by. I got lucky and ended up with a couple with sharp eyes. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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June 8, 2015

Sunrise

Sunrise: Taken near Lost Creek Ranch Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Teton Range

Pano at Lost Creek: First light bathed the western clouds. The top of the Grand wouldn’t clear for an hour or so, but it was still a beautiful sunrise. This was stitched from three single captures. (Click the image to see it larger) Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Just the Grand

Just the Grand: Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Cunningham

Inside Cunningham Cabin: Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Elk Skull

Elk Skull: This skull is now decorating the entry at Cunningham Cabin. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Long Shadows

Long Shadows: At Cunningham Cabin Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Concentric

Concentric: Log ends at the Cunningham Cabin. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Mt. Moran

Mt. Moran: Taken along the river’s edge at Oxbow Bend. Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Coyote

Coyote: Taken at the Moulton Barns. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers: This shot was taken later in the day from the East boundary road. Time to go back for a morning shot! Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

This is a great time to be in the park! MJ

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June 5/6/7, 2015

Tetonia Lightning

Tetonia Lightning: Friday afternoon, I packed up the van for a quick run to Eastern Idaho. I had hopes of getting a passing storm or two with a bolt of lightning. Got it. I could have stopped about anywhere for some bolts, but I was trying to put something distinctive in front of them. Nikon D4 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Ft. Henry Rendezvous

Ft. Henry Rendezvous: I also wanted to go to the Mountain Man Rendezvous near Rexburg, ID. Did it! If you are reading this post on Sunday morning, the Rendezvous continues through this afternoon. Click the link for more information and a map: Fort Henry Rendezvous Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

Long-eared Owl

Long-eared Owl: When heading out to Idaho on Friday, I had high hopes of finding some different kinds of owls and critters. On the list were Long-eared Owls, Short-eared Owls, Burrowing Owls, Horned Owls and some waterfowl. Got them! Well…I didn’t get any shots of the Burrowing Owls, but instead found a Northern Saw Whet Owl. That was a good trade off! Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Jack Rabbit

Jack Rabbit: I was up very early on Saturday and was out looking for owls and critters. I took this one just as there were hints of light on the ridge line. I also managed to capture a few images of a big, healthy porcupine. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Swan Valley School House:

Swan Valley School House: Eastern Idaho has lots of barns, buildings, railroads, and industrial looking grain elevators and silos. With the moody skies, I took quite a few shots on my short trip. Nikon D4 and Nikon 24-70mm lens.

I’m back at home today, Sunday, and will try to create a set of three Feature Posts since the subject matter is so distinctly different and I have so many shots of each one. Now’s a great time to sign up to follow this blog! You’ll get an email notification when I make the individual posts.

I’ve got a One-on-One Photography Excursion tomorrow, so I’ll probably make a quick reconnaissance run into the park today. Check back!

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June 5, 2015

Summer Office

Summer Office: I am hoping to make a quick little “tour” of Eastern Idaho later today and over the weekend. I had to sit down and write out a few checks and take care of loose ends. I paid the checks from my “summer office” on the back deck, where I also got to watch the birds and other small critters.

Blind

View From the Deck: The “blind” is actually a grill gazebo I bought at Wal-Mart a few years ago. It has since been re-tarped with camouflage tarps from K-Mart. When taking photos of the birds, I am normally about 10-12 feet from them. The area on the far left is where I take the shots of the Hummingbirds. The light stands for the strobes are currently inside the blind, but they are usually set up at the most active feeder. It was one of the more pleasant bill paying sessions I’ve had in a long time!

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June 4, 2015

Today is another “one man band” day! I licensed a couple of photos to two different companies and had to fill out usage agreements, W-9s, invoices, prepare the actual files and upload them to DropBox. It can take a lot of time, but I can’t complain! One will be on the front cover of a magazine and the other will be used for an investment firm’s corporate identity. Another image was recently licensed as part of a TV commercial.  A couple of months ago I licensed an image for a kid’s game app.

Acrobatic Waxwing

Hummers: Last evening, my wife and I were sitting out on the deck just before dark. Hummingbirds were coming to feeders regularly. This afternoon, I will set up all the strobes and be ready for the little elusive rascals if they show up again! Cedar Waxwings: I’ve been hearing and seeing a few Cedar Waxwings around the edges of my back yard. They appear to be interested in coming into the yard. I went to one of the local, independent grocery stores and came home with a nice box of throw-away fruit. I have a nice platform set up full of the open fruit. All it takes is one or two to go to a feeder and I could have Waxwings for several weeks. The Cedar Waxwing image above is one of my favorite shots from last year. Western Tanagers are still visiting the back yard. In a few of the previous years, I’ve had 30 or males visible at one time. This year, I normally only see three or four on any given day.

Western Tanager

Western Tanager: Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

Hummer

Hummer: I set up the strobes late in the evening, then sat back for the Hummingbird show. Much like last evening, I had a steady parade of miniature birds. Nikon D800 and Nikon 200-400mm lens.

Hummer and Flowers

Hummer and Penstemon Flowers: Penstemon grows wild in several areas of the park. Watch for them around the Colter Bay marina. Nikon D800 and Nikon 200-400mm lens.

Gorget

Iridescent Gorget: If a male hummingbird turns at just the right angle, his gorget catches light and reflects back to the camera. I’ve been experimenting with ways to light it up. Nikon D800 and Nikon 200-400mm lens.

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole:Late evening light. 1/160th second, F/6.3 and ISO 3200.  Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens

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June 3, 2015

Moon Over the Snake River

Moon Over the Snake River: I had to get up EARLY for this shot. It was taken near the confluence of the Buffalo Fork River and the Snake with a Nikon D800 and Nikon 70-200mm lens.

Moon Over Pacific Creek

Moon Over Pacific Creek: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Moon over the Grand

Grand and the Setting Moon: Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Lupines

Purple Lupines: Taken near Pilgrim Creek Road. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Evening Grosbeak

Evening Grosbeak: Female. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Evening Grosbeak

Evening Grosbeak: Male. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker: Males have the orange patch on their cheeks. Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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June 2, 2015

Hummer

Hummer: It was overcast this morning…great for back yard bird photography. Hummingbirds seem to come around more often early and late in the day, and during overcast periods. Despite my best offerings, my current cast of tiny characters prefer the easy to get sugar water in the feeders over the Columbine and Fuschia flowers. They like Crocosmia and Bee Balm, but those plants flower later in the summer. This image was shot with a Nikon D800 and a Nikon 200-400mm—set up specifically for the Hummers. The D4 and Tamron 150-600mm are set up on another tripod for the other birds.

Tanager

Western Tanager: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Dang! I know there are fox kits, coyote pups, young grizzlies, and baby moose around the valley, yet I have some wonderful subjects coming to my back yard here in town. I look forward to them all Winter and early Spring. I opted to stay home today and try to capture them. I’ll include several of them here today, but may eventually move them to a Feature Post with a lot of the Spring/Summer birds.

Soaked Flicker: This female had apparently just left the creek from her morning bath. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird: Female Cowbirds don’t have a lot of color and are easy to overlook. This one paused in front of some colorful leaves and prompted me to snap off a few shots. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Black-headed Grosbeak

Black-headed Grosbeak: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird: Two Catbirds are visiting my yard regularly now. The toughest part of photographing a Catbird is getting the rusty orange undertail covert feathers in the shot. Bird Topography. Gray Catbirds were common on Sanibel Island earlier in the year. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Robin

American Robin: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Eurasian-collared Dove

Eurasian Collared Dove: Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Nutcrackers

Clark’s Nutcrackers: Today, at least two different families of Nutcrackers spent the morning in my yard. Parents still feed the begging fledglings.  Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Nutcrackers

Clark’s Nutcrackers: The babies are almost the same size as the adults and can fly adeptly, but are still learning to find their own food. Two families can be quite noisy! Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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June 1, 2015

Beginning of the Month! Watch for current photos and comments throughout June! Expect vivid green grass and trees, blooming wildflowers, and plenty of changing weather to start out the month.

Kit Foxes

Red Fox “Kits” captured with a Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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

For at least the first few days of June, you might want to review May 2015 Daily Updates & Photos for Grand Teton National Park & JH: The page is loaded with photos and info!

Sunset Pano

Sunset Pano: Technically, this is a May 2015 photo. I stayed out late last evening hoping to get a good sunset shot and didn’t walk through the doors until well past dark. This image was created using a total of nine captures. There were three sets of bracketed shots consisting of three images each. The resulting “HDR” components were then merged into a single panoramic image, resulting in one new DNG file. Until Lightroom CC2015 (Lightroom 6), the steps to make an image like this required Photoshop. The original images were captured on a Nikon D800 using a Nikon 24-70 lens. At 35mpx per image, this kind of shot taxes my computer system. While I was standing around taking the shots, a group of pronghorns strolled by, a coyote crossed nearby, and a prairie falcon flew overhead.

Upcoming: I am working on a rewrite of the original Tamron 150-600mm lens page. I originally wrote it within the first week of receiving the lens and was more of a “first impressions” page than the lens deserves. I am also working on a new Feature Post about “Critters”. If you haven’t signed up to follow this blog, now’s a great time!

One-On-One Excursions Openings: I have a couple of openings available for June. I believe it will be a great month for photography! Click the link for more information.

Fr. Henry Rendezvous

Fort Henry Rendezvous: The web site says the Rendezvous happens over the first full week of June. I am fairly certain it begins today. The camp is located a few miles outside Rexburgh, ID. This is a shot from last year.

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole: How about a blast of June 1 color? Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch: I’ve been seeing a few Goldfinches along the Moose-Wilson Road lately. This male visited my back yard this morning. Nikon D4 and Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird: So far this year, I have seen Broad-tailed and Calliope Hummingbirds in my back yard, but no Rufous Hummingbirds. This one was captured with the aid of a few strobes. Nikon 800 and Nikon 200-400mm lens.

Stormy Skies

Stormy Skies: I headed out late in the afternoon hoping to capture a few lightning bolts. I didn’t get the bolts, but I found plenty of moody clouds.

 

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Comments (16)

  1. Carl Gullick

    Enjoy all your pictures and information. We are going to be in the Tetons July 4th week. My wife loves fox. Do you think that the fox will still be in their den then and also where is the den that you saw? Thanks for all your help.

  2. Hi Carl,
    I doubt they will still be around the dens a month from now. They are already fairly large, but definitely not independent. Maybe they’ll still be there! Okay…people around here don’t like me to give specific locations of dens, nests, and kills. I get it! BUT, if you click that link I provided for the JH News and Guide, THEY tell you where the closed areas are. A Texas-two-step!

  3. Robert Leslie

    Mike,
    Fantastic shot of the Cedar Waxwing. I can see why that is one of your favorites.
    Robert

  4. Thanks! Those shots happen unexpectedly and come and go in a micro-fraction of a second.

  5. Diana & Jon LeVasseur

    Hi Mike,

    Just wondering if you have been out to Pilgrim Creek lately to see how the flowers are doing. Is it a little too early or they about prime? Thanks for the info!

    Diana & Jon

  6. Hi Jon,
    I just added a wildflower report for June 12. Purple Lupines look good right now on Pilgrim Creek Road, however the pond is dry this year.

  7. Diana & Jon LeVasseur

    Thanks much Mike, sure appreciate you and your wonderful website which keeps us so informed on everything!

  8. Norma Brandsberg

    Your link to your June pictures and blog has been done for days. It isn’t connecting to anything.

  9. Thanks Norma. I believe I fixed the link now on the most recent months. I’ll get the others updated when I post the July daily updates page. Cheers! Mike Jackson

  10. Norma Brandsberg

    The first few days I was sure someone must have posted the problem to you but then wondered so contacted you to make sure.44

  11. Norma Brandsberg

    Your June link is not linked again.

  12. Hi Norma,
    I appreciate your note to let me know of the broken link. I have no idea what might cause it to break like that. I updated it on all six of the current months. It should be updated on all pages once I post the July page.

  13. I get to the Tetons about once every 2 months. Thanks for all the tips you provide in your blog. I’m still hoping to find a GGO one of these days! However, an easier target I’m interested in this spring is the Mountain Bluebird. I see them at the boxes along the Elk Refuge, but for photography the fence is obviously a problem. Do you know of other MBB nest boxes that are out in the open and frequently occupied? Thanks.

  14. Hi Joe,
    The Park Service never puts up nesting boxes or birdhouses…all nature you know! The boxes along the National Elk Refuge are tough because of the morning light, wire fencing, and unnatural fence posts. Afternoon light is cut off early by East Gros Ventre Butte. They like the open sage areas, so keep an eye out for them just north of Kelly and in the Warm Springs area. I’ve seen them regularly along Mormon Row, too.

  15. Crystal Deatherage

    I watched 2 on Moose Wilson Road near the beaver pond last July. I’m out for an Owl sighting, Amy Owl!!! Mike, what’s your breast best advice for looking this year mid June? I feel like most who photograph Owls keep their locations closely guarded… Do you share Mike? 🙂

  16. Hi Crystal, Share an owl location? That’s a touchy subject, especially for someone posting a blog to the world. Occasionally, someone will tell me about an owl location, but ask me NOT to post the location. If I agree, I don’t. Otherwise, it depends…. For example, if there is little space or parking, or if I think telling a bunch of people will spook the animal, I hold back. They tend to hunt in the same areas, which is much different than mentioning I saw a herd of Bison near Mormon Row last evening. They may or may not be there the next day…though will likely still be in the area. I have been dealing with the same issues with the foxes this year. I can let you know I am seeing them, but not specifically where. All you have to do is get into the area and start asking around. On a one-one-one conversation, people will often be more specific. Good luck on your search! But, just like last year, I haven’t seen a single owl during the first two months.

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